‘Watchmen’ director on the show’s “truly radical” casting — and the actor she “couldn’t believe” she got to work with


Mark Hill/HBO(NEW YORK) — Director Nicole Kassell is no stranger to high-profile TV projects: After all, she’s a veteran of shows ranging from Claws to Breaking Bad. And now her handiwork can be seen on HBO’s new hit Watchmen, the small-screen sequel to the landmark graphic novel from Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons. 

The show boasts a stellar cast, including Oscar-winners Louis Gossett Jr. and Regina King, the latter of whom Kassell worked with on American Crime, a series that earned King an Emmy.

The show centers on King’s character, a law enforcement officer named Angela Abar, who also works undercover as a masked vigilante called Sister Night. Having her friend King in the lead was a major draw, Kassell tells ABC Audio.

“[T]hat’s a huge part of why I wanted to do this…was to have — you know, you see it on the poster — it’s truly radical to have an African-American woman lead in a show of this size, in this kind of character.” 

That being said, Kassell admits that the presence of former Miami Vice heartthrob Don Johnson, who plays Abar’s close friend, Chief Judd Crawford, on the show, made her feel like a kid again.

The filmmaker giggles, “I’ve had this a handful of times where someone was such a part of my childhood and living room, [that] when they walk on set and I’m directing the scene and I just can’t believe it.”

“You know, I’ve had it three times now,” she laughs. “Don was definitely the most significant! I did not have the [Don Johnson] poster on my wall, but all my friends did!”

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