Why Green Lantern won't be a cheesefest; plus, the villain!

Director Martin Campbell (Casino Royale) talked with us for the first time about his upcoming Green Lantern movie, a live-action adaptation of the DC Comics series, starring Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively. Even with a mythology set on other planets and dealing with extraterrestrial forces, Campbell promises to keep the film believable.

Campbell also confirmed that the film would tell the origin story of Hal Jordan and the intended casting of Peter Sarsgaard as the film's villain. "I think he's contracted," Campbell said. "I'm not sure if negotiations have been complete, but he's absolutely who we want."

The director also hinted that he might have plans for an entire trilogy of Green Lantern films. "Oh, sure," he said. "Well, it's like Sam Raimi on Spider-Man, isn't it?"

The movie centers on Hal Jordan, a test pilot who becomes a guardian of Earth by wielding a ring that can create material manifestations of the wielder's choosing. That might seem as fanciful as you can get, but Campbell explained how he feels reality can exist within superhero stories.

"I think the thing to do is keep a sense of reality about it," Campbell said in an exclusive interview Saturday in Santa Monica, Calif., where he was promoting the thriller Edge of Darkness. "Any time we talk about it, we sit in meetings, we have a cheese meter. We talk about de-cheesing any scene. So it's quite funny. We've all sort of got a sort of cheese meter where that becomes our sort of yardstick in terms of keeping it, giving it some sense of reality."

Campbell added: "So often in these superhero movies, nobody seems to get hurt. I remember seeing Wolverine, and he picks people up and hurls them 100 yards into a brick wall. These people, apparently unhurt, sort of get up and continue to fight just as strongly as they did before. Well, there's something absurd about that, in my opinion."

Portraying the green manifestations of the ring would be a new step for visual effects, but it's all based on character. "Well, of course it's willpower drives the rings and forms the constructs via the ring," Campbell said. "I think he's the only superhero that does that."

Campbell was attached to a remake of Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds for the Platinum Dunes production company but said that he had to leave that project to do Green Lantern. "I passed on that to do Green Lantern," Campbell said. "It's still with Universal."

Green Lantern is due out in 2011.

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