Ryan Reynolds is Hollywoodâ€™s newest superhero, as he prepares to star in next summerâ€™s Green Lantern. This weekâ€™s issue of Entertainment Weekly, which is the third annual Comic-Con Preview issue, takes a look at whether Reynoldsâ€™ power ring (and his six-pack abs) can save the universe.
As he was propelled at 60 feet a second on a wire to create the illusion he can fly, Reynolds opens up about the perils of flying at high speed. â€œThe first time you do it, youâ€™re deeply considering an adult diaper,â€ he admits. Heâ€™s spent countless hours training for elaborately choreographed fight scenes and maintained a monklike diet. â€œItâ€™s all part of the job, so I guess I canâ€™t complain,â€ he says. â€œYou spend one day a week eating what you want and the other six days eating drywall and wood chips.â€
Since being created in 1940, Green Lantern has been one of the most beloved characters in the DC Comics stable of heroes, but beyond a hardcore audience of fanboys, heâ€™s basically known as just a guy in a green suit with a magical ring. â€œGreen Lantern doesnâ€™t enjoy the familiarity or renown of, say, Batman or Spider-Man,â€ producer Donald De Line acknowledges. â€œWe have to make the movie stand on its own.â€
Figuring out the right way to bring the story to the screen wasnâ€™t simple. In 2004, reports surfaced that a zany comedic take on Green Lantern was in the works, but fanboys didnâ€™t like it and the project quickly died. Greg Berlanti, a comic-book fan and TV producer (Brothers & Sisters), wrote a screenplay and pitched Warner Bros. an outline for a grand trilogy. â€œI had to convince them this was the most valuable property they hadnâ€™t tapped into and that it wasnâ€™t just a cartoony thing about a guy with a magic ring,â€ says Berlanti. â€œOf all the comic-book movies, there hadnâ€™t been something with an Americana feeling on earth and an epic feeling in space.â€
Reynolds got hooked by the notion that power-ring slinging intergalactic do-gooder Hal Jordanâ€™s ring can conjure anything he dreams up. And the actor already had experience in the superhero realm, playing the acerbic Deadpool in X-Men Oirins: Wolverine and flirted with playing the Flash. Though a Deadpool spin-off is in development, Reynolds foresees no problem juggling two superhero characters. â€œGreen Lantern is a totally different bag of tricks,â€ he says. â€œI wouldnâ€™t think twice about playing a cop in one movie and an FBI agent in another one.â€
With Reynoldsâ€™ wife, Scarlett Johansson, playing Black Widow in the Iron Man franchise, he says, â€œWe have a lot of comic books lying around the house â€“ more than the average young married couple.â€
The actor reflects on the burden of carrying a superhero movie on his shoulders: â€œThe pressure is all on me,â€ he says. â€œI try not to think too much about that.â€ He muses about the merchandising blitz that this summer tentpole movie will eventually unleash, a bonanza of green-hued products, each with his face plastered on it. â€œThereâ€™ll be the Green Lantern hubcaps,â€ he says drily. â€œThe Green Lantern terry-cloth onesie. The Green Lantern prostate check.â€ For his part, thereâ€™s just one souvenir he wants when itâ€™s all over: â€œIâ€™m definitely leaving with a ring,â€ he says. â€œAnd maybe an ulcer.â€