CGI is just as much the star of Green Lan­tern as Ryan Reynolds, says Rick Bent­ley

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - Front Page -

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.’’

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