Watchmen has really settled into the world that it has created for itself amongst the edges of the original graphic novel. Tim Blake Nelson had an episode all to himself last week and he sat down with GQ recently to talk about the role. The actor really respects what Damon Lindelof and the writing staff have been able to do with this story. He believes the HBO series is really humanizing for a bunch of the characters and hones in on some very down to Earth concerns. Masks have been central for the story and especially for Nelson's character Looking Glass. The core tension for the story doesn't lay with the questions of masks, but rather a question about the nature of vigilante justice and what kind of damage that cycle of violence does to people. Not just the victims but also the individuals doling out retribution under the cover of a disguise.
"The thing that Damon (Lindelof) is examining, in the show Watchmen, is what revenge can allow for," he shares. "Not just in the vengeful person, but in the tit for tat response to revenge. How revenge and vigilantism build on themselves. Then, finally, what it brings out in someone to wear a mask."
Nelson continues, "Damon and the writers have written a character for me, who has some very complicate issues. He allowed for those issues to be explored, both when they're directly being explored, and they are over the course of the season. But also, just in his behavior when they aren't being explored. And you can infer a kind of fragility and despair in the guy."
"I get to be a scene partner with Regina King?" the actor asks. "Truly, one of the classiest people I have met doing what I do. Jeremy Irons? Don Johnson, the legend? I am very excited about the show. I think it's wildly inventive. I think people are going to be surprised, moved, and very engaged."
The man named Looking Glass has been nothing, if not complicated during every scene he appears in during the show. Poor Wade Tillman gives into some temptation in episode five and that will have ramifications for this week's episode and beyond. Living life behind a one-sided mirror can be bough. Nelson talked about that dynamic and the heartbreaking end to last week's episode with The Washington Post.
"He'll forever associate meaningful relationships -- and the trust that goes along with meaningful relationships, not to mention his sexual impulses -- with catastrophe," Nelson offered. "And he spent his life, now, getting over that. So to me, he gets into law enforcement as a way not only to promote justice, but also as a way to hide inside of a structure, a code, and, eventually, a mask."
Watchmen airs Sundays at 9/8c on HBO.