If you want to take a character like Green Lantern, who in the public eye is decidedly second-string, and make a giant Iron Man-sized success out of him, you’ve got to have a cast that can make the material sing. So far Warner Bros. is doing well by hiring Ryan Reynolds to play Hal Jordan / Green Lantern and Blake Lively to play Carol Ferris, but that doesn’t quite stack up against nabbing Robert Downey, Jr. for Iron Man.
But WB and director Martin Campbell may have made the perfect move here by grabbing Peter Sarsgaard to play the film’s villain. And no, he’s not been cast as Sinestro.
THR’s Heat Vision blog reports that Sarsgaard is in talks to play Dr. Hector Hammond, “the pathologist son of a senator who is seen as a disappointment in his father’s eyes” and eventually develops powers of his own after contact with a meteor. Those powers include mind reading and mind control, depending on the version of Hammond in question. This is sounding like WB is hewing close to the Geoff Johns version of Green Lantern’s origin. Here’s the WikiPedia synopsis of Hammond as he appears in that story (possible spoilers inside):
[Hammond] claims to be Carol Ferris’ boyfriend. However, it is revealed that he is just a private consultant for Ferris Aircraft and that they had gone out to dinner, according to Carol, “on business”. While inspecting Abin Sur’s crashed aircraft, Hammond is affected by the meteorite fragment in its reactor. This leads to his brain growing bigger, and able to read minds, including Carol Ferris and Hal Jordan who Hammond deduces is the Green Lantern. His mental powers keep Hal from using his ring, and is only stopped when Sinestro encases his head in an energy bubble, cutting off his air supply.
With respect to Sarsgaard, this should be fantastic casting. The actor is incredibly versatile and can carry across all the requisite emotions for a great villain. He can be slyly secretive, jealously wounded, righteously angry and far more, all with utter art and the ability to convince. I’m imagining his turn in An Education amped up to superhero levels, and can’t wait to see it.