Folklorists and monster seekers have been hunting a creature called the Mothman that has been seen haunting the countryside of West Virginia.
In the recent comic book film, Watchmen, Canadian born Niall Matter ( Eureka and Stargate Atlantis ) filled the wings of a super hero, also named Mothman. This Mothman, who appeared in the Watchmen comic, was created by comic book greats Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons. He served as part of a Justice Society of America type super hero group, called the Minutemen. However, the Mothman is confined to a mental asylum, where he is forced to deal with his alcoholism and paranoia.
Matter, whose career is beginning to break out, spoke with CosmicBookNews about the Watchmen movie, television and the Mothman legend in West Virginia.
CosmicBookNews: To start with, and just for the sheer heck of it, had you ever heard of the legendary Mothman in West Virginia? Some people say it is a Native American god, others say it might be an alien.
Niall Matter: When I got the roll in the Watchmen movie, I did a Google search for "Mothman" and I read up about [the West Virginian legend].
CosmicBookNews: Any thoughts on it?
Niall Matter: Yeah, I said, "That is crazy!"
CosmicBookNews: Speaking of crazy, it seems like the fans have really taken to Watchmen. Have you been surprised by how big it has been?
Niall Matter: I was not surprised, I knew how big the comic was.
CosmicBookNews: Were you familiar with the comic book?
Niall Matter: I wasn't. Obviously I have heard people talk about the comic book for a long time, but I had never actually really read it before I was on this project.
However, when I had heard the Watchmen movie was being made, I looked into it and I ended up landing a little roll in it.
CosmicBookNews: Were you given any extra background information by creator Dave Gibbons who had been on set?
Niall Matter: Not really.
[Director] Zack [Snyder] taught me a little bit about the Mothman and he told me who the character really was. [Zack] gave me kind of an outline as to who the Mothman was and the issues he faced, like his drinking and such.
CosmicBookNews: Were you able to, if you pardon the expression, wing it when you needed too?
Niall Matter: Oh yeah. Absolutely. Zack told me, "Do what feels right to you."
CosmicBookNews: It seems like you had a lot of fun with it. Did you play the Mothman, say the way a super hero was played back in the 1940s. You know a sort of "old time" way. Like the heroes say, "Gather around, kids. Listen to your parents and drink your milk."
Niall Matter: Yeah!
Absolutely it was really fun to delve in too something different from what we are used to watching [in current super hero movies]. I was able to turn this into an old school, corny, semi-cheesy style of acting. [Laughs]
You have to look at this at the time Mothman and his fellow Minutemen actually were in. I mean I loved delving into the over the top body language that was used back then.
CosmicBookNews: Even the costume seemed "old school" - as you said. You didn't have the body armor, say Nite Owl had, or even the armor Christian Bale had for The Dark Knight.
Niall Matter: The costume was just a cotton suit over the top of my body with the wings strapped over. I did not have anything else, say body armor, like Batman or Nite Owl had. I had to wear the cotton suit to stay true to the "times" and "era" that Mothman was in.
That was the style the super heroes were wearing back then.
CosmicBookNews: Because you are from Alberta, Canada, I have to ask this for the fun of it, who would win in a fight - Bret "The Hitman" Hart or Niall "The Mothman" Matter?
Niall Matter: [LAUGHS] Oh yeah! The Harts are formerly from Alberta. However, I would say, probably Bret "The Hitman" Hart would win, because those Hart boys are pretty big.
Actually, I grew up on a farm in Alberta and the Hart Brothers used to have a painting company and the Hart Brothers painted our huge barn. I'm a lot closer to the Hart brothers than you realize.
CosmicBookNews: [LAUGHS] So there was a chance to see the Hitman fight the Mothman?
Niall Matter: [LAUGHS] It could've have happened.
CosmicBookNews: We at CosmicBookNews are breaking it first - a fight between Bret "The Hitman" Hart and Niall "The Mothman" Matter - it could've happened !.
Niall Matter: Yeah! It could've.
CosmicBookNews: With that said, I know Bret Hart is a legend in Canada. But you are no slouch yourself with fans. All you have to do is take a look at the IMDB.Com message board under your entry.
Had you heard from any of them about you being in Watchmen?
Niall Matter: Yeah, many of the fans - who were fans of mine from the television shows I had been on [ Eureka and Stargate Atlantis ] had written me and said it was fun to see me on the big screen.
CosmicBookNews: Was there a difference from doing a television show to doing movie for you?
Niall Matter: The biggest difference was the amount of time I found myself on set and the type of set. When you are doing television, you are on the set more of the time - well at least compared to Watchmen.
However, when I got to the Watchmen set, you were blown away by the size of it because you basically were walking the streets of 1940. As I said, I was just blown away by the massive set and the scale of it.
CosmicBookNews: I was reading that your parents have a water transport company, were they able to bring of the water to the Watchmen set?
Niall Matter: [LAUGHS] No they are based in Alberta and that is the province next over from where the set was in British Columbia. They would have had to truck and over through the Rocky Mountains.
CosmicBookNews: Well, our web site can give them a plug anyway.
Matter Water Service - located in Leduc, Alberta - the best water in Canada!
Niall Matter: Thanks!
CosmicBookNews: Well jumping back to Watchmen and genre television, do you want to continue in the science fiction field or would you like to branch out?
Niall Matter: I think my career is getting ready for a transition from roles in science fiction to roles in comedies. Which is strange, because I feel the most comfortable doing drama even though I have not done as much in it.
I definitely want to get into to more drama and features in the future.
CosmicBookNews: Any type of roll in particular?
Niall Matter: Yeah. I would really love to tackle a darker roll. Think Edward Norton in American History X.
I want to do something that is both physically challenging where I have to hit the gym and transform in to that person physically as well as mentally.
CosmicBookNews: Well, either way, you'll have fans watching.
Thanks so much for your time.
Niall Matter: Thank you.
For more information about Niall Matter, visit his web site www.niallmatter.net.
And a special note of thanks to Trina Allen for arranging the interview with Mr. Matter.