The Green Lantern didn’t do that well this summer, but the film definitely had its fans and defenders, and there is even talk of a sequel.
But could you imagine The Green Lantern as a comedy starring Jack Black? This is something which obviously never happened, yet theoretically could have.
According to Vanity Fair, Black was envisioned for the role by screenwriter Robert Smigel, who was a Saturday Night Live writer for years, and also created the great Star Trek “Get a Life!” sketch. (For this alone, he deserves to be in the pantheon, forget about the fact that he also created Triumph the Insult Dog and The Ambiguously Gay Duo.)
Apparently, this was going be similar to the treatment they gave The Green Hornet, which probably would have been better if they played it straight.
At one point, Christopher McQuarrie, screenwriter of the Usual Suspects, was going to write Hornet, and the big screen version of The Prisoner for Universal, so it would have been interesting to see what his take on both would have been.
In any event, Smigel told VF, “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 the ring. Automatically, that’s a comedic premise.”
That doesn’t mean that Smigel didn’t do his homework, in fact he said he did a lot of research, and said, “I wanted to take the world seriously. It wouldn’t be funny unless the world of Green Lantern was accurate.”
He also ended by the film by the Green Lantern pushing the world out of the way of an asteroid, then he has to reverse time to correct all the ensuing chaos, so he conjures up a Superman to solve the problem, because he saw the caped crusader turn back time in the first Superman movie.
Obviously this version never got made. Funny enough, at first Black didn’t even want to do a superhero story, but the script won him over.
“So, to me, that was the validation I take from the experience,” Smigel told VF. “I turned Jack around enough to do a movie.”
Note: The final script for the movie was penned by Greg Berlanti and comic book writers Michael Green and Marc Guggenheim, which was subsequently rewritten by Michael Goldenberg.