In an alternate universe, Greg Berlanti might’ve helped Marvel realize its big-screen ambitions instead of shepherding such DC Comics heroes as Green Arrow and The Flash to television.
Speaking with Vulture, the executive producer of “Arrow,” “The Flash,” “Supergirl” and “DC’s Legends of Tomorrow” revealed that his first superhero project was actually a pitch to Marvel for an Iron Man movie.
Three years before Jon Favreau and Robert Downey Jr. kicked off the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Berlanti tried to sell Marvel on a somewhat darker version of Tony Stark, likening him to Nicolas Cage’s arms dealer from 2005’s “Lord of War.”
“Marvel wanted that feeling. Tony [Stark] was an alcoholic in it by then,” Berlanti said. “My pitch certainly wasn’t as good as the eventual film. So everyone made the right choice.”
That in turn led him to pitch Warner Bros. on what would become “Green Lantern,” the widely panned 2011 film that was intended to launch a franchise. Although Berlanti is credited as one of the writers, the script was changed so much that it barely resembled his original draft.
What did Berlanti’s script look like? “We talked a lot about ‘Top Gun’ meets a space opera,” he said, adding that the experience made reluctant to work with the studio again.
“The devil is in the details, whether it’s in a piece of casting or whether it’s an action scene being representative of the character,” he explained. “So when I eventually got back to Warner Bros. after ‘Green Lantern,’ they said, ‘Well, you’ve worked on DC material before. Do you want to make a DC show?’ I was hesitant.”
Berlanti’s DC-based shows return next month on The CW: “The Flash” on Oct. 4, “Arrow” on Oct. 5, “Supergirl” on Oct. 10, and “DC’s Legends of Tomorrow” on Oct. 13.
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