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Monday, June 13, 2011

Canuck Star Reynolds Feelin' 'Green' And Other Possiblities

From by Kevin Williamson
The only thing more hazardous than saving the universe? Pretending to.
(As any dim kid who ever tied a cape to his neck and triumphantly jumped off a rooftop can attest.)
Few know this better than Vancouver's Ryan Reynolds, sufficiently bruised and battered from his starring role as a power ring-wielding warrior in the interstellar action-adventure Green Lantern.
"It's probably the lamest super-power on Earth: I can separate my shoulder on demand," he says, referring to an injury he sustained.
"(Director) Martin Campbell is notorious for pushing everyone. You'll have done a stunt you can't believe you've completed -- you'll literally want them to show you the film back so you can put it on your epitaph -- and then Martin will come up to you and say, 'Let's do it again, full speed.' "
Opening late Thursday night, Lantern is Hollywood's latest hoped-for, comics-based cash-cow during a summer teeming with Asgardian gods and feuding mutants.
Reynolds, 34, stars as Hal Jordan, a reckless but gifted test pilot with a tragic past chosen to become the first human to join the Green Lantern Corps.
The cast includes Blake Lively (Gossip Girl) as Hal's on-and-off-again love interest, Carol Ferris; Mark Strong as Sinestro, the red-skinned leader of the Lanterns; and Peter Sarsgaard as Hector Hammond, a scientist infected by an ancient, fear-feeding entity called Parallax. Campbell is no stranger to creating -- and re-creating -- action franchises; he helmed Goldeneye and Casino Royale, both of which introduced new James Bonds.
"Admittedly, I didn't know that much about Green Lantern or the universe he lives in," Reynolds says. "I knew that it was a guy who was bestowed a ring by a dying alien and becomes a superhero. But once I got the role, I went in search of all the material. I wanted to distill the essence of what the fanboys love about this guy and see if we can get that on screen."
Reynolds is no stranger to comics-inspired fare, given his supporting roles in X-Men Origins: Wolverine and Blade 3. Never mind the fact he married -- then split from -- Scarlett Johansson, who is rival Marvel's Black Widow.
But Green Lantern marks the first time he's carried a potential blockbuster like this in a career that's ranged from comedies (The Proposal) to thrillers (The Amityville Horror) to surreal fantasies (The Nines). And the role was a coveted one. Reynolds reportedly beat out Bradley Cooper, Jared Leto and even Justin Timberlake (yes, you can BWHAHAHA! now).
Once cast, he did what any superhero does: He worked out and dieted -- "I was eating drywall "¦ just to get ready" -- and then learned how to fly. "It defies the laws of physics that a six-foot-two person should be doing any form of gymnastics whatsoever. They had me doing that before production to get ready for the wirework. My third day of shooting, they fired me up in the air a couple hundred feet, 60 feet a second; it was just a mind-boggling experience.
"Thank God my character gets to be terrified because it was genuine every time I would do it."
One thing he was spared? Having to don the traditional spandex. "In the mythology, the suit is made of energy "¦ What I'm wearing is a motion capture suit with tracking dots and all sorts of things. I sort of looked like a crash test dummy who lost his Volvo."
The CG-heavy result, he says, "feels like you've ripped scenes of the movie right out of the pages of the comic."
Yet while the filmmakers credit Reynolds for his contributions, he downplays his creative involvement.
"Most of my ideas were thrown out immediately. A guy who can manifest anything with a ring? When you show up on your first day, 'OK, he manifests expertly-lit French porn.' That's just thrown out right away. And then you stay quiet after that."
More superheroes on the way
If Superman and Batman want to take on the Avengers, they're going to need back-up.
The same might be said of DC Entertainment, which hopes by launching more of their superheroes from the page to the screen (i.e.: this Friday's Green Lantern) they can catch up to rival Marvel Studios.
Another motivation? With the Harry Potter saga ending, parent company Warner Bros. is hoping DC-based franchises can bolster the balance sheet.
So who's next to take flight after Green Lantern, as well as 2012's The Dark Knight Rises and the Superman reboot, Man of Steel? Here are five front-runners:
The Flash: Pre-Lantern, Ryan Reynolds was rumoured to be up for the role. And in a 2006 interview, he admitted there's no quick way to bring the character to life. "The problem with making that movie is that you can't just shoot it with a guy in a red unitard blurring by the screen. You have to shoot it from his perspective. You have to do that and, in order to do that, you have to do a ton of special effects work."
Wonder Woman: Joss Whedon - who's now directing The Avengers - almost helmed a Wonder Woman movie before it collapsed. Why the difficulty? Possibly that female-led superhero movies so far have proven box-office poison, i.e.: Catwoman and Elektra, to name two. Still, the character, recently updated in the comics, is a priority for the studio.
Aquaman: On HBO's Entourage, the Aquaman motion picture was a blockbuster that shattered box-office records. Which actually sounds more far-fetched than the idea of a guy who talks to giant squids.
Hawkman: Indiana Jones with wings? That's one interpretation of recent reports suggesting Warner Bros. wants a Hawkman movie that's Raiders of the Lost Ark meets The Da Vinci Code. Sounds half-appealing.
Justice League of America: In early 2008, director George Miller (The Road Warrior) had a script and a cast of young actors - including The Social Network's Armie Hammer as Batman - set to play DC's all-star answer to the Avengers. But the writer's strike and budgetary issues scuttled the project. Recently, though, reports have suggested the JLA remains on the front-burner - possibly as a way to introduce these characters before they get their own solo movies.
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