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Ryan Reynolds shines his light in 'Green Lantern'

Initial photos of Ryan Reynolds as the Green Lantern were treated like a kryptonite cake at Superman's birthday party. Fans called the suit silly-looking and an insult to the long-running comic book series.

Reynolds was never worried.

"I expected that reaction," he says. "I don't think some people realized that the suit — in the mythology of the film — is made of energy. It's not made of spandex or luge wear. I always knew the suit was going to be" a computer-generated image.

Everything from Reynolds' green-and-black outfit to the planet Oa, home world of the Green Lantern Corps, was added long after the filming. Despite having not seen any special effects because he was in South Africa shooting another movie, Reynolds said he knew the final product would look great.

"It's amazing how you can go from a soundstage — which is four walls and a blue screen — and suddenly you're in a whole new world," says Reynolds, who credits the production team with creating a film that in final form looks super.

The only thing that bothered him about the special effects was having to maintain a strict diet to fit in the skin-tight suit used for filming before it was transformed in the computer. Reynolds says he initially could not understand why the tech team didn't just take out any physical problems in the final computer-generated image.

But going through a full body scan every two weeks — an experience Reynolds calls humbling — to use for creating the computer images was why he had to maintain his fighting form.

"I would think that I looked pretty good, and then when I saw the three-dimensional views, I knew I had work to do," Reynolds says. "I was wondering that if we do another movie, maybe they can just use the old scans?"

Reynolds has played comic book-inspired characters in "Blade: Trinity" and "X-Men Origins: Wolverine." He says he was lured back to the genre by "Green Lantern," in which he plays Hal Jordan, because of the transformation the character makes.

He loved the idea of an arrogant, cocky and reckless guy suddenly having to take on the monumental task of being Earth's defender.

"This guy has to draw himself from rest to effort and really do something with his life in a huge way," Reynolds says. "The trick to this movie was just to find the character's voice early on."

What Reynolds ended up with is a character who has the bravado of test pilot Chuck Yeager and the flippant attitude of Han Solo. That combination allowed Reynolds to put a little humor into scenes — but never to the point of taking away from Jordan's aggressive nature.

The toughest part of the six months of shooting was setting up the origins of the story, Reynolds says. The Hal Jordan version of "Green Lantern" has been around since 1959, but the comic book has never found the same following as Superman or Batman. So Jordan's back story was critical.

"To service the audience with the origin material in a very analytical way is sort of dangerous," Reynolds says. "You have to find a way to make that entertaining and palatable. You feel this guy's rage and purpose halfway into the second act."

Reynolds says he tried to walk a tightrope with "Green Lantern" between the dark tones of "The Dark Knight" and the lighter side of "Iron Man."

He hopes it wins over those critical fans.

Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
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