I attended a press conference Saturday (7/24/10) that included the cast and crew of GREEN LANTERN
. Present were director Martin Campbell, producer Donald De Line, Ryan Reynolds (Hal Jordan), Blake Lively (Carol Ferris), Mark Strong (Sinestro) and Peter Sarsgaard (Hector Hammond). Below is a transcript of what I thought was the best stuff from the Q&A. And if you haven't seen the first 4 promo images for the film that were released today, you can see them HERE
. Now, on with the presser...
QUESTION: (To Director Martin Campbell) Do you think that this movie is going to be a tough sale?
Martin Campbell: Itís not a tough one to explain. I think itís very, very clear. I think the story that we are telling -- which is the Hal Jordanís story -- is quite concise. I think that the fact that he is taken up to Oa and heís inducted [into the Green Lantern Corps] and the way in which the ring works through will power. The stronger your will power, the stronger your construct. Construct being whatever your imagination cares to create. The actual story is very simple. I know there are many complex characters and all the characters from the origin story go on to the dark side in later comics and things, but I think itís very straight forward.
Q: (To Ryan Reynolds) Any Green Lantern comic book stories you particularly like?
Ryan Reynolds: Thereís a lot of them. Unlike many of the comic books, itís such a vast universe to this character and his contemporaries. I read a few different ones. For the most part this is an origin story so I was able to focus a little on SECRET ORIGINS, but then, obviously, our script is a much more in depth interpretation of that basic storyline. Geoff Johns described this thing as a version of STAR WARS in the DC Universe. I think that was a pretty apt description. You have so much you can mine out of this. Out of these comics and this character in particular. I think that any time youíre dealing with a guy who has something unbelievable and insurmountable to overcome, it makes for a pretty interesting story. As an actor, itís an interesting for me to get an opportunity to play. This guy has a very distinct starting point. Heís a bit of a fractured human being. He's seen some difficult stuff in his life. He's seen his father die. We move on to find him a little bit later in life and heís kind of arrogant, cocky and aimless. Itís this extraordinary power that is bestowed on him that sort of sets him on a bit of a humbler path. It's cool.
Q: (To Ryan Reynolds) What was it like training for this film?
Ryan Reynolds: The training has just been differentÖtough. You want to be able to stay out of the hospital for as long as you possibly can. But itís a Martin Campbell movie, so youíre bound to [get banged up] once or twice. He pushes you hard It's been rough. It's been dirty. It's fast. You've got to be ready for it. Itís been fun actually.
Q: (To Peter Sarsgaard) Can you tell us about your character?
Peter Sarsgaard: He is a biologist. He teaches at university but his private time is quite interested in animals that live in extreme environments on earth as a way to understand creatures that live on other planets. Thereís a fine line there between science and wishful thinking. I thought about a lot of people who have sort of stretched our ideas. Added a little bit of creativity to science like [Carl] Sagan or [Isaac] Asimov. So I really thought of him as kind of a dreamer in a lot of ways.
Q: (To Ryan Reynolds) What was the casting process like? And youíve now played both Marvel and DC characters -- can you talk about that?
Ryan Reynolds: I donít personally don't pay much attention to that supposed ďMarvel/DCĒ rivalry. Iíve never really had that thought or issue about thinking, "I was in a Marvel film so I canít be in a DC film." We live in a world in which the technology has allowed us to bring these kinds of movies to life in ways that they couldn't two or three years ago. The emergence of the superhero franchise being so mainstream now I think is a result of that and nothing really more.
As far as the casting process, it was the same for me as it would have been for anyone else. I met with Martin. I fell in love with the concept and the idea. He showed me the art department -- which was incredible. It was an experience. To see the world they were creating for this character and this film was unlike anything Iíd ever seen captured on film. That was an amazing moment for me and thatís what really made me want to do it. I screen tested for it not once, but twice. I got up there and Martin put me through the paces. But the great thing about a screen test is that it's just another day of work. You're there onset and there's another actor with you. There's a set, cameramen, etc. You just go to work. It was a nice, pleasant experience.
Q: (To Martin Campbell) How many auditioned for the role (Hal Jordan)?
Martin Campbell: We did test several actors. We tested a few of them twice. We went to England and tested a few people. Really, itís a very serious consideration. This is not just one film but, if itís successful, weíll do sequels. So we hope this is something that goes on for a long period of time. Everyone was good, but Ryan was exceptional This process is pretty standard for films like this one with so much riding on a potential franchise.
Donald De Line: We found out they [Warner Bros.] always wants to see the guy in the mask as part of the test, and Ryan looks really good in a mask.
Ryan Reynolds: I actually have one little anecdote I wanted to add to this that I havenít mentioned yet. Thereís a bit of a Cinderella story here, because the F/X house has this thing in our industry called life casts. It's a mold of an actor's head and you can build a mold [of the actor] and then a prosthetic around that. The F/X house that was asked to make the Green Lantern mask had no idea who was auditioning, but they randomly chose my head from their vast catalogs of actors' heads with which to build this mask around. So when I showed up to set, my mask fit a little better than maybe Regis Philbin's or Richard Chamberlainís, or whoever else might have been auditioning that day.
Q: (To Martin Campbell) Have you done any of the voice casting yet? Kilowog for example?
Martin Campbell: Weíve got some ideas we canít disclose at the moment. Iím sure thereíll be three or four voices tried for each character to see how they fit. Youíre never quite sure until you cut the film precisely how the characters turned out. Itís rather like screen tests for actors, we try voices to see what suits the character
Q: (To Mark Strong) Youíve played villains before, so whatís it like to play Sinestro? Is he good, bad, both in this one?
Mark Strong: Iím not sure you prepare to play a villain, you prepare for a character. I suppose the way I look at villains is that nobody is born evil. Usually something happens to their time on the planet or in space that causes them to become the way they are. You have to look at who he is and what he stands for and what he believes in.
Sinestro is an incredibly organized, fearless, exponent of the Green Lantern Corps who believes that he knows best. In this movie -- as it stands -- he becomes mentor to the newly minted human Green Lantern and basically guides him through his first steps. We deal with that process, so I don't think of him as a villain or even bad. Heís just an incredibly powerful presence who knows what he believes and what he wants to be right. If thereís anything that causes him later on to spill over to ďThe Dark Side,Ē itís his unquestioning belief that heís always right.
Q: (To Martin Campbell) Thereís been this talk of building a ďDC Universe on Film.Ē Is this film part of it and did it affect anything you did?Ē
Martin Campbell: No. We stand absolutely on our own and we stand as our own superhero, our own story, our own world. And a terrific story it is.
GREEN LANTERN opens JUNE 17, 2011.