SAN DIEGO, CA - In brightest day, in blackest night, no evil shall escape Ryan Reynolds's sight.
In fact, not even a hurricane in New Orleans - where the red-hot star is busy filming The Green Lantern - could keep the actor and his castmates from flying to San Diego to unveil eye-popping footage this weekend at Comic-Con.
These days, the 70-year-old superhero is getting ready to shine his ring on the big screen in a 2011 blockbuster, with Blake Lively, Peter Saarsgard and Mark Strong among the supporting heroes and villains. When we caught up with Ryan and the gang, they were eager to talk about Regis Philbin’s audition, jealousy over Batman’s dating habits, and why those who worship evil’s might had best beware the power of Green Lantern’s light.
Q: Ryan, you’ve played superheroes and action heroes before. How is this one different?
Ryan Reynolds: Well, the training is a little different. You're not training on an aesthetic level, you're training for more functional abilities. So, you want to stay out of the hospital for as long as possible. [Director] Martin Campbell has done this once or twice, and he pushes you pretty hard; the action in the film is so visceral, so real. Martin once described it as a knife fight in a phone booth, and I think that's an apt description of how his action feels. It's rough, it's dirty, it's fast and you've got to be ready for it. It's been fun to train for in that regard.
Q: Blake, how much action will we see out of your character?
Blake Lively: I got to be in the Matrix rig, which is really cool. I think it goes twenty feet high, but I like to say fifty, so please spread that rumor (laughs). I'm on this gyroscopic weight device, and it makes you very nauseous as you spin up in a direction. That was about the extent of my stunts for this. We also did some test pilot stuff, but that's about it.
Q: What can we expect of your look in the film?
Lively: My character [Carol Ferris] has things that make her very specifically relevant but not too modern. You didn’t want to connect the movie to any specific time so you’d date it; so she’s very classic, with column dresses. Very iconic, strong, business [attire].
Q: Peter, your wife Maggie Gyllenhaal was in The Dark Knight. What is it that attracts such an indie-minded couple to these superhero blockbusters?
Peter Sarsgaard: Well yes, my wife did indeed date Batman, so I guess it was my turn - although, I don’t get as much kissing (laughs). [My character] is a biologist, he teaches at the university, and in his private time he’s quite interested in animals that live in extreme environments on Earth, as a way to understand creatures that live on other planets. And there’s a fine line there, between science and wishful thinking; I thought about a lot of people who’ve stretched our ideas and added a little bit of creativity to science, like Carl Sagan, Isaac Asimov and people like that. When I was a kid, I read more stuff like that then I did straight comics.
Q: Ryan, you raised some eyebrows taking on this role, because you had previously played Deadpool from Marvel Comics. Did you foresee any controversy when you were considering Green Lantern?
Reynolds: I don’t personally delineate much between Marvel and DC, in terms of any rivalry. We live in a world that has provided the technology to allow us to bring these beings to life, something we couldn’t have done just a few years ago. With the emergence of the superhero franchise being more mainstream now, it’s a result of that. But I’ve never really had that thought: “I was in a Marvel film, so I can’t now be in a DC one.”
Q: The Green Lantern mask is iconic. Tell us about the look of yours.
Reynolds: Well, the funny thing about the mask is that there was a Cinderella element to it. The effects house that was building the mask, they have a thing called life-casts that they make of your head, and it’s a mold of an actual actor. The effects house that was asked to make the Green Lantern mask had no idea who was auditioning, but actually chose my head from their vast catalog of actor’s heads to build this mask around. So, when I showed up to set, my mask fit me a little bit better than Regis Philbin’s, or Richard Chamberlain’s, or whoever else was auditioning for the Green Lantern role.
Q: Martin, you’ve said in the past that Kilowog and other aliens will appear in the film. Have you cast the voices for those creatures yet?
Martin Campbell: It’s interesting, we’ve got some ideas - none of which we can expose, because of post production. We’re still a year from releasing, and we’re working on the look of the characters. We’ll screen test multiple actors.
Q: Mark, you’ve played memorable villains in everything from Kick-Ass to Sherlock Holmes. How did you prepare to play Sinestro, another beloved geek supervillain?
Mark Strong: I don’t prepare for a “bad” character. The way I look at it is that they’re not born evil, usually something happens to them during their time on the planet that causes them to become the way they are. With Sinestro, you have to look at the way he is, what he stands for and what he believes in. He is an incredibly organized, fearless exponent of the Green Lantern Corps; he believes he knows what is best, and in this movie he becomes mentor to the newly human Green Lantern. He basically guides him through his first steps, and we deal with that…If there’s anything later on that causes him to go to the dark side, it’s that unquestioning belief in that.
Q: Will we see some hand-to-hand combat between you and Ryan?
Strong: Yes, we’ve been training. Part of the storyline, Hal needs to win over the other Green Lanterns, so basically Sinestro tests him because he isn’t sure he’s worthy of being in the Corps. So there is a sequence where Kilowog and Sinestro put him through the paces.
Q: There’s a lot of hype surrounding Green Lantern right now. Ryan, does that scare you?
Reynolds: Well, stepping out in front of 6,500 people at Comic-Con certainly isn’t a settling experience. I try not to live in fear, but nerves are a nice thing - they let you know you’re alive. So, I try to pay attention to the nerves, not the fear.
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