RYAN REYNOLDS LEAN and GREEN
CGI is just as much the star of Green Lantern as Ryan Reynolds, says Rick Bentley
INITIAL photos of Ryan Reynolds as the Green Lantern were treated like a kryptonite cake at Superman’s birthday party.
Fans called the suit silly-looking and an insult to the long-running comic book series. Reynolds was never worried. ‘‘ I expected that reaction,’’ he says. ‘‘ I don’t think some people realised that the suit in the mythology of the film is made of energy.
‘‘ It’s not made of Spandex or luge wear. I always knew the suit was going to be CGI.’’
Everything from Reynolds’ green-and-black outfit to the planet Oa, home world of the Green Lantern Corps, was added long after filming stopped.
Despite having not seen any special effects because he was in South Africa shooting another movie, Reynolds says he knew the final product would look great.
‘‘ It’s amazing how you can go from a soundstage which is four walls and a blue screen and suddenly you’re in a whole new world,’’ says Reynolds, who credits the production team with creating a film, that in the final form, looks super.
The only thing that bothered him about the special effects was having to maintain a very strict diet to fit inside the skin-tight suit used for filming before it was transformed in the computer.
Reynolds could never understand why the tech team didn’t just CGI out any physical problems.
Going through a full body scan every two weeks – an experience Reynolds calls humbling – to use for creating the computer images was why he had to maintain his fighting form.
‘‘ I would think that I looked pretty good and then when I saw the three-dimensional views, I knew I had work to do,’’ Reynolds says.
‘‘ I was wondering that if we do another movie, maybe they can just use the old scans?’’
Reynolds has played comic book-inspired characters in Blade: Trinity and X-Men Origins:
Wolverine. He was lured back to the genre by Green Lantern, in which he plays Hal Jordan, because of the transformation the character makes.
He loved the idea of an arrogant, cocky and reckless guy suddenly having to take on the monumental task of being Earth’s defender.
‘‘ This guy has to draw himself from rest to effort and really do something with his life in a huge way,’’ Reynolds says.
‘‘ The trick to this movie was just to find the character’s voice early on.’’
What Reynolds ended up with is a character who has the bravado of test pilot Chuck Yeager and the flippant attitude of Han Solo. That combination allowed Reynolds to put a little humour into scenes but never to the point of taking away from Jordan’s aggressive nature.
The toughest part of the six months of shooting was all of the origin material. The Hal Jordan version of
Green Lantern has been around since 1959, but the comic book has never found the same following as
Superman or Batman. So Jordan’s back story was critical.
‘‘ To service the audience with the origin material in a very analytical way is sort of dangerous,’’ Reynolds says.
‘‘ You have to find a way to make that entertaining and palatable. You feel this guy’s rage and purpose halfway into the second act.’’ Reynolds tried to walk a tightrope with Green
Lantern between the dark tones of The Dark Knight and the lighter side of Iron Man.
So far the critics have not been kind to the film, which has underperformed in the US, but many have singled out Ryan’s performance for praise.
He is unsure whether the $ US300 million ($ 287 million), effects-heavy film will be the first in a franchise as the studio had hoped.
‘‘ I have no idea, that’s not up to me,’’ Reynolds says of whether a sequel will happen or not.
‘‘ I don’t write those cheques. There are infinite [ possibilities for a sequel]. Seventy years of history there, you could go anywhere.’’
Reynolds, who had a huge hit opposite Sandra Bullock in 2009 with The Proposal, is returning to the comedy world with The Change Up, opposite his Smokin’ Aces co-star Jason Bateman ( pictured below with Reynolds).
The adult comedy has a Freaky Friday feel in which two old friends Dave, an overworked lawyer, husband and father of three, and Mitch, a single, quasi-employed man-child switch lives after peeing into a wishing fountain.
‘‘ Jason and I made it a point not to do impressions of one another,’’ Reynolds says.
‘‘ We wanted to create the nuances for the characters we established.
‘‘ Post-switch, if the essence of the character is there, that’s all that matters. Both Mitch and Dave are characters that Jason and I have in our wheelhouse, so we did know aspects of them.
‘‘ I was very comfortable playing the lothario loudmouth and I was also very comfortable playing the neurotic, uptight guy who’s defensive and reactive.’’