That Film Thing caught up with Blake Lively as she prepared to take the stage with the Green Lantern cast at the 2011 WonderCon in San Francisco. The Gossip Girl spilled the beans on spandex suits, Ryan Reynolds’ geekery, being an old soul and those underwear shots in the DVD extras (not really!)…
Are you ready for the new following of fans Green Lantern is going to bring?
I don’t know. We’ll see today. I’m slightly prepared because my hair is brown and if it wasn’t brown I should have hidden in a bomb shelter. So I do want to make the fans happy. We did a test because we wanted to have the exact right shade. So I tried 14 different shades of brown to make sure that the test was right. It was elaborate.
Before we did our first convention, which was ComicCon, I spent until five in the morning the night before on Wikipedia researching all of the history of Star Saphire and Carol Ferris to make sure I had it all down. I did that before the film too but I got really nervous they were going to give me some obscure reference I wasn’t going to know and I was going to destroy their dreams. Geoff Johns who’s been the god of Green Lantern for the past many years and now as the head of DC, he saw all the art and all the scripts and was very heavily involved because we wanted to make the fans happy. We were talking about blonde versus brown because it was a discussion. Some people were saying, ‘Well you’re known for blonde you should stay blonde’ but it doesn’t matter what I’m known for I’m playing Carol Ferris and Geoff said to me, ‘I’m so happy that they’ve agreed to make your hair brown because this movie was 99 per cent perfect and 99 per cent accurate and this was exactly what we needed.’ If he says it, then that’s the only voice I can listen to.
Did you ever read comics before this?
I never read comics, I watched the Power Rangers.
When you got the role did you go back and read up about Carol?
I actually asked Geoff Johns, please tell me which comics I need to read because I couldn’t read 70 years’ worth. And he gave me what were like these bibles that had the origin stories and then these chunks and a lot of the really key important stories. For my wrap gift they gave me the actual very first comic that Star Saphire showed up in, they framed it for me. And I was like I want to read it and they were saying no, no, no, it’s framed you can’t touch it! I’ll crack it open one day.
So you know that Star Saphire eventually becomes a supervillain?
Yeah. If the franchise takes off then she is one of the prominent villains in the comics. I would love that so much. And you know there are winks to the audience if you watch, the fanboys will notice that even on her helmet there’s a Star Saphire symbol.
Were you pleased your wardrobe list for this film said flight suit rather than spandex suit?
I loved the flight suit. The suits are CGI so you can be fat underneath. [Laughs] But they take pictures of you in your bra and underwear and so many pictures with all these detailed cameras and all these different 3D shots for every outfit you have so they can recreate your body. Ryan’s body is not a body that they designed it was his body at the time and they just plug it in. So you have to look that good. And you can’t just do it once they retake those pictures every week and you’ll sit in there for 20 minutes, so you have to stay in that good a shape for the whole time. Daunting.
You realise all those photos are going to be on the DVD…
So you’re prepared to be a supervillain?
Mentally, yes. Physically, I need an eight-pack. [Laughs] I need to stop cooking so much and eating so much chocolate. But that was one of the things that was most appealing about Carol to me was her evolution and her dark turn. The fact that they’re such rivals on so many levels and they take it even further and become rivals as their alter-egos. The outfit, a little questionable. Might have to buy some more material.
Ryan’s quite a geek…
I’m glad you noticed that. They’re like he’s the sexiest man alive and I’m like what! Who are you guys talking to?
Was he a guide for you during the movie?
Very much so. He was the heart and soul of this film not because he is the most well-versed person in comics of all time – he did his work, he knew the comic, but Hal Jordan would not be Hal Jordan without Ryan. I can’t imagine who they would have cast without him. He’s a unique superhero in that he’s not a superman, he is a man and he has his flaws and his faults and he acknowledges them and he inherits this responsibility and he doesn’t necessarily want it. That was a fascinating story to see because when people become superhuman they’re excited and they start saving the world. They’re never like, ‘Oh I don’t know, I’m good with my life. I don’t know if I want to risk that for everyone else.’
