Robert Smigel wrote a Green Lantern script for Jack Black. Yep.
Hang on...Robert Smigel wrote a Green Lantern script for Jack Black? What is this sorcery?! Wait...I'm starting to remember...
Apparently back in 2004, Warner Bros. hired Smigel, who has written for SNL and Late Night with Conan O'Brien to write a comedic version of Lantern with Jack Black in mind. When the internet caught wind of this, all hell broke loose. The idea was pulled due to the backlash.
Vanity Fair got the details with Smigel who completely understands why the internet went into a rage, “I’m a huge Peanuts fan, so if I heard they were doing a new Peanuts with Jack Black as Charlie Brown, I'd be mad, too. And I'd be twice as mad if I heard I was writing it." In Smigel’s version, the ring that chooses Hal Jordan to become the next Lantern malfunctions and, instead, chooses a reality-television star played by Black.
So why did Smigel think that Lantern had some comedic potential? "I did a quick review of the specifics of Green Lantern. And I thought, Well, of course this could be a comedy. Basically just the premise that the wrong guy gets the ring and can do all kinds of goofy visual jokes—because the visuals are so potentially ridiculous. What appealed to me about it on a comedic level was that, in order to be a superhero, this requires no physical skill or talent. All it requires is owning this ring. Automatically, that’s a comedic premise. I was told they’re doing it as a comedy, that’s the way they’re going, so I didn’t really think about whether this was a wrong thing to do. I just knew that this was the movie they were making, and when I thought about the potential as a comedy, I felt like, yeah, I can do this."
Then he talks about his familiarity with the GREEN LANTERN source material: "I did a lot of research. You know, I only knew Green Lantern on a very superficial level and I had seen a few cartoons as a kid and I was aware of it. I never had read the comics, so I immersed myself in Green Lantern comics from every era—partly because I wanted to take the world seriously. It wouldn’t be funny unless the actual legend and the world of Green Lantern were accurate. The more correct that was, I thought, the funnier it would be that Jack Black, the wrong guy, was being introduced to this world. At the same time, as I read all these different stories from different eras, I actually think some of the stuff they did in the 80s and 90s was kind of amazing and could have been adapted into an excellent, fairly serious Green Lantern movie that has some comedy elements to it. Actually, my movie is an adaptation of the first chapter of a story called “Emerald Dawn” from the 80s. I mean, it’s a very loose adaptation, but a lot of the villain elements I took from it: in my version, Sinestro is a major villain, and this was at the time of all of the controversy of the Patriot Act and the way we were responding to terrorism in the mid-zeros."
Smigel's movie ended with Black's character creating a green Superman to spin the Earth back in time, "I was writing sequentially and it got to this thing of a [yellow] asteroid headed toward Earth. So his idea is: “Oh, I’ll just push Earth out of the way.” He does it and people are trying to tell him not to do it, but he had gotten really cocky at that moment and he does it and then, of course, there are natural disasters all over the planet. It’s something he can only fix by reversing time so I thought, Oh, yeah, he could just conjure up Superman, because he’s seen that movie. [Laughs.] You’ve run out of abilities, so you conjure up the best superhero that exists and let him solve the problem. Then the whole sequel could just be him sitting around watching the green Superman do everything. The laziest Green Lantern in history."
|Extra Tidbit:||Smigel's Lantern also wore a fanny pack. Remember when everyone had amusement parks wore fanny packs? Those people still exist.|