A few months ago, Warner Bros. invited Moviefone to the New Orleans set of the highly anticipated adaptation of 'Green Lantern,' where we sat down with star Ryan Reynolds and Mark Strong.
On Wednesday, Warners released its first authorized artwork, showing the gathering of the nearly 4,000 Green Lanterns (Earthling Reynolds is just one of the worthy few who wield the magic Green Lantern ring).
We can't reveal everything we learned on the set, but we can give you a tease of what to expect when the movie hits theaters in 2011.
1. Reynolds' character, Hal, has to go to boot camp to learn how to become a Green Lantern.
Oscar-winning production designer Grant Major ('The Lord of the Rings') told us, "Hal has a steep learning curve as a new Green Lantern. He has to learn to use the power and at first he's not very good, like someone picking up a guitar for the first time." Also, the ring has a limited operational life. The various Lanterns have to visit a "pocket dimension," for recharging every 24 hours.
2. The ring's "construct" can be anything Hal imagines.
The ring's power manifests itself as a physical projection, e.g, a "contstruct," based on Hal's imagination. "We didn't want the design to be very mechanical, like 'Transformers' or 'Iron Man,' where he only has one or two tools," Major said. "The constructs have a 'business end,' but are not as solid throughout. They stay green, although they look somewhat like an X-ray." Because Hal's a newbie with this ring thing, his initial constructs when fighting mostly take the form of ordinary weapons, like guns and knives.
3. "This movie couldn't have been done a few years ago."
Reynolds told us that the visual effects are so advanced, "it couldn't have been done even two years ago." Costume designer Ngila Dickson (another 'Lord of the Rings' Oscar winner) told us about the decision to go virtual with the Green Lantern costume. "It's a VFX costume design, partly because it's generated by the ring's power. Also because [each suit] is individual rather than a uniform," depending on who's wearing it. (The other Lanterns come in a mind-blowing range of shapes, sizes and colors.)
4. The voices of the purely CGI characters haven't yet been cast.
At the time of our set visit, no voice casting had been done for the CGI-only characters, like fish-chicken-esque alien Tomar Re and enormous, troll-like Kilowag, who acts as Hal's drill instructor during his training. We were treated to a previz (animated storyboards) with a test reel of Tomar Re using a line of dialog by Anthony Hopkins from 'The Mask of Zorro,' about the training circle. "We'd love to get Hopkins," Major said, but he's already playing Odin in another upcoming super-hero flick 'Thor.'
5. Shooting in New Orleans was steamy.
Reynolds, who was on his last day of filming the day we visited, said he was looking forward to taking a break from the intense heat. "It's like we're filming inside Dick Cheney," he joked. That didn't stop co-star Peter Sarsgaard from indulging his new obsession: jogging. Producer Donald De Line told us, "Peter is very physical as an actor. He gets completely immersed in the role. He got very thin for this. He likes to go jogging, in those barefoot shoes, even in the New Orleans heat. They had to persuade him not to jog as much as he was getting too thin."
That's just a tease of what we got ... Stay tuned to the Moviefone Blog for the full set visit report.