Books

Watchmen Creator Alan Moore Unveils Lost Story

In 1985, while working on The Watchmen, Alan Moore teamed up with Sex Pistols manager Malcolm McLaren to write a screenplay about the style industry called Fashion Beast. Having sat unfilmed for nearly 30 years, the script’s getting the graphic-novel treatment. The comic-book icon spoke with ShortList about the project…

God’s left hand

“In 1985, Malcolm McLaren asked a 13-year-old in a comic book store who the best writer was. Without hesitating, the kid said ‘Alan Moore: God’s left hand’. With that, he called me up with an idea for a film – a mash up between Beauty And The Beast and the life of Christian Dior. I haven’t watched any film adaptations of my work, nor was I interested in writing for films back then, but I wanted to work with Malcolm McLaren.”

Darkness of Dior

“As a reference point, he gave me the biography of Dior. The designer used to hole himself up in a bathroom, sliding his drawings out under the door, believing himself to be ugly. He was also obsessed with his mother – all of the illustrations he made were of her face – while his salon was run by two mysterious women, protégées of his mother, known only by their initials. It’s an extraordinary story that influenced the plot arc in Fashion Beast.”

Nuclear winter

“Like Watchmen, there’s a nuclear war going on in the background of this. Only this felt more real. At the time of writing, US bombers had just taken off from Britain to go over to bomb Libya. This was at the height of the Cold War, when we were warned of a nuclear winter, and it struck me that there are only ever two seasons in fashion.”

Mirroring reality

“The script is completely unchanged from what it was in 1985, but if you look at today’s fashion industry, where we’ve seen John Galliano’s apologia for the Third Reich, Gianni Versace getting shot dead by a stalker and Alexander McQueen taking his own life, most of the book’s themes – stalking, murder and suicide – have come true in one way or another. Any industry about beauty must, at times, deal with great ugliness, too.”

Fashion Beast is out now