The (unproduced) Robert Smigel script Green Lantern script
Around the time of the release of Green Lantern, word began circulating about a 2006 script written by Robert Smigel.
Smigel is the guy behind Saturday Night Live‘s “TV Funhouse” shorts, as well as Triumph the Insult Comic Dog on Conan O’Brien. He was asked to write a script about the DC Comics hero as a comedy starring Jack Black. I was curious, so I started reading the Robert Smigel Green Lantern script. And liked it. A lot.
Basically, the idea is that the ring chooses the wrong person to wear it, that person being Black’s character, whose one claim to fame is appearing on a reality show called The Dare Diner. Of course, he then has to defend the Earth against evil forces and prove himself to the Green Lantern head council.
Some of the comedy is quite broad, and there’s a running Flavor Flav joke that is (by definition) pretty dated. But there are enough laugh-out-loud moments and genuinely funny stuff to make me wish the studio (Warner Bros) had had the balls to make this instead of the Ryan Reynolds movie currently trying to earn back its purported $300m price tag.
What works in the script, besides the idea of Black as the Green Lantern (and I’m no Black fan), is the comic premise of an average Joe using the ring to whip up average-Joe-type things, like elves to clean up his apartment and a green Superman to do his work for him. There’s also a great characterization of Sinestro as a fascistic, omnipotent control-freak; he’s as funny as he is evil.
One of my fave running jokes is also one of the most self-aware. Most everyone in the movie knows of Green Lantern as comic book superhero, and each time the name comes up someone says a variation on “Isn’t he, like, the 10th most important superhero?”
Probably more like the 20th after Warner’s final Green Lantern product.
So if you’re feeling ripped-off by Green Lantern, or in the mood to laugh at the absurdity of the current crop of superhero movies, check out Smigel’s Green Lantern script.