As the final days on his current film wind down, fast-rising actor Patrick Wilson has become known as a nice guy, a solid thespian, and a consummate professional. And he's also being called one other thing around the set: The Nite-Owl.
"Isn't that exciting?" Wilson's co-star Kerry Washington grinned last night. "It's what he goes into next!"
For those of you who recently emerged from a deep coma, Wilson's name has been rumored for weeks as a possible star for "Watchmen" – the big-budget superhero flick that will serve as director Zack Snyder's follow-up to "300." So when the "Little Children" star met with reporters Monday evening on the set of his Samuel L. Jackson thriller "Lakeview Terrace," he addressed the Internet chatter publicly for the first time.
"I'm not a good liar," he laughed, refusing to deny it, "so I really shouldn't go into it."
During the interview in – of all places – an elementary school auditorium, Wilson's laughs and giggles left no doubt that he would soon be announced officially. "I'm not going there," he said playfully.
In a separate interview, however, his co-star Washington revealed that Wilson has already shared the news with his current co-workers. "I keep teasing him," she laughed. "Whenever he eats candy or something, I go: 'You're playing a superhero! I don't think you should be eating pretzels!'"
Reminded that Wilson's Nite-Owl actually has a sizable gut in Alan Moore's classic tale of what happens when heroes go beyond their super years, Washington responded: "He is [supposed to be out of shape], yes. That's what [Wilson] always says. But I always go 'Yeah, but you still want to be defined!"
Making matters even clearer, Wilson interrupted his own dodgy responses to point out a child's artwork that he kept eyeballing on the wall nearby. "Look at the thing I'm reading," he said, motioning to a painting entitled "Owl's Hollow." With a grin, he added: "But, I didn't say anything."
Adding "Yes yes, I know the [book], I know it all," Wilson (who was drinking a pounds-packing protein smoothie during the interview) allowed himself the following statement on his impending journey alongside Snyder and arguably the most well-respected comic book title of all time.
"This is the truth, whether it's ha ha ha - the film you're talking about - or whatever other big studio films lie ahead in the path," he said. "The weird thing is, as an actor you usually feel more comfortable on a big studio set."
"You have a lot of time, you've got a cushy gig where everybody likes you, and you don't have that stress," he said of such blockbusters. "I've never been scared by the big-budget thing - because if the script is good it doesn't matter."
Well, Time Magazine did famously choose "Watchmen" as the only comic in its list of the 100 Best American Novels at the end of the century, which would seem to indicate that such a script is in order. The Owl is due to take flight once the film begins shooting in Canada in September, and we'll continue watching the Watchmen closely as they build to a late '08 release.