Everyone’s up in arms about “Spider-Man” this week, and I can understand why. It’s huge news. But it’s certainly not the only superhero film that’s gearing up to shoot, and “Green Lantern” is actually closer to a start date, with major casting news breaking in the last week. Obviously, Ryan Reynolds was tapped last year after a very close horse race to play Hal Jordan, whose attempt to help a dying alien at a crash site ends up turning him into an intergalactic superhero.
Then last week, there was an announcement about Blake Lively, who signed on to play Carol Ferris, and then Peter Saarsgard signed on to play Hector Hammond, a dangerous telepath whose contact with an alien force turns him into a major threat against the security of Earth.
One of our commenters posted a simple question: “Why isn’t Sinestro in this movie?”
Well… who said he isn’t?
I’ve been making some calls yesterday and today, and what I’m hearing actually confirms some earlier rumors online from October of 2009, when Harry Knowles first ran the word that Jackie Earle Haley was the man who had been tapped to play Sinestro. That rumor was debunked by Frosty at Collider in a face-to-face encounter with Haley, who said he had not screen-tested for the part.
Here’s the thing, though… the “Green Lantern” project is overstuffed with characters from the history of the series, with a script that almost reads like a Wikipedia page. One gets the feeling that they’re worried about setting up the entire series in this first film. Yes… Hector Hammond is one of the two main villains in the movie. And Sarsgaard is a good choice for the part, in my opinion. There’s something disdainful and removed about him, and I think it will serve him perfectly in this part. And Legion plays a significant role in the film as well as another major villain, although I’m not sure how they’re going to handle him onscreen.
With Sinestro, don’t expect him to stroll in and suddenly be pure evil in this film. And don’t expect him to be onscreen for the entire movie. But unless something drastically changes, he is in the film. And I’m hearing that based on the relationship they have with him from “Watchmen” and “A Nightmare On Elm Street,” Jackie Earle Haley is the only choice for Sinestro by the studio.
So I’m not going to play a semantics game here… there is a very real difference in meaning between terms like “in talks” and “in negotiations” and “on a list,” and I’m not sure where they are in that process right now. But I am willing to say that Haley is the guy. He just wrapped up some additional shooting on “Nightmare” for the studio, and they’re said to be extremely happy with his work in the film. The groundwork is being laid in the first “Lantern” for a much larger role for Sinestro later on if this first movie does well, and they like the idea of continuing their relationship with Haley.
I mean, at this point, they’ve even figured out a way to wedge Alan Scott into the film. This is damn near continuity porn for comic fans, and my once concern is how they’ll balance all this fan service with the demands of telling a clear, easy-to-swallow story to the uninitiated. Not everyone walking into the theater is going to have a Sheldon Cooper-esque knowledge of the character and his supporting cast.
But if the film works, expect the sequels to dig deep, and expect the foundation to be in place already.
We’ll have more on “Green Lantern” as it begins production in New Orleans this spring.
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