June 15, 2011

Peter Sarsgaard Plays Hector Hammond, Nemesis of "Green Lantern" (Opens June 16)

Respected actor Peter Sarsgaard (“Orphan,” “Knight and Day”) stars in Warner Bros.' new 3D action-adventure “Green Lantern” as Hector Hammond, the third-wheel in Hal Jordan (Ryan Reynolds) and Carol Ferriss' (Blake Lively) longstanding on-again, off-again relationship.

Hector grew up with them and was a friend, but was always on the outside looking in, having both a desire for Carol and a desire to be Hal. Brilliant but forever failing to meet the unrealistic expectations of his father, he has become a professor at a community college, whose specialty is even more obscure than he is: xenobiology.

Sarsgaard found the different facets of his character to be intriguing. “I was very interested in the world,” he recalls, “and in terms of the character, it was like, ‘choose your adventure.’ I immediately felt that there were at least 50 different ways that I could play this guy, and to me, that’s really motivating. He lives alone, has a terrible relationship with his father and no other real connections to speak of, but he seems strangely content in his misery, until everything…changes.”

A devotee of the idea of life on other planets, Hector is presented with the chance of a lifetime when government officials show up at his door and ferry him off to a secret bunker to examine a body—an alien corpse, to be exact, and the first to ever be found on Earth. But Hector’s shining moment proves to be far more dangerous than he could ever imagine when, despite every precaution, he’s exposed to the greatest evil the universe has ever known: Parallax.

After coming into contact with Parallax, Hector begins to develop powers of his own. Just as Hal’s will is empowered by the color green, Hector’s eyes glow yellow as he draws strength from the fear of others. Always viewing Hal as a rival and Carol as unattainable, Hector’s newfound confidence begins to bring the worst out in him.

“All hell breaks loose,” Sarsgaard continues, “but for Hector, it’s the greatest thing that’s ever happened to him.” And, he adds, a uniquely enjoyable experience for him, as well. “This was pretty wild for me—stuff I’ve never done before. It was such a catharsis for Hector, finally being able to do whatever he wants, and it was really liberating for me, too.”

“Even though he’s ultimately a villain, Hector is really sort of tragic, and the way Peter played him, he manages to evoke your sympathy,” director Martin Campbell says. “He’s an actor who savors playing the kind of role where he can completely transform into a complex, intriguing and even dark character, and Hector offered him that opportunity.”

Like Hal, Hector makes his own physical transformation on-screen over the course of the film, including an ever-more grotesquely misshapen cranium that pulses as evil overtakes him. Three different prosthetic makeups were applied to the actor, representing the different stages of his “infection” by Parallax.

Despite the extreme heat and humidity of the New Orleans summer, Sarsgaard was often required to wear the prosthetics, weighing at times up to 12 pounds, for up to 13 hours at a time. The production made sure to help alleviate his discomfort by bringing in a body worker to apply cold compresses to his arms and legs to keep his body temperature down. Also, the on-set medic utilized a machine, frequently employed by NASA and the NFL, designed to cool the body’s core temperature via the hands.

“Obviously, I couldn’t stick my head in a bucket of water,” Sarsgaard quips, “so this was much more efficient and it helped tremendously.”

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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