Robert Smigel Talks About His Failed Green Lantern Comedy With Jack Black
Green Lantern wasn't really the comic book movie that everybody was hoping for or expected. While certainly not on the level of Batman and Robin, Elektra, The Fantastic Four or Daredevil, the movie had a lot of problems, mostly involving pacing and structure. Still, the movie did have its bright spots and while it isn't perfect, the filmmakers obviously made a conscious effort to try and please fans of the character. The truth is that idea wasn't always going to be the case. Originally Robert Smigel of Saturday Night Live and Late Night With Conan O'Brien fame was tasked to write the script and it's much different than the movie that came out this past weekend.
Vanity Fair recently had an interview with Smigel to talk about the project, which was originally planned as a comedy. Though the writer did say that he did his research into the world of the DC Comics hero, the approach was quite different than what Martin Campbell and crew came up with. According to Smigel, the plot would have involved the ring going to the wrong guy and feature a lot of goofy visual jokes."What appealed to me about it on a comedic level was that, in order to be a superhero, this requires no physical skill or talent," said Smigel. "All it requires is owning this ring. Automatically, that’s a comedic premise."
Even more interesting, Smigel was told to write the project with Jack Black in mind for the lead, despite the fact that Black wasn't really big on the idea. Never officially attached, it took the writer's work in order to get him to change his mind. "He wasn’t really interested in doing any type of superhero thing," Smigel said. "After I wrote the script, he read it and did want to do it. So, to me, that was the validation I take from the experience. I turned Jack around enough that he wanted to do a movie."
While I didn't love it as much as, say, X-Men: First Class, I didn't loathe Green Lantern like a lot of critics and I can actually see a lot of good in it. Still, I'm glad that Warner Bros. decided to go the action/drama route instead of comedy. As funny as it could have been, it still would have felt like an insult to a lot of fans and at least the movie we got can be improved in sequels. The whole conversation with Smigel is pretty interesting, particularly in the way it looks at the deterioration of a project, and, as a whole, is worth a read. Be sure to check it out.
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