DC Entertainment’s Chief Creative Officer and celebrated “Green Lantern” comic writer Geoff Johns was the first panelist to take the stage. Acknowledging that this is the “first ’Green Lantern’ movie panel in history,” he introduced the first footage from the much-anticipated film.
The footage kicked off with a pulsing Green Lantern symbol against a black background, explaining that the person hearing it has been chosen to wield great power “if you will it…”
Along with some shots of Reynolds in action both on the ground and in the sky as Hal Jordan (including a scene where he’s surprised to suddenly fly into the air), we also get a good look at Peter Sarsgaard as the deformed Hector Hammond, screaming at the camera.
The first non-human Green Lantern we get to see? Tomar-Re! (I totally thought it would be Kilowog.)
The footage also offered the first look at one of Green Lantern’s constructs, as Hal Jordan smacks away a group of attackers using… a big, green fist! The fist definitely emanates from the ring, and you can see the green energy trail from the fist to the ring as Jordan swings his arm at his enemies.
The footage ends without a single shot of Reynolds in his Green Lantern uniform, however — something worth noting, given the response to the first picture of the costume released last week.
When the lights came up the rest of the panel was introduced:
Screenwriter and producer Greg Berlanti, producer Donald De Line, director Martin Campbell, and actors Peter Sarsgaard (Hector Hammond), Mark Strong (Sinestro), Blake Lively (Carol Ferris), and Ryan Reynolds (Hal Jordan).
Here’s how the rest of the event unfolded:
Peter Sarsgaard said playing Hector Hammond was all about the “large head,” and joked about it a bit before saying that playing in a comic book movie “really opens up all sorts of things you never expected to be doing.”
On the subject of Sinestro and his eventual turn to evil, Mark Strong said, “You take what you’re given. [Sinestro’s] job is to be Hal’s mentor and put him through his paces. He sort of earns his grudging respect by the end of the movie. Whatever happens later, that happens later.”
Martin Campbell: “The tone is light. It has a lot of humor, but I think the relationships between all the characters are very real. We try to keep the action very real. … It’s my first superhero movie — unless you count James Bond.”
On the subject of the controversial first image of the costume, Martin Campbell called it a “work in progress.”
“You’ve obviously all seen the costume on the cover of EW, and it’s always a work in progress,” he said. “We lost the white gloves, we thought it looked far cooler and far more interesting. … It’s hard to see in the picture itself, but there are certain lines [and] the costume evolves from the ring. It’s sort of a skin on Green Lantern, not a costume. All the lines are lines of musculature that our designer came up with.”
Donald De Line on taking the movie into space: “The opportunity is a great one. We’re going to take the audience to the center of the universe to the planet Oa and we’re going to see [hundreds of] Green Lanterns.”
He also added a few more Green Lanternss to the list of those making an appearance in the film, including Kilowog, Tomar-Re, Salaak, Boodikka, Bzzt (!), and Green Man. (“A lot of the film will be made digitally in that regard.”)
Geoff Johns on taking a meeting about a “Green Lantern” movie a decade ago: “One of the executives said, ’Can we do the movie without the ring?’ and I thought ’A Green Lantern movie is never going to happen.’ … 10 years later, to see it evolve… it’s a dream come true.”
Ryan Reynolds on his wife, Scarlett Johansson, playing a Marvel character: “We’ve had some strongly worded dinners. … We’ve probably got a lot more comic books lying around than your average married couple … but maybe not in this room.”
Blake Lively said playing Carol Ferris is exciting because “often the man is saving the woman and [Carol] gets to save Hal a few times. … They’re competitors.”
She also hinted at her character’s dark evolution (to Star Sapphire), too: “To be able to be a strong woman who becomes a villain later — I can’t wait to kick his butt.”
Peter Sarsgaard on Hector Hammond: “I was very interested in his origin story in the movie. … What he becomes is an expression of what he had inside of him all along. I remember telling Martin that [Hector] seemed like the kind of kid who licked the battery or went on the roof during a thunderstorm with a hanger, just to find out what happened.”
And with that, the Q&A session began. Here are some of the highlights:
Asked which characters the film will focus on, a few of the panelists chimed in to indicate that Kilowog would be the drill instructor, Sinestro would be the mentor and Tomar-Re would be Jordan’s spiritual guide. Green Man and Stel would also factor prominently into the film.
Will there be an integrated DC universe in films? “A lot of dc projects coming up but I can’t talk about them here,” said Johns.
Will Sinestro kick ass? “He doesn’t actually believe a human can be a member of the Corps. So I will do my best to kick ass,” said Strong.
How did Reynolds land the role? “I screentested a couple of times, and I’m glad I did. I want to be as right for this character as they do. I want to make sure it’s the right fit.”
Martin Campbell discussed the role of Jordan’s father, Martin: “At the beginning of the movie, it’s well known that Martin Jordan dies in a plane crash. Hal is there when this happens and sees the event take place, and it affects him for the rest of his life. … It plays into his fear, which of course he has to overcome at the end of the movie when he becomes a fully fledged Green Lantern.”
Will there be a Justice League movie? “There’s always a possibility for everything, but the scope and success of ’Green Lantern’ will really lead the charge for everything DC does,” said Johns.
One of the most exciting moments of the panel (other than the footage, of course), occurred when a young fan asked Reynolds what it was like to recite the Green Lantern oath (something he refused to do for us on many occasions).
“It’s a little like this,” said Reynolds, who went on to recite the oath to a hall that fell dead silent when he began with the words, “In brightest day, in blackest night…”
After reciting the oath, he called up the fan to pick up a signed comic, and held up his fist to the camera — offering a great look at the Green Lantern ring on his finger.
According to Reynolds, Parallax will indeed feature in the film: “Parallax is in it. I better be allowed to say that… He’s a physical manifestation of fear,” he said.
Will Mogo make an appearance? “There’s a lot of Green Lantern in the film,” said Johns.
Reynolds went on to add that every Green Lantern has a distinct style of flight that will feature in the film, and it wasn’t all CGI-created: “Each Green Lantern has a distinct fingerprint of how they’re going to fly.”
The actor then went on say he’s giving away the Green Lantern ring he’s been wearing for the last six months, and announced that whoever has a piece of paper taped to his/her chair would receive the ring. The winner was located, and Reynolds joked, “This means we’re married, but in space.”
And that was the “Green Lantern” panel!
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