‘Watchmen’ Star Regina King on Bringing a “Wonderful Story of Legacy” to Life

[This story contains major spoilers for the series premiere of HBO’s Watchmen, “It’s Summer and We’re Running Out of Ice,” as well as the Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons graphic novel on which the show is based.]

It’s October 2, 2019. Regina King sits in a hotel room in New York City. Across from the award-winning actress is a poster featuring her in full masked crime-fighting regalia, front and center at the heart of HBO’s Watchmen marketing campaign. “Now that,” she tells The Hollywood Reporter, “is freaking cool.”Some time earlier — a year and change at the least, maybe more — King hears word that a former collaborator of hers — Damon Lindelof, with whom she worked on The Leftovers — wants to send her a script. The word from her agents, according to King herself:

He wants to send you something that is huge, and he wants to send it directly to you.’ It was a delivered script. My agents didn’t get a chance to read it. No one. It was specifically for me.

It’s October 4, 2019. Lindelof and King are at New York Comic Con, alongside much of the rest of the sprawling cast of Watchmen. (The veil of secrecy is such that Jeremy Irons is credited onstage as “Probably Who You Think He Is.”) The premiere has just finished screening, more than two full weeks before it airs on HBO. King tells the tale about receiving the mysterious script from Lindelof. It included a sealed envelope that read: “Don’t open until you get to this page. Don’t cheat!” Inside the envelope: an artist rendering of King as Sister Night, her character’s alter-ego.

“I had never seen anyone like her,” King tells THR days earlier, recalling the experience of both reading and then visualizing the Sister Night persona. “The idea I would get the opportunity to bring her to life was huge. Because she’s not in the source material, I didn’t have to feel any of that pressure. I’ve been wanting to play a superhero all my life, ever since I saw Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends, the cartoon. And here’s my opportunity. I have the opportunity to design her, along with the creator, to make her into who we think she should be. I really don’t have the words to put that into what it means.”

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