Luke Y Thompson is covering the Con for Deadline:
First up is Warner Bros’ GREEN LANTERN writer Geoff Johns, who says the week he spent on the movie set was the best week of his life. And we have some footage to see: The screen goes black, as a voice tells us we all have been selected, but before we can be recruited, we must be tested. Green swirling energy appears on the screen, as the voice tells us to focus our mind and “move the light with your will”. Then images: Ryan Reynolds as Hal Jordan holding the alien power ring. The purplish corpse of dying alien Abin Sur. Peter Sarsgaard’s head getting bigger and veinier. Blake Lively looking out the window. Voiceover of Reynolds uttering the familiar Green Lantern oath: “In brightest day, in blackest night…”
- Quick glimpse of fin-headed alien Green Lantern Tomar Re.
- Reynolds as Hal in civilian clothes in an alley, using the ring to create a giant green energy fist that swoops around and hits some thugs.
- Finally, a brief glimpse of planet Oa: a sandy-colored castle on what looks like a more colorful lunar landscape. Very retro-looking, like something out of the old Star Trek TV show, or Flash Gordon – but less fake.
This was a very brief reel, with super-quick cuts. Not even a great shot of Hal in his Lantern costume, but that will be explained…
The panel consists of screenwriter Greg Berlanti, producer Donald DeLine, director Martin Campbell, Peter Sarsgaard, Mark Strong, Blake Lively, and Ryan Reynolds (to massive crowd screams). Reynolds didn’t know as much about Green Lantern as some, but ultimately decided he should be a cross between Han Solo and Chuck Yeager. “He can throw a punch, tell a joke, and kiss the girl.”
Sarsgaard talks about how his character, Hector Hammond, has a giant head.
Strong plays Sinestro, who will ultimately become Hal’s arch-enemy in potential sequels (having the name “Sinestro” kinda dooms one to villainy, I’d say). Asked if he uses that knowledge in his preparation, he says no: “You take what you’re given in the moment. His job is as Hal’s mentor, and he earns his grudging respect at the end of the movie. What happens next, happens next.”
This is Campbell’s first superhero movie, unless you count James Bond, but this is nothing like that. Commenting on the just released image of the Green Lantern costume, he says it’s still a work in progress. The concept is of it as a second skin, with the lines in it mirroring musculature. They ditched the white gloves, but kept green and black. “It will eventually look incredibly cool.”
DeLine says this opens up a new realm for superhero movies, as it’s part space opera. Grant Major, production designer on LORD OF THE RINGS, is working on it. Kilowog and Bzzt are among the alien Green Lanterns appearing.
Ten years ago, when Johns was working for Richard Donner, he actually heard a studio executive ask, regarding Green Lantern: “Can we do it without the ring?” At that point he thought a Green Lantern movie would never happen.
Lively’s love-interest character, Carol Ferris, is eventually destined to become a villain in future films. “I can’t wait to kick his butt!” she says. They’re somewhat rivals in this first one, and she gets to save him a few times.
Sarsgaard says of his villainous character: “What he becomes is just kind of an expression of what he had inside all along. Thinks Hammond was once the kind of kid who licked batteries. He signed on to be in the movie after Campbell told him the story from Hammond’s point of view.
Tomar Re is Hal’s spiritual guide, and Kilowog his drill instructor.
Will there be a shared DC Universe on film, as the Marvel films have? Johns says there are lots of projects in the works he can’t talk about, so the answer is “maybe.”
Does Strong get to kick ass as Sinestro? “Sinestro doesn’t believe a human can possibly be a member of the corps, so I do my best to – as you say – kick ass.”
Reynolds initially was casual about the idea of the film, but once he saw the art department, he began begging for the role. “They made me work for it…They screen-tested me, and I’m glad they did.”
Hal Jordan’s father dies at the beginning of the movie, a trauma that affects him through his life and plays into the arc of the movie.
What about a Justice League movie? Johns says “the success of GREEN LANTERN will lead the charge for everything DC does.”
Asked what costume he’d like to wear at Comic-Con, Reynolds says, “I’d go with a Wookie, because I’d like to be cute and dangerous.”
A little kid asks him what it’s like to say the oath. Reynolds: “It sounds a little like this…” He recites the words, going all Batman-snarly on the last line, “Green Lantern’s light.” He shows his hand, and reveals that he has on the ring.
Is there room for the original Golden Age Green Lantern, Alan Scott? Johns: “There’s always room.”
Are Ion or Parallax in the movie? Reynolds: “Parallax is in it. I better be allowed to say that.” Awkward pause. “He’s a physical manifestation of fear, it’s pretty cool.”
Each Green Lantern character has a unique flying style, and much of the flying was done with rigs, not CG.
There’s a sequence in which Hal and Carol (Lively) both fly F-35 jets against robot jets made by Carol’s family business. Campbell says “Hal does what he does best, and pushes the limits.”
To end the panel, Reynolds gives away his ring to the audience member who finds a coupon under his or her seat. “This means we’re married, but in space.”
Not a bad tease overall, but I think many here were hoping to see more.
Editor-in-Chief Nikki Finke - tip her here.