If you were among the fans who reacted violently to the notion of Jack Black playing Green Lantern, it’s okay. Screenwriter Robert Smigel gets where you’re coming from.
Back in 2004, before Ryan Reynolds was an emerald glint in Warner Bros.’ eye, the studio envisioned Green Lantern as a comedy vehicle for Black, who was hot off of School of Rock. Smigel, the former Saturday Night Live writer known for TV Funhouse and the legendary William Shatner “Get a life” sketch, was hired to pen the script, which Black later recalled depicted him “capturing bad guys with green, giant prophylactics.” Also, this Green Lantern wore a fanny pack.
But sometime after Smigel’s first draft, Warner Bros. pulled the plug on the comedy — Internet backlash and the poor performance of Catwoman reportedly combined to kill the project — and soon began development on the version of Green Lantern that premiered over the weekend. Granted, considering the movie’s soft opening, there may be a few executives wondering whether they made the right decision.
If you were one of those furious Green Lantern devotees who, in storming message boards and blogs, may have contributed to the demise of Jack Black’s version, Smigel understands. Really.
“I mean, if I were a die-hard Green Lantern fan, I would have waited many years watching all of these other superhero movies like Daredevil get their turn and I would be very frustrated to hear that it’s finally going to be done as a comedy,” Smigel tells Vanity Fair. “I wouldn’t just feel screwed; I would also see it as a personal affront that the superhero that I’ve been worshiping is looked at as a joke. So I could see people being angry, and I expected it. Whether or not it affected Warner Bros., I can’t answer that question. I assume they would have expected that people on the Web who care enough about the Green Lantern to write about it on message boards would object to the idea of turning it into a joke.”