May 31, 2011

Director Martin Campbell, from James Bond to "Green Lantern"

From Martin Campbell, the director of “The Mask of Zorro” and “Casino Royale” comes Warner Bros.' new action adventure “Green Lantern,” the first motion picture adaptation of the popular comic book. “It’s a comic book, but you have to treat this material seriously,” says Campbell. “I mean, technically, it’s very different, and it’s difficult and all of that, but I approach it with the same seriousness as I would approach Hamlet.”

DC Comics’ Green Lantern, which chronicles the journey of an ordinary man given extraordinary powers by a mysterious ring (and the lantern that powers it), originally hit newsstands 70 years ago. The tales of the Green Lantern Corps—intergalactic space cops who combat evil and keep order in the universe—has seen a number of incarnations over the years, but in 1959 (during the “Silver Age” of comics), the property was revitalized with the introduction of Hal Jordan.

“Hal Jordan was the first human being ever chosen to be a Green Lantern,” Campbell explains. “That’s why we chose him for the movie. Green Lantern’s been around since 1940, but I was brought up in New Zealand and had never seen a Green Lantern comic book. What interested me about this movie was that I hadn’t done a super hero movie before, and also that he’s a much more complex character than you would think a super hero would be. He’s the most unlikely character to be chosen to be a Green Lantern, but he has these inherent skills inside of him; he just doesn’t know it.”

In the film, Hal (Ryan Reynolds) is a man known more for taking risks than responsibility—trying to live up to the seeming fearlessness of his father, who died flying airplanes when Hal was just a boy. Now a hotshot test pilot himself, Hal is as careless with the airplanes he flies as he is with the heart of his childhood sweetheart, Carol Ferris (Blake Lively). But the universe has other plans for him than taking increasingly risky runs in Carol’s father’s planes.

“Hal is a character that is chosen, as opposed to choosing this great responsibility,” says Reynolds. He describes Hal as “a guy that isn’t really tethered to much in life; he certainly shirks responsibility wherever possible. He’s cocky. He’s kind of a loud mouth. I think a lot of that stems from the fact that he suffered a huge loss early on, and never really got over that. He’s never had to confront anything with any real gravitas in his life and his worst fear is, in fact, having to confront his own fears.”

Hal’s nature was an important component of the overall tone the filmmakers wanted to capture for a character that isn’t an invincible super hero like Superman or a dark crusader like Batman, and casting Reynolds in the role was, for Campbell, a key to finding that tone. “He’s the best for the part, simple as that,” says the director. “He’s physically right; he even looks like Hal Jordan in the comics. He’s a terrific actor. And he’s got a great sense of humor.”

Co-screenwriter and producer Greg Berlanti likens Hal Jordan to a big screen hero. “I think he was sort of the comic book version of Luke Skywalker,” says Berlanti. “He was plucked from here and brought amongst the stars to protect Earth and to protect the sector. And, in his way, he represented the best of us, the strongest of our will.”

Opening across the Philippines on June 16 in 3D, 2D and regular format, “Green Lantern” will be distributed worldwide by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.

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