‘Green Lantern’ star Ryan Reynolds: ‘This is the movie the fans want to see’

June 15, 2011 | 2:53 p.m.
Ryan Reynolds as Hal Jordan in Warner Bros.'"Green Lantern." (Warner Bros.)

Ryan Reynolds as Hal Jordan in Warner Bros.'"Green Lantern." (Warner Bros. / DC Comics)

When it comes to his movie set, filmmaker Martin Campbell is a talented tyrant in search of silence. “It isn’t pretty when a cellphone rings,” says Daniel Craig, who played James Bond for Campbell in “Casino Royale.” “People leave puddles when Martin comes after them.” So you can imagine the angst last summer when a shrill beeping interrupted work on “Green Lantern,” the Warner Bros. project that arrives in theaters this week as the most expensive superhero film in a summer packed with them.

“Not good,” star Ryan Reynolds muttered as the bleating fire alarm filled the New Orleans wood frame house that had been rented for an emotional family scene. The culprit, it turned out, was the mist being pumped into the home to lend a suffused, sentimental burnish to the footage, and crew members scrambled up the cherry wood staircase to find the off button even as Campbell turned three shades of purple. Work got underway once again but then another commotion: A fire truck had arrived at the curb and neighbors were beginning to cluster. The affable Reynolds shrugged with a don’t-look-at-me expression. “You know,” the star said, “I’m not actually a superhero.”

It feels like alarms have been going off for months on the $200-million “Green Lantern” — the studio and filmmakers were spooked by the early blogger view that the movie looked more cartoonish than cosmic — but Warner is banking on the hope that Reynolds will turn out to be the hero who saves the day. His biggest challenge will be getting past early reviews that seem to range from tepid to savage.

Peter Sarsgaard as Hector Hammond in "Green Lantern." (Warner Bros.)

Peter Sarsgaard as Hector Hammond in "Green Lantern." (Warner Bros.)

The 34-year-old Canadian plays a reckless test pilot named Hal Jordan who finds himself pulled into a strange off-planet adventure when he is reluctantly drafted into an interstellar peacekeeping force called the Green Lantern Corps, a knighthood that boasts aliens of every shape and size and outfits them with high-tech rings that are so wondrous they seem magical to human eyes.

Jordan has been a Chuck Yeager figure in the pages of the Warner-owned DC Comics since the Eisenhower administration, but he is just now getting a feature-film opportunity as the studio finally looks beyond Gotham City and Metropolis for a major superhero franchise.

The Warner goal is to match the varied and vibrant movies coming out of Marvel Studios (two “Iron Man” films, “The Incredible Hulk,” “Thor” and next month’s “Captain America: The First Avenger”) and go beyond the Batman and Superman brands that at this point have combined for more than a dozen feature films.

To lead the way, the studio and producer Donald De Line (“The Italian Job,” “Yogi Bear”) turned to Campbell, who reenergized the 007 franchise and also showed a deftness with crowd-pleasing masked-man adventures. His two Zorro films combined for more than $390 million in worldwide box office with a mix of genre peril and flirty wit. That same combination is the key to “Lantern,” according to Reynolds.

Green Lantern, played by Ryan Reynolds, and Sinestro, played by Mark Strong, speak to a Guardian of the Green Lantern Corps. (Warner Bros. Pictures)

Green Lantern, played by Ryan Reynolds, and Sinestro, played by Mark Strong, speak to a Guardian of the Green Lantern Corps. (Warner Bros. Pictures)

“The challenge from Day 1 was to find the right tone, that’s the first conversation, and we felt it should be a movie that is fun and an adventure and is heroic,” Reynolds said in Louisiana, the tax-credit home of the production but not a locale that appears on screen or in the script. “You think about the heroes in movies like ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’ or ‘Top Gun’ in a way, that’s what we were looking for here. I’ve said that he’s a guy who knows how to throw a punch and kiss a girl and tell a joke. He deals with dark things, but it’s not a dark film.”

