Sunday, 12 July 2009

Hollywood Babble On & On #324: Sunday's Sundry Stumblings...


It's all over the interwebs that Warners Bros. has actually made a decision about the
Green Lantern movie. To play the part of All American test pilot turned space cop Hal Jordan, they've cast a Canadian.

Vancouver spawned Ryan Reynolds, best known for playing crazy mutated anti-hero Deadpool in
Wolverine: Butchered Continuity, the assistant turned hubby, turned love interest in The Proposal with Sandra Bullock, and as Macro in the coma fantasy kid show The Odyssey, will don the green jewelery and matching tights to save the various species of space sector 2814.

This brings up two issues:

WHAT ABOUT DEADPOOL? Marvel does seem intent on going through with a Deadpool movie, but Reynold's reported casting as a DC hero, in what could be the flagship of a new franchise could put an onion in their ointment.

While Deadpool has his fans, he also has a lot of detractors, who don't just
not-like the character, but actively loathe the character and his 4th wall breaking motor mouth and other post-modernist tendencies. Those that like Deadpool also may not care for a non-disfigured version of their fave psychotic anti-hero in his own movie, especially one following the mangled continuity of the Wolverine movie. Despite many people saying that Reynolds' performance as Deadpool was a highlight of an otherwise forgettable movie, going forward with a Deadpool movie is still a really big risk.

Also Marvel may not like having people look at their character, and thinking about another company's character, and could nix the Deadpool movie and cut their losses before they spend too much on it.


WHAT ABOUT THE OTHER POTENTIAL LANTERNS? Just before the announcement that Reynolds was going to be the Green Lantern, the studio leaked that the top three candidates were Ryan Reynolds (natch), Bradley Cooper (hot off The Hangover) and Justin Timberlake (the boy band popster).

Now while Reynolds and Cooper both had the potential to be good at the part, I just can't wrap my considerable brainpower around the concept as Justin Timberlake even making the Top 20 possibles for the part of Hal Jordan.

Hal Jordan is essentially an old fashioned heroic lawman character. He's got his flaws, but he's essentially a straight arrow, fearless, and possessing a powerful will. He's first and foremost an adult.

Timberlake, despite his age, and his attempts at growing a pubescent beard, is still a kid. Where the Green Lantern may present righteous anger, Timberlake would look like a teenager having a hissy. The only reason he could have possibly been considered was because of his success as a pop star, and some studio executive thought that it could translate into line ups of teenage girls buying tickets to see him again and again, the way they did with Leonardo DiCaprio in

Yet the real performance of his attempts to play in movies shows that while those girls may buy his albums, and swoon over his curls in a
Tiger Beat style photo-shoot, they aren't going to pay to see him on the big screen.

Which illustrates a problem in Hollywood. It's obsession with youth has rendered very few modern "leading men" to have the maturity necessary to play real leading man roles. There are just too many vain pretty-boys, and too many slovenly immature boy-men, and not enough men who look like they can handle themselves in a fight without a lot of special effects and trick editing.


Bruno has opened big, and is looking that it might top Borat's $120 million+ box office take, which is pretty impressive for a hard "R" rated movie.

But it also creates a problem for Sasha Baron Cohen, the creator and star of
Bruno and Borat. Outside of occassional acting roles, the British comedian has essentially based his career on ambushing people while playing aggressively obnoxious characters.

The problem is that he, and his characters are now a tad too well known for that sort of comedy to work. Even during the filming of
Bruno the internet was abuzz of fashion shows, and premieres that he was crashing, and pondering where he would strike next.

That's not good when you've based your career on being a cypher outside the characters you portray.

Also Cohen is facing some harsh criticism for
Bruno, mostly because he takes a slightly different tack than he did with Borat. In his first film he used Borat to harrass and annoy reactions out of ordinary Americans, with Bruno he's reportedly gone after the Hollywood fame machine itself, and they don't care when people piss in their own lawn. He could stop being the critic's darling, and that could hurt his next project.

And Cohen's act isn't exactly new. Canadian comedian Rick Mercer did a gentler, but still funny version of the same schtick in the late 1990s and early 2000s with
Talking To Americans.

Interestingly, I read an interview with Mercer that gave his theory on why this worked. Mercer said that the working and middle class folks gave him the impression that they were onto him, but played along because they thought it was funny, and didn't want to be rude to the strange out of towner, but it was the politicians, university professors, and other "brain trust" professionals, that seemed to fall for it the worst. (And also the funniest parts of the skit.)

Mercer, like Cohen, knew that by using Americans, they were less likely than folks in other countries to beat the living piss out of him, and it helped make audiences in other countries feel smarter than the folks in the most powerful nation on Earth.

My advice to Cohen, first: I hope you banked your money, second, find another act, this one's done and dusted, and it's time to move onto something else.


  1. Regardless of how Mr. Mercer viewed the middle class American ;positively it seemed, the last few interviews just rolled over me because I wasn't truly listening to what that question was all about!

    The retard in me didn't stop clicking and it floored me when the little kid caught on the the obvious fallacy of the actual question asked.

    Way to go, ya squirt!

  2. Well... Ryan Reynolds is not... bad. Though he strikes me (in attitude) as more like Guy Gardner than Hal Jordan. I still think it should have been Jensen Ackles.

    Timberlake would have caused a comic fan riot. I wish the "leading men" that are trying to make it Hollywood can't seem to get the projects they really deserve. Jeffery Dean Morgan (a worthy successor to the Duke if there is one today) springs to mind.