In Watchmen the character of Rorschach always speaks with a very growly voice, no matter if acting as Rorschach or simply as Walter Kovacs (well, the latter was probably completely absorbed into the former long ago anyway). Since this is so much different from Jackie Earle Haley's everyday voice, I wonder why he speaks that way all the time.

Is this supposed to be Walter Kovacs's real voice or does he actively speak that way? Is this done (no matter if by Kovacs, Haley, Moore, or Snyder) just to make him more threatening (see this related question) or is there a deeper reason for it? And was this taken from the graphic novel (if such acoustical things can actually be addressed there) or was it added by the movie only (maybe even to underline the "hard-boiledness" of this character)?

  • While maybe related to this question (and I might have asked it together if it had occured to me earlier) I still think it is a completely different question and I wasn't able to get this information out of the answers to that other one yet either. – Napoleon Wilson Sep 17 '13 at 16:49
  • Not sure if the dialogue tag is justified. Feel free to remove it if you don't think so. – Napoleon Wilson Sep 17 '13 at 16:49
  • I think the dialogue tag is fine for this. – Ben Plont Sep 17 '13 at 19:26
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    I dont know, but a practical guess would be it's because he was an undercover agent and that's why he did not want to disclose his identity by exposing his original voice. – Mistu4u Sep 21 '13 at 9:36
  • @Mistu4u That was also my answer to that related question. But in contrast to Bruce Wayne this doesn't make so much sense for such a completely unkown guy like Walter Kovacs, that none of the people Rorschach speaks to have ever seen, let alone noticed. – Napoleon Wilson Sep 21 '13 at 11:08

I think the actor and director were trying to honor Alan Moores depiction of the character(s). I don't remember the difference (if any) between the presentation of Kovacs and Rorschach in the film. But in the comic there is a difference.

The answer to this question is shown gradually. But I think the answer is:

From April 1966 - 1975 Kovacs was playing at being Rorschach; Rorschach had Kovacs voice. In 1975 Rorschach found his real voice. This is why he talks the way he does.

This is why I think this is the answer (I use the original source material in this discussion, because it was a reference that the movie cast and crew used):

The Watchmen comic uses talk bubbles to show the changes that occur to the way Rorschach presents himself outwardly. Kovacs took on the persona of Rorschach prior to Rorschach being "born". Rorschach was at the first ever meeting of "the crimebusters" in April of 1966. In the comic he is shown speaking in this meeting with a regular talk bubble with complete sentences and proper grammar.

enter image description here

While speaking to Dr. Malcolm Long in 1985, Kovacs (with regular talk bubble - and grammer slightly better than Rorschach) describes a kidnapping that occured in 1975. A six year old girl named Blaire Roche. This kidnapping is the catalyst that turned Rorschach into a separate personality, at least that's how Kovacs describes it.

enter image description here

The pivotal moment occurs when (spoilers / possibly disturbing imagry below):

Rorschach finds that she had been killed and her body was fed to two dogs (Barney and Fred). Rorschach finds the dogs fighting over her bones. He then kills the dogs by splitting their heads with a meat cleaver. Kovacs: The shock of the impact (of the cleaver into the dogs skull) ran along my arm, Kovacs said "mother" and closed his eyes. It was Rorschach who opened them again.

after that every illustartion of Rorschach's dialogue is shown in a broken talk bubble, with poor sentence structure and poor grammar.

enter image description here

However whithout the Rorschach "face" Kovacs is shown talking in a different tone.

enter image description here

I would say from April 1966 - 1975 Kovacs was playing at being Rorschach. In 1975 Rorschach found his real voice. This is why he talks the way he does.

additionally his voice is described by Laurie "Jupiter"

enter image description here

  • Hmm, interresting answer. He doesn't seem to have many problems with grammar in the movie, but he indeed isn't a man of many words and uses rather short sentences. So it was part of Rorschach's character. Yet what I don't completely understand (if it is even answered in the novel) is, if this was a concious decision of Kovacs and thus he was playing Rorschach that way or if it was really innate to the person of Rorschach forming in Kovacs (and thus an actual transformation his voice underwent together with his personality). Or maybe first the former and later the latter. – Napoleon Wilson Sep 17 '13 at 23:08
  • So was it then really Rorschach speaking or rather Kovacs playing Rorschach. But from your descriptions of how this event changed him it's probably the former, I guess. – Napoleon Wilson Sep 17 '13 at 23:31
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    There's a switch with the dogs episode, where that voice becomes Rorschach's real voice. Prior to that, Rorschach spoke with Kovacs' voice. – Ben Plont Sep 17 '13 at 23:35
  • I think the personalities take turns. When the mask is on, it's Rorschach speaking. When it's off it's Kovacs (or Rorschach impersonating Kovacs). – Ben Plont Sep 17 '13 at 23:36
  • While not being a comic (or graphic novel) enthusiast in any way, I more and more feel the desire to get my hands on this one. Having seen the movie quite some times already since its release, the last time really got me hooked somehow. ;-) – Napoleon Wilson Sep 18 '13 at 8:17

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