Blake Lively talks exclusively to InStyle about her new movie Green Lantern - co-starring Ryan Reynolds - plus reveals all about her career and her travels...
Tell us about