Dark is in these days — “The Dark Knight Rises” (a sequel to “The Dark Knight”) and “Dark Shadows” are filming in the U.K. right now and Ron Howard is ramping up an adaptation of “The Dark Tower.” The green glow and warm wink of the “Lantern” project have made it a cause of concern for the Comic-Con crowd that loves lone-wolf antiheroes such as Batman, Wolverine and Jack Sparrow.

An early trailer that emphasized romantic comedy instead of adrenaline adventure stirred an online backlash,  but in April the filmmakers, Reynolds and costar Blake Lively made a course correction with a presentation at Wonder Con in San Francisco, where thousands of fans cheered new footage that showed a ferocious space battle.

Lively was still jittery amid the applause. “It’s intimidating,” she told a reporter backstage, “because it’s a movie that has so much money and so many stakes — so many people are so invested in it.”

Ryan Reynolds as Hal Jordan in Warner Bros.'"Green Lantern." (Warner Bros.)

Ryan Reynolds as Hal Jordan in Warner Bros.'"Green Lantern." (Warner Bros.)

The competition is intense too. There are four big superhero movies this summer (and a fifth upcoming film, “Cowboys & Aliens,” that is based on a comic book) and, in tone and approach, “Green Lantern” appears to be the most traditional; Matthew Vaughn’sX-Men: First Class” for instance, is nightclub-cool with its retro setting and “groovy mutations,” but “Lantern” is more in the mode of the first “Spider-Man” film with its bright colors, wisecracking hero and mad-genius villains that are played over-the-top.

“I think this is the one you can take the kids to,” Reynolds said last week in a separate interview in Los Angeles. “I knew that when I saw [the giant alien character] Kilowog for the first time. That’s when I said, ‘Oh, kids will love this guy, that’s what this is.’”

The filmmaking was an intense exercise in visual effects even by the standards of this era of ubiquitous CG-moviemaking. Like last year’s “Tron: Legacy,” the film strives for a pulsing-light vision of costume and contour; the muscular Reynolds is in essence wearing a superhero skin-suit that was “painted” on him in post-production.

Temuera Morrison as Abin Sur in "Green Lantern." (Warner Bros.)

Temuera Morrison as Abin Sur in "Green Lantern." (Warner Bros.)

But there’s a thin line between movie magic and video-game flatness these days and Warner Bros. decided just two months ago to throw another $9 million into the visual effects budget to improve the digital sculpting and final-stage polish work. And with good reason. Last year, in New Orleans, costar Mark Strong — who plays the imperious alien Sinestro — said “Green Lantern” would be judged against the best efforts in a sector that is now leaping forward constantly.

“It was ‘Lord of the Rings’ that gave us the armies and just the epic accomplishment of that and then, for me, watching the aliens in ‘District 9,’ the emotion of them and how they were fit into our world, that was just amazing,” Strong said as he sipped water during a break from his fight and flight training. “And ‘Avatar,’ of course, was just off the scale, really, and changed the conversation.

“This strand of movies just lends themselves to the epic and the fantastic and that’s where we want to be,” Strong continued. “This is a story with hundreds and hundreds of aliens. This is a big canvas and that is a challenge but it is also an amazing opportunity.”

Tim Robbins as Hammond, Angela Bassett as Doctor Waller and Peter Sarsgaard as Hector Hammond in "Green Lantern." (Warner Bros. Pictures)

Tim Robbins as Hammond, Angela Bassett as Doctor Waller and Peter Sarsgaard as Hector Hammond in "Green Lantern." (Warner Bros. Pictures)

For director Campbell, a New Zealand native raised in England, the film was a chance to “make a superhero film that is up there — out in space, on different planets, in the cosmic — as opposed to down here, which we’ve seen again and again.”

