Finn Wittrock sets the stage for 'sprawling' Green Lantern series: 'It's not your average superhero story'
The American Horror Story star describes Guy Gardner as a "polarizing figure" with a "heart of gold."
As an actor living in Los Angeles of a certain build, a certain height, and a certain age with a certain camera-ready charm, Finn Wittrock has been up for just about every superhero project in Hollywood in the past 10 years.
"I've sometimes come close. Generally, not at all come close, but I've always sniffed around the edges of it," he tells EW.
The face from American Horror Story and Ratched finally broke the streak when Warner Bros. Television cast him as DC Comics figure Guy Gardner, one of multiple Green Lanterns to be featured on HBO Max's upcoming Green Lantern series from showrunner Seth Grahame-Smith.
"This one did kind of fall from the sky," he says. "It's really exciting for me. I'm considering myself a student of the comic book universe right now."
While Wittrock is still researching the Guy character, pouring over various comics, bingeing the animated series, and, yes, even watching the Ryan Reynolds Green Lantern movie, he has seen superheroic entertainment in the past. He feels "people will be really, really pleasantly surprised" by the upcoming show.
"It is really cool how sprawling a storyline it is," Wittrock says. "It's pretty epic. It spans time and space and has something for everyone. It's not your average superhero story."
Wittrock will appear as Guy, a human Green Lantern described previously by the network as "a hulking mass of masculinity" and "an embodiment of 1980s hyper-patriotism" who's "somehow likeable," in the 1984 period of the show opposite the half-alien Lantern Bree Jarta (the actor is currently unknown). But the show, written and executive produced by the Arrowverse's Greg Berlanti, will move to different times and spaces around the cosmos.
Other Lanterns we know will appear on the 10-episode first season so far include Alan Scott (Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again's Jeremy Irvine), a closeted gay F.B.I. Agent living on earth in 1941; Jessica Cruz, Sector 2814's first female Lantern; and Simon Baz, Jessica's frequent partner assigned to Earth. Sinestro and Kilowog, two other characters from the Lantern comics, will also feature.
Out of all of these characters, Wittrock admits that Guy is quite the "polarizing figure." While the actor says the show "definitely" maintains his tendency to showboat, he also says he has "a heart of gold."
"He takes on a lot of this show. He's a pretty big part of it," Wittrock says. "I think it's an interesting way in [to the story]. It's not the conventional way in, but I think people might see a side of him they didn't know was there."
Wittrock is on course to start filming the series by the end of the year or just after the new year in 2022. As he readies to experience a visual effects-heavy production for the first time, there's one piece of Lantern lore he couldn't ignore: the 2011 Green Lantern movie.
Even Reynolds, its star, constantly pokes fun at what has become an ongoing joke within the comic book movie fandom. Its director, Martin Campbell, mentioned in a recent interview with Collider the studio interference that changed the ending of the movie.
"I'm not a comic book fan and the truth is I never should have done it, but I did it because I had never done a comic book film before," the filmmaker admitted.
"It definitely was something that was in my head," Wittrock says after he got cast in the show. "In some ways, it's almost better. I think it offers a chance to reinvent the whole thing and you're not going to have... I mean, no offense to the movie. It is what it is, but you're not going to have people who are dying for the creation of that movie. [The show] can be its own new interpretation."
The fact that this new project is a series also works to their benefit, he adds. "There's a lot of story there. I think maybe it was just too much to fit into a movie. We have the time and the space, thanks to HBO, to really explore a lot of it on a big scale. I think it's going to be a different animal, to be honest."
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