Your characters have a pretty sparky relationship…
She has to go up against a very strong hero but she challenges him. They’re rivals in the air because they’re both fighter pilots who are just as good as the other. Maybe he’s a little better but is he better because he’s reckless? He may do something that’s more skilled but then he ends up crashing the plane so is she better to keep her cool and keep a sound mind? They’re very much equals and they battle each other in the air and on the ground.
How was acting with Ryan?
Every take is different with Ryan so he always keeps you on his toes. Especially with our characters – we were rivals so we had to spar a lot and have that banter and he always kept things fresh. [Director] Martin Campbell likes to do about 7,000 takes so it was really nice to have Ryan but it’s also beneficial for the film as we have time to explore all different levels and tones.
What was it like acting against Peter Sarsgard‘s giant head?
He’s not that big of an ego maniac. [Laughs] I’m totally teasing you. I actually didn’t get as many scenes with Peter as I would have loved to. He’s such a talented actor and I’ve always been such a huge fan of his. Just watching his transformation and seeing Peter Sarsgard and then seeing him go into eight hours of prosthetics. He could have just relied on those prosthetics but he really became a different person.
Martin Campbell described you – he was talking about your confidence and how you carry yourself – as a 60-year-old woman in a young woman’s body. How do you feel about that?
I think it’s true. At least he didn’t say I was a young woman in a 60-year-old woman’s body. [Laughs] I very much think of myself as an old fogey. Everything I like – I like old movies, I like to sit at home and cook, I love being with my family and my nieces and nephews. I don’t party, I don’t go out and I’m sure one day I’ll really regret not tapping in and really living it up and exploring all the frivolities of youth but maybe because I’m the youngest of five kids I kind of grew up with all of them and never felt the need to branch off away from all of them and do my own young thing. I’ve always been very tapped into family and the simple things in life. I think being the youngest of five makes you a bit of an old soul.
Was doing the stunts on Green Lantern fun?
My gosh it was so much fun. I got to ride on this rig, The Matrix rig, which was this 40-foot-long arm that was invented for that movie. You’re about 30 feet in the air and with this gyroscopic waist belt and the first time you go on it I think it’s them teaching you a lesson and they say OK go crazy. Really I can do whatever I want? So you do flips and turns and cartwheels and you feel like you’ve never regretted anything more in your life because you just are completely lost and sick. But it was so much fun.
Many people may know you primarily from TV’s Gossip Girl but you started out in films. What are the differences?
When I started in film I didn’t know what I wanted to do for a living and I went on a few auditions and I was very lucky my first job was Sisterhood Of The Travelling Pants. To be one of the leads in a Warner Bros film as your first job is a blessing and also a little bit of a curse because you’re making your mistakes on a bigger screen for more people to see. So in retrospect I’m like, ‘Oh gosh what was I doing?’
But surely that film is thought of quite favourably?
The film is, yes. My performance I don’t think of favourably but that’s for me to deal with. So I started in films and I really fell in love with them and TV was something I really had to open my mind to because the idea of playing the same character for who knows how many years – potentially six years – living in the same place. One of the things I love about films so much is the spontaneity and not knowing what character you’re going to play in the next few months, where you’re going to be living, what people and cultures and characters you’ll be getting to spend time with and absorbing. To me that’s one of the greatest perks of our job. Like when I was in Boston and I got to sit with these women in the projects of Charlestown and go to their local bars and hear their stories and about their life and they were so fascinating. And I never would do that in real life and that human connection is so rewarding. So being on TV was something that made sense because I wanted to live in New York and there was a potential for me to go to college for one day a week starting the second year when they thought the show would slow down but it only blew up, which was a blessing but also meant I couldn’t go to college. Every step of the way I’ve been learning more and more about this industry because it is something I fell into. I love the films I’ve been doing and I’ve only done the roles and jobs I’ve been passionate about and able to work with people that are so talented and work so hard and have such a high quality of work.
How do you fit it all in?
I’m doing what I love. I wish I could clone myself and do more. When you’re on a television show 10 months out of the year you’re playing the same character so you’re hungry for other opportunities. For The Town I would go down to Boston every weekend and prep a lot and also shoot on weekends. And then for this I wrapped Gossip Girl at 1am in New York and was shooting Green Lantern by 6am in New Orleans and shot the full hiatus and then the day after I wrapped I was in Paris shooting Gossip Girl again.