The 2013 release of Man of Steel may have marked the beginning of the DC extended universe, but once upon a time, the 2011 film Green Lantern was intended to kick off the DC Comics equivalent of the Marvel cinematic universe.
Instead, that film – directed by Casino Royale‘s Martin Campbell – became a notorious misfire, underperforming at the box office and earning disdain from fans and critics alike. However, failure has never kept Hollywood from attempting a reboot, and Green Lantern Corps was ultimately announced as an ensemble piece intended to arrive in theaters around 2020.
Since the project was first revealed by Warner Bros., little new information has come to light, however. The film reportedly will be a buddy film of sorts with Green Lantern’s Hal Jordan and John Stewart (no, not that one) co-headlining the cosmic adventure, but there’s been little concrete information regarding who might join the DC Comics intergalactic law enforcement agency beyond celebrities like Tyrese Gibson campaigning to take part in the project on social media.
Now The Wrap has uncovered a possible shortlist of actors who may be in the running to take on the role of Hal Jordan.
While the report cautions that casting remains in the very early stages and no talks have begun, it names six stars who Warner Bros. might be looking at for one of Green Lantern Corps‘ two leads: Tom Cruise, Joel McHale, Bradley Cooper, Ryan Reynolds, Armie Hammer and Jake Gyllenhaal. Some names – like Cooper and Hammer – are less surprising than others.
Cooper actually auditioned for the 2011 production and has since become the voice of Rocket Raccoon in Marvel’s space-set Guardians of the Galaxy, while Hammer is routinely name-dropped for DC projects, especially since he was once attached to play Batman in director George Miller’s ill-fated Justice League: Mortal.
Likewise, neither Cruise nor Gyllenhaal have ever played a superhero before, despite brushes with the genre in the past. Before Robert Downey Jr. came onboard, Cruise was initially eyed to star in Iron Man, and Gyllenhaal was previously up for both Spider-Man and Batman at various points. So it seems only natural Warner Bros. would consider both A-list stars to lend some legitimacy to Green Lantern Corps after the disaster that was the previous film.
Even McHale makes sense to a degree, since the upcoming film has been rumored to heavily feature an action-comedy tone.
What is most surprising about this shortlist, however, is the presence of Reynolds. Since he starred in Green Lantern, many assumed Warner Bros. would be eager to disregard his performance in that film and start fresh with a new actor. Yet, if this report is true, the studio could look to simply opt for a soft reboot akin to what Marvel Studios did with The Incredible Hulk, cherry-picking story elements and characters from a previous failure to forge ahead with something new.
While Green Lantern was poorly received, few blamed Reynolds for its failure, and now that the actor has earned acclaim for Deadpool, DC may look to lure him back into the fold.
Right now, it’s still unlikely that Reynolds would be willing to reprise the role of Hal Jordan in Green Lantern Corps after his experience last time. Still, the fact that he is under consideration at all reaffirms Warner Bros.’ commitment to exploring all options and doing the character justice this time around.
Robert Yaniz Jr.
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