That’s true, the membership of the Green Lantern Corps is like a Knights of the Round Table mashed-up with the alien cantina scene in “Star Wars” and, if this film clicks with audiences, the plan is for the franchise to hopscotch throughout the universe the way Spider-Man swings through the five boroughs of New York. “There’s a vast universe to explore and this mythology is as rich as any that’s been put on the screen in these other franchises,” De Line said. In the comic books, other Earthlings have worn the ring, among them the stern John Stewart and crass Guy Gardner, and Greg Berlanti, also a producer on the film and one of the screenwriters, has even pitched a nine-film series that would approach the Green Lantern Corps as a Jedi-level story tapestry.

The character will need to win over casual moviegoers first, who will have to accept the basic conceit of the film — that the glowing ring of Hal Jordan can make anything he imagines take shape, whether it’s a giant green fist, a giant green brick wall or a green jet fighter.

“It’s all about will power, what he sees in his mind he can make real with his ring,” Reynolds explained on the hot, difficult day last year in the Big Easy. A bit later, after all the imaginary fires on the set were out, Reynolds sat down to talk about the future. If will power alone could make a box office hit, “Lantern” would have already been on its way to days of green. “This is the movie the fans want to see,” Reynolds said. “We are going to deliver.”

— Geoff Boucher

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Comments


32 Responses to ‘Green Lantern’ star Ryan Reynolds: ‘This is the movie the fans want to see’

  1. Xander says:

    I've seen Green Lantern and listen, DO NOT LISTEN TO THE CRITICS! It is an okay movie and even better superheromovie. Just watch it and tell me I was wrong. It is not Iron-Man nor Batman Begins but it surely is the beginning of something larger than any superheroflick I've seen since Superman 1.

    • Supermanjames says:

      I completely agree that the newspapers and critics are horrible these days they give a movie like Thor 4 stars and that movie had no heart and so many plot holes . yet Green Lantern they obviously spent time to make sure you understood the characters and felt some connection to the vast story. Another comment from a critic at usatoday that shows the critics don't know what they are saying was bashing the original Star Wars and saying that was so droll and boring because of the lengthy backstory well obviously they have no idea of good cinema. The original Star Wars is still listed in the top 100 films ever created. It just makes me feel sad to think of all the people that will miss out on a character driven superhero movie with heart because of all the bad critics out there who have lost sight of what good cinema is with depth.
      Feels a lot like people now a days just want a movie that takes no thought, heartor depth like Thor or Transformers. This movie bring heart and depth to a beloved character that has long been in need of a movie.Green Lantern has so much for them to go from here with. If you have read comics for years you will be very appreciative of how they have for once not messed with a beloved character and keeps them as close to what we have loved in our hearts for years. If you are wanting a movie that bridges the gap from comic to film and does it well then support Green lantern and tells others to go see it and support it also otherwise we will see movies that honor their true beginnings disappear forever and in this case that would be a true shame.

      To sum it up it is a Awesome movie way better than Thor the best superhero movie in along time lots of story and heart feels like taken directly from the pages of the comics a huge fan my wife even loved it and she has never read the comics the characters have depth and you feel for them can't wait for the next movie well worth your time the effects are incredible as well but don't overshadow the story at all enjoy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Dangerstranger says:

    I for one am looking forward to seeing this movie regardless of what the early reviews say…typically these "professional" movie critics rate these types of movies unjustly anyway and the ones that they do give great ratings to are well…overrated.
    Anyway, im not alone on this…even Lee Brice would go and see this movie! hahahaha http://bit.ly/lnT4YB

  3. moviegeek says:

    Director Campbell, never really seems to be in control of what's going on and instead he decides to cram the film with as much noise as possible hoping it might distract his audience from thinking that this is actually all a bit of a mess…

    He clearly feels uneasy with this universe and doesn't quite know what to make of it. The whole philosophical side is just ridiculous, the action scenes are too messy, the special effects underwhelming and the love story is so flat that it becomes redundant.

    The pace is completely off and for a film of this kind which last just under two hours, I found myself looking at my watch way too often.

