Jean Smart knew nothing about “Watchmen,” the groundbreaking comic book saga about a ragged band of costumed superheroes, when she was approached about joining the cast of HBO’s reboot of the popular franchise.

But the more Smart learned about the cynical, no-nonsense FBI Special Agent Laurie Blake, who brings a dose of hardened reality to the fantastic “Watchmen” world, the more she was intrigued. “I thought, ‘I have to play this woman,’” she recalled.

Still, Smart was compelled to ask “Watchmen” creator Damon Lindelof about one eyebrow-raising moment in a hotel room, in which Blake opens a silver case and removes a large, shiny cylindrical object.

“I said to Damon, ‘OK, we have to talk about the blue elephant in the room,’” Smart said with a loud laugh.

Viewers watching the third installment of “Watchmen” may also raise their eyebrows during the brief scene, musing, “Is that what I think it is?” The revelation that Blake is the former wife of Dr. Manhattan, the genetically transformed, blue-skinned nuclear physicist who resides on another planet, provides a clue. Future episodes will reveal more about Blake’s past and her connection with characters from the original “Watchmen.”

“When he said, ‘Don’t worry,’ I just said, ‘OK,’ ” she said, continuing to laugh while calling in from Philadelphia, where she is filming an HBO limited series,”Mare of Easttown,” with Kate Winslet.

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