Why Taika Waititi Now Has No Problem Joking About Green Lantern

Taika Waititi as Thomas Kalmaku in Green Lantern (2011)

Before Taika Waititi became and Oscar-winning writer/director and the rejuvenating force behind the MCU’s Thor, he was Thomas Kalmaku in Ryan Reynolds’ Green Lantern. Although the film was released nearly a decade ago, Waititi is still recognized for the role arguably as much as he’s recognized for his directorial work. Despite this, Waititi has no hard feelings about having starred in the movie and can now look at it from a humorous perspective.

Both Taika Waititi and Ryan Reynolds, who more recently reteamed for Free Guy, are very similar in their brand of humor, a point that Waititi acknowledges. This allows the two of them to reflect on the more lackluster aspects of their careers with humor. In fact, Waititi doesn’t like the idea of totally ignoring one’s past work:

No, that type of thing is great, because Ryan and I have both got a similar sense of humor in regards to things like that. I find it really funny that I did that film. The thing is, it’s like when people shy away from things, and they don’t want to admit they’ve done something, or they don’t ever reference it, I find it worse.

Taika Waititi did playfully feign forgetfulness when discussing Green Lantern with Games Radar, even going as far as to say, “I’ve never heard of it.” But in all seriousness, he personally loves when an actor has the comfort to be self-deprecating about past work. Waititi feels that it not only creates a humorous shared experience, but it also keeps things from becoming awkward:

If an actor is brave enough or comfortable enough in themselves to acknowledge it, and to be self-deprecating, and to own that they have been a part of something that’s been lambasted a bit, then I think that’s great. Because when you can make fun of yourself, then everybody else understands: ‘Oh, we’re all in on the joke’. Because if you pretend it never happened, then it makes it kind of weird and uncomfortable for everyone. [Pauses] I still don’t have any idea what that project is. I’m not entirely sure which one you’re talking about.

It's hard to argue with Taika Waititi’s sentiments when it comes to career pitfalls. Everyone has low points or things they would correct in their professional and personal lives. But at the end of the day, all you can really do is learn from the experiences and laugh about them.

Taika Waititi and Ryan Reynolds have previously joked about not remembering their time working on Green Lantern. Reynolds still gets a kick out of poking fun at the film every now and then. Still, both seem to have no problem talking about their superhero venture and, to be honest, It’s just plain delightful.

You can see Taika Waititi and Ryan Reynolds reunite on the big screen when Free Guy hits theaters on December 11.

Erik Swann
Senior Content Producer

Erik Swann is a Senior Content Producer at CinemaBlend. He began working with the publication in 2020 when he was hired as Weekend Editor. Today, he continues to write, edit and handle social media responsibilities over the weekend. On weekdays, he also writes TV and movie-related news and helps out with editing and social media as needed. He graduated from the University of Maryland, where he received a degree in Broadcast Journalism. After shifting into multi-platform journalism, he started working as a freelance writer and editor before joining CB. Covers superheroes, sci-fi, comedy, and almost anything else in film and TV. He eats more pizza than the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.