Shallow Hal Jordan? Read the screenplay for Green Lantern starring Jack Black, and be glad it never happened

You may or may not remember that Jack Black was in line to star in a comedic version of Green Lantern at one point. It turns out the unproduced screenplay is available online, and... it's not very funny.

There are a couple funny bits, like where Jud, the loser who becomes Green Lantern by accident, wins a reality TV contest by eating coyote brains. And a couple of cute riffs on superhero conventions. But by and large, it's pretty weak, and it's hard to believe this is the work of TV Funhouse creator Robert Smigel (who also created Triumph the Insult Comic Dog and the Ambiguously Gay Duo.) For the most part, the premise, that the ring chooses a total loser who doesn't know what he's doing, is stretched to the breaking point — and beyond.

And it ends with Jud, the Green Lantern, moving Earth out of the path of an oncoming yellow asteroid — causing huge natural disasters all over Earth. So Jud realizes the only way to fix things is to turn time backwards. And the only person who can do that is Superman — so Jud makes a green Superman with his ring, and Superman turns time backwards. Then Jud decides he can just have the green Superman do all the work for him from here on out.

(Although, according to Smigel, the script that's online is his first draft, and the screenplay improved a lot in the rewrites.)

Today, Vanity Fair has an interview with Smigel where he talks about the script and what happened. He says:

Basically just the premise that the wrong guy gets the ring and can do all kinds of goofy visual jokes-because the visuals are so potentially ridiculous. What appealed to me about it on a comedic level was that, in order to be a superhero, this requires no physical skill or talent. All it requires is owning this ring. Automatically, that's a comedic premise. I was told they're doing it as a comedy, that's the way they're going, so I didn't really think about whether this was a wrong thing to do. I just knew that this was the movie they were making, and when I thought about the potential as a comedy, I felt like, yeah, I can do this...

I wrote this first draft, which, unfortunately, is the one that's online. A lot of it was in my re-write-the studio gave me notes and I did a re-write about a half-year later. The studio, when they gave me the re-write notes … at one point I had a long discussion about whether or not to make it Green Lantern or whether to create a make-believe character. They were already asking me, "What if it's not Green Lantern? What if it's very similar, but you change it and make it a fictional superhero so we can make that a straight comedy?" Maybe foolishly, I argued that I thought it was funnier to make it a real take on a real cartoon character. That was the first time I sensed that they were rethinking this, and I'd like to think that it wasn't because they didn't like my movie. And I totally get why they would rather make a serious superhero movie if [they] thought it could succeed. Because then it's a tentpole and you can make sequels and all of that. The unfortunate part of it was … look, there were a lot of Internet angry reactions just to the idea of Jack Black.

Image via Comic Vine. [via Slashfilm]