    My FULL Review: wp.me/p19wJ2-lE

  4. Owen says:

    "The character will need to win over casual moviegoers first, who will have to accept the basic conceit of the film — that the glowing ring of Hal Jordan can make anything he imagines take shape, whether it’s a giant green fist, a giant green brick wall or a green jet fighter."

    Conceit of the film? I think you guys need and editor. You are in such a rush to get a reveiw out. Maybe you should get another pair of eyes to check the choice of words. Better yet, get another reviewer who can give a better assessment of a film.

  5. sinned says:

    This movie is shaping up to be a $300 million flop. I wouldn't even pay matinee prices to see it–netflix or redbox.

    • Bruce Wayne says:

      A true Marvel fanboy!!!!! I also felt the same with Thor.

      • Evolutioned says:

        lol

        Well all us Marvel fan boys will be enjoying The Avengers while Warner/DC continues to not even piece together a decent rendition of Wonder Woman, let alone figure out how to combine the elements of GL, Superman, Wonder Woman, Martian Manhunter, Green Arrow, Flash and The Dark Knight into some even relatively cohesive or watchable.

        Batman (along with his sidekicks and rogue's gallery) + their Vertigo line are the only decent thing to ever come out of DC.

        Stamp an X on it.

  6. JohnGibson says:

    Everyone knew this movie would suck from the day the ads started. Any movie that will have a goldfish and orange pig as characters is bound to fail. But more seriously, you could tell by the huge showing of CGI that this movie was all eye candy (if that). Really there is no reason for a good story of the Green Lantern to include him flying off the Green Lantern planet. That's too fantastical and doesn't allow for proper character development. The same thing happened in Transformers 2. So many robots, there is no way to make them all credible. Same thing in Star Wars episode 1-3.

  7. Jack Meoph says:

    When we saw the trailer for this, my wife observed that this was the first comic book movie that actually looked like a comic book. The color and action, etc. Hopefully the movie will be as good as the trailer, big, brash, and beautiful.

  8. DEVILMUTHAKOTI says:

    I have seen a special screening of the Green Lantern film and the movie came out as a silly superhero flick. I’m not familiar with GL comics but this was a TERRIBLE CGI CARTOON SHOW. The concept of power rings is stupid. Ignore this silly show unless you think like a silly kid from 60’s.

  9. physique180 says:

    I totally agree. This movie could have been way better. It's the typical superhero movie, but more outlandish than Batman and not as entertaining as Iron Man.

    This is a great role for Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively respectively. They put everything into their roles but the movie is just too much! Even for these two superstars to overcome. The best part of this movie is the actual green lantern workout on youtube. I may not like the movie, and I may not look as shredded as Ryan Reynolds, but at least I can workout like him. It may be more entertaining than the movie …. ahaha

  10. Wonder Woman says:

    with names like Kilowog, Aben Sur, mgfkhg, dskghh, gjhsDKg, AKSHfo, and the unforgettable pathos of SAHKDvcdg, audiences will long remember the greatest epic ever made…Green Lantern.

    Who am I kidding? This stinking pile of cow dung by committee could not be more predictable and boring. Amusing the fanatics at comic con is a lot different than appealing to the average teenager. I predict a shipwreck of major proportions. Ask yourself: Does the thought of a Green Lantern movie make you want to run out and spend 30 bucks?

  11. Roy says:

    I would’ve preferred more of a Right Stuff / Chuck Yeager treatment. Green Lantern has always been more interesting to me as a Hal Jordan treatment a la The New Frontier. The idea of test pilots was most interesting post WWII.

  12. Don Rosen says:

    I saw the movie and it's the worst comics movie ever.
    The writing, acting and directing is below bad. It's ridiculous. Big embarrassment for everyone not to mention a huge waste of money.
    Now let's how dumb is the audience and if it falls for the green crap.

  13. Green_Lantern's_Ring says:

    DO NOT LISTEN TO XANDER. He is obviously working for Warner Bros…. Green Lantern the movie suck. As a long time fan of the character I was disappointed, I'm sure you will too. Why listen to Xander by saying "watch then tell me I was wrong"…bah! If everyone watch it just to prove him wrong, then this awful movie would be a success. Who cares if some internet nutjob is just daring you to prove him wrong… I usually don't listen to critics, but this time around you better do. LISTEN TO THE CRITICS, GREEN LANTERN IS AWFUL. It's not Jonah Hex awful, more like Catwoman awful…any fanboy will turn a blind eye and think it's the greatest movie ever, but to real fans who can distinguish art from crap, take it from THIS fan, this movie blows.

  14. Green_Lantern's_Ring says:

    Awful…awful movie.

  15. Ravi says:

    In one more day, on Friday night.
    This movie shall not escape my sight.
    Let those burdened by scheduling plight,
    Behold my joy – at Green Lantern's light!"

  16. Gregory says:

    I hav'nt seen the movie yet but I like ryan reynolds no matter what hes on.Like the amittyville horror movie I did'nt like that movie but I still liked him in it.

  17. dave says:

    Comparing it to the Zorro movies isn't making me want to see it.

  18. DougW says:

    Dave, the first Zorro, "The Mask of Zorro" was great. Campbell also gave us "Goideneye," a first-rate Bond.

  19. daddy says:

    Man! I havent watched it…but I'm mad hes not black. Like seriously…Green Lantern was the only black superhero..DAMNIt!

    • Walter says:

      Green Lantern was the only black superhero… do you even know what your talking about

    • Julian Eubanks says:

      Hang in there (daddy). John Stewart was the second human to be a GL. It was great for WB to feature him in the "Justice League" animated series. Maybe he can join up with Hal to fight Sinestro in a sequel.

  20. steve thomas says:

    For once, quit belly aching about typos, etc. Just give an honest op about the movie.
    Who cares about anything else??? It's a movie opinion! Morons.

  21. AVATAR says:

    Its a marvelous movie..I was entertained and awake all the way to the end..the vast universe is always fascinating and real..I like it when green lantern hangs and travels in the space for a longer time..3D is great..felt like flying with him..I wished I'ved saved all the comic books I've had when I was a young kid..

  22. maroc zik says:

    It bothers me that Green Lantern will be a bigger hit than Super 8. The latter is CLEARLY a better movie. I just don’t understand the audience’s fascination with crap. Sure Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively are hot but it amazes me that people would pay money to see two gorgeous people who can’t act, over a genuinely well-made movie like Super 8. Just sad.

  23. Julian Eubanks says:

    All of these people hatin' on GL need to get over themselves. This is a popcorn flick. Heath Ledger and his Oscar winning performance was an anomoly as these movies go. Batman and his world are something special. It's funny when people go off on comic-book movies for looking like a comic-book. Duh! Ryan, Blake and the cast were great. I went expecting to see a movie about a superhero from comic-books(who does have friends that look like a fish and a pig. Those are characters that can't change. Know you're stories, JohnGibson)that's what I got. It was a'kin to "First Flight" and "The New Frontier". Both are great animated movies from WB. Keep it up and lets have a sequel. GL and Sinestro need to duke it out. Again, take the stick out of your ass, lighten up and enjoy a great 1:45min ride. It's better than "Thor" and almost as good as "Xmen: First Class.

  24. raymond maglaris says:

    Dude get over it Super 8 was a VERY GOOD movie but you dont have to be hating on a movie thats just been out for 4 days that people have been waiting for, for 3 years. opposed to a spontaneous movie about a white box.

  25. e says:

    I saw this movie, after reading initial reviews. Now critics judge movies on different scale than regular viewers, but I read comics as kid, and young adult so I can say this movie sucked big time. GL never made it as one of the headliners in comics, hence the change in characters, please do not waste your time and money on GLII. Just trying to duel with upcoming Avengers, not going to happen DC.

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