If you're looking at that picture and wondering "who the heck is that?" fear not - you aren't alone. It was announced earlier today that Warner Bros. has chosen Blake Lively to star opposite Ryan Reynolds in the upcoming adaptation of Green Lantern.
Lively, who is known mostly for her roles in the CW's "Gossip Girl" and a role in The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, caught most of the internet world by surprise, since we'd previously heard rumors of more experienced actresses like Jennifer Garner and Keri Russell courted for the role. She'll play Carol Ferris, the Vice President of Ferris Aircrafts and the one who hires cocky test pilot Hal Jordan (Reynolds), who becomes Green Lantern after a crash in the desert. In the comics, Carol becomes the villain Star Sapphire, but whether this persona will figure into this film is currently unknown.
I'm not going to be a part of the outcry against Lively just yet. I haven't seen much of her work, and you have to remember - Heath Ledger's casting as The Joker in The Dark Knight had people laughing about how terrible he was going to be. (For the record - and I realize everyone says this now, but it's true for me - I was totally down with Ledger as the Joker from the start.) I'm willing to give her the benefit of the doubt until she proves me wrong. Granted, a major reason I'm going to give her a shot comes from the good word of mouth around her performance in Ben Affleck's second directorial outing, The Town.
The role called for a slightly older actress but Lively, who stars in the CW's "Gossip Girl," impressed the studio and filmmakers with her audition. Warners was also impressed with her work in "The Town," its adaptation of the gritty Chuck Hogan novel directed by Ben Affleck now in post-production.
If Warner Bros. (a studio I have huge respect for) is impressed with Lively, then perhaps she'll surprise all the haters. Green Lantern is supposed to have an Iron Man-esque sensibility to it, so maybe younger is better in this case. Keep in mind that I'm not familiar with the source material here - I've never read a full Green Lantern comic. Perhaps Alan Trehern (of our newly established This Week In Comics feature) will chime in either in the comments or in his next Wednesday post with his thoughts, since I'm sure he has a better handle on the Green Lantern mythos than I do.
On a purely physical level, the girl is gorgeous. So, she's got that going for her. Will this be enough to get me to tune into an episode of "Gossip Girl"? Probably not. But if anyone wants a sneak peek at the upcoming Carol Ferris, you know where to look.
The film shoots in March for a June 17th, 2011 release. Martin Campbell (Goldeneye, Casino Royale) is directing.