"Watchmen" is the movie I waited for with anticipation for years. Alan Moore's dark, complicated and apocalyptic story of flawed good and evil - and the difficulty in telling one from the other- became a benchmark, a high water line, for other comic book writers to emulate throughout the eighties and nineties. It was unnostalgic and unsympathetic to the plights of its characters, and utterly uncompromising in its realistic portraits of damaged men and women running around in strange costumes in the wee hours of the night.
So, in addition to being a total Watchmen fanboy, I was happy to learn that Watchmen (like Fantastic Four and other recent superhero movie franchises) was filmed here in Vancouver. Reading director Zack Snyder's blog back in 2007, I'd also learned that a major portion of the city street scenes were filmed on a backlot located somewhere on South-east Marine Drive, near where the southern edge of the city meets the Fraser River. Unfortunately, I had no idea where the set was located, having only seen a couple of promotional photographs on the web.
Yesterday, my wife and I decided to see the Watchmen a second time before it left the theatres for good. Driving from our Starbucks-of-the-day, passing the corner of Byrne Street and Marine Drive, I noticed a large paved lot in front of a warehouse. Standing up on the lot was what looked like half-completed buildings on some sort of construction site. On second glance, I saw completed storefronts, sidewalks, signs and light posts. It had to be the Watchmen outdoor shooting location!
A security guard in a truck honked at us, and waved us off - in other words, it was time to leave!
As we were driving off, I saw the following words spray painted on the back of a set piece: WHO WATCHES THE WATCHMEN?
We did... twice in the theatre, and now from behind the scenes.
Watchmen Movie Photos
Watchmen Locations (IMDB.com)