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THE GREEN LANTERN - FIRST FLIGHT INTERVIEWS: DIRECTOR LAUREN MONTGOMERY & ACTRESS JULIET LANDAU
 

 


(Director Lauren Montgomery)

Fresh off her triumphant solo directorial debut of Wonder Woman, Lauren Montgomery shifts gears from Amazons and mythology to intergalactic intrigue as the director of Green Lantern: First Flight, the fifth in the ongoing series of DC Universe animated original PG-13 movies.

Q: Will Green Lantern: First Flight be in the well-known design of Bruce Timm, or be more of the Lauren Montgomery vision from Wonder Woman?

Lauren Montgomery: We’re actually having a lot of fun trying different artistic styles on different movies – Bruce felt his style has been done enough, and I just had my turn – plus I knew there were many other character designers who are infinitely better at designing aliens that I am. We were lucky to get Jose Lopez to create the characters for Green Lantern. I think he even took a pay cut from his last job to do Green Lantern, but this project really allows him to let his animation go wild. You’ve never seen anything like some of his designs for this film. His take on the familiar characters is fairly true to form, but he’s designed – literally – an entire universe of completely new characters in the different Green Lanterns, aliens and background characters. There are a lot of awesome, fantastical creatures. Like me, Jose is trained in animation instead of comics, so his style really lends itself to being animated – and everything he's done has looked spectacular. I think it's really looking different from anything we've ever done.

Q: Did Jose ever over-step any boundaries and need to be reined in?

Lauren Montgomery: Actually, his first designs were a little too stylized. For the main characters, the designs were a little too streamlined – we had to make Sinestro more like the comics. But once he got that figured out, he really went crazy. It was exciting to see him come in with these characters. Even his weaponer designer is far different than what we’ve seen before, but DC was okay with it. So we just let him run wild.

Q: Were there any beyond-the-norm issues strategizing a color scheme for a film with an entire army of characters wearing the same color?

Lauren Montgomery: We tried desperately to avoid as much green as we could in backgrounds and supporting characters, so the Green Lanterns and the rings and their effects were the only green portions of the scene. We also tried to stay away from copious amounts of yellow – so that would make an impact later in the film. When you eliminate two of the main colors, it kind of limits you, so we had to utilize a lot of shades of blue, red and orange, and I think we were able to make it work. It was a really wise decision on Bruce's part to keep the green and the yellow to the characters that were defined by that color.

Q: Did you learn anything directing Wonder Woman that you were able to apply and/or improve upon for Green Lantern: First Flight?

Lauren Montgomery: Wonder Woman taught me that you can't board the whole movie by yourself (she laughs), so I just let my storyboard artists do their job on Green Lantern. I let them come up with their ideas and I focused on keeping everything cohesive. Ultimately, I think the movie is better for it. I guess I learned to be more relaxed and to not be such a control freak. Which I think is good (laughs again). It certainly made my work load a lot easier.

Q: How much origin story should Green Lantern fans expect to see?

Lauren Montgomery: As we had already done the origin story a few movies back in Justice League: The New Frontier, we really didn't want to spend a whole lot of time telling that same story over again. So in Green Lantern: First Flight, the origin story is over and done before the opening credits. That way we get right into Hal Jordan’s first adventure.

Q: What made Alan Burnett’s script right for this first Green Lantern film?

Lauren Montgomery: Alan delivered a Green Lantern script that really explored what being a space cop is all about. He didn't focus purely on the heroic Hal super power approach – it’s more of an overall Green Lantern Corps story and Hal's existence within that group. And it’s not Hal on Earth being a super hero – we’re in space for virtually the entire movie, so Alan gave us multiple backgrounds and scene settings so we could explore the galaxy. That made it even more interesting – seeing and exploring different alien locales and lifestyles. Being away from Earth is incredibly liberating in terms of design possibilities.

Q: Without any spoilers, do you have a favorite scene?

Lauren Montgomery: We have a scene about 17 minutes into the movie when Hal and Sinestro go into this establishment looking for a killer, and even though you’ve already seen some of the alien Green Lanterns, this is the first time you get an eyeful of the alien characters that Jose Lopez designed. The place is packed with all these really cool aliens, and they’re all so crazy looking. But you know their personalities immediately. It’s a very tense, cool scene and you really get to see how different that world is from Earth. That’s the defining scene from the movie that lets you know you’re not in Kansas anymore.


(Actress Juliet Landau (Buffy the Vampire Slayer,
Angel) performs the voice of Labella - left)

Actress Juliet Landau, a fanboy favorite from her devious appearances as vampire Drusilla in Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel, easily glides into the voice of sultry alien Labella in Green Lantern: First Flight.

Q: What is the enticement of voiceover for animation?

Juliet Landau: It is so much fun! You get to sit with a bunch of actors and play. Really play! There’s no hair and make-up, no primping – just absolute, uninhibited creativity. That’s the real joy of acting. And it doesn’t get any better than working with Bruce Timm and Andrea Romano.

Q: Do you have a preference for the type of characters you play?

Juliet Landau: I like playing all different kinds of characters. Each one is it’s own little puzzle. Aliens are fun because you have a lot of freedom. The voice of Labella just came to me when I read the pages in a kind of organic in a way. I immediately felt like she had to sound the way I played her. When I came in for looping (pick up sound work) Andrea Romano described my Labella sound as “honey-voiced.” I think that really captures it.

Q: Tell us about Labella.

Juliet Landau: There was a lot of room for invention in this character, especially with the device they use with her. I don’t want to give it away, but she does go through a bit of torture and it causes a rift between Sinestro and Hal. I really liked the sexuality and the flirtatiousness of the character. She’s very different from any of the characters I’ve voiced on Justice League Unlimited or Ben 10: Alien Force – she’s a completely unique character.

Q: When did you start comics writing, and what’s the attraction of the written word?

Juliet Landau: My first foray into comics is a two-issue arc about Drusilla for Angel: After the Fall.

I am co-writing with Brian Lynch and enjoying it immensely. The first issue will be out in July, the second in August. I have been working with 3 different artists on some of the imagery and cover art as well. I also wrote a short film called, It’s Raining Cats and Cats, which I will co-direct. Exploring these different facets of creativity has been truly inspiring. As an actor, you’re a component; but when you’re writing and directing, it is your vision of the whole project, which is very appealing. Take Flight has been an amazing experience. Gary Oldman directed a music video shot entirely on Nokia cell phones. Initially he asked me to direct the “Making Of.” But what started out solely as a behind-the-scenes “Making Of,” bloomed into a short documentary film about Gary’s creative process. He loves the movie because it shows him in a light he’s never been seen.

(Warner Premiere, DC Comics and Warner Bros. Animation are set to release the all-new Green Lantern: First Flight on July 28, 2009. The Blu-Ray Hi-Def edition, the special edition 2-disc DVD, and a single disc DVD will be distributed by Warner Home Video. The movie will also be available OnDemand and Pay-Per-View as well as available for download day and date, July 28, 2009.)
 


 



 

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