‘Watchmen’: Tim Blake Nelson and the Empowering Nature of Hiding

Some actors who land a role in a big-budget, hotly anticipated HBO series may be a bit deflated to learn, for much of their performance, their face will be hidden behind a mask. But not Tim Blake Nelson.

Now, what he wears in “Watchmen” isn’t a thin, black domino mask that only hides his eyes, or even a Batman-like cowl that leaves his mouth uncovered to better convey distinct expressions. Looking Glass, Nelson’s Oklahoman cop character, wears a mask that covers his entire head, and not only that, but it also reflects the images around him, be it flashing photos in an interrogation room or his scene partner’s face — almost like he’s not even there.

So how does an actor build an engaging, evocative, and highly emotional performance, like the one seen in “Watchmen” Episode 5, without his most impactful tool — his face?

“In drama school, we took mask class,
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