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Back before superhero movies were the impressive blockbusters they've come to be known for, some flicks could still be hit or miss. One such example is the 2011 DC flick Green Lantern, which has since become an example of the worst of the genre and a reliable punchline — most notably for star Ryan Reynolds in the breakaway hit Deadpool, where he made more than a few jokes at the film's expense.
Now, 10 years later director Martin Campbell (Casino Royale) is revisiting his experience making the film and the many factors that led to it becoming such a failure. And as Campbell tells Collider in a recent interview, he feels that some of the responsibility lies with him, especially since he's not as familiar with the source material the movie was based on. And also because he didn't have much experience directing a superhero film at the time.
"The point about Green Lantern is that whereas with Bond, I love Bond, I love the Bond films, I really enjoyed them, it was an event for me, I’m not a comic book fan," explains Campbell. "And the truth is I never should have done the film, but I did it because I had never done a comic book film before, so I think the blame rests on my shoulders to a large extent. It was a big studio movie, and the script was not up to par, we had Ryan Reynolds — terrific — and Blake Lively, so at least those two got together, we did create something."
However, the sole responsibility doesn't lie on Campbell's shoulders, as he goes on to reveal that the studio actually cut the film's budget right before production was set to begin, leading him to have to scale down several aspects of it.
"The problem was in the last six to eight weeks of pre-production, every day — and I mean every day, we had meetings about cutting the budget. Every god**mn day," recalls Campbell. "And I’d worked out a terrific ending for that movie. I remember I had this quite big office down in New Orleans, the production offices, and I plastered the walls with storyboards. It was like wallpaper everywhere for the ending of the movie, and they came in and said, ‘We can’t afford it. You have to cut it all.’ So in the end they came up with that crap ending."
He goes on to add, "However, having said that, I never should have done it, but I did it. I don’t think I did a good job, so for me, for superhero movies, there are better people than me who ought to be doing those movies."
Of course, as much as Campbell feels he should be held responsible, it seems that some of the blame should also be assigned to those budget cuts. After all, it's probably not easy to make a big movie when half your budget has been pulled out, thus leaving you unable to execute the ending you'd had in mind. But what was the ending Campbell mapped out? Well, according to The Mask of Zorro director there was an epic showdown planned.
"There was a battle in the streets between the four lanterns, taking on a huge kind of monster that was taking over the city, and it was really The Magnificent Seven in a way, or The Magnificent Four. However, it did not come to pass, so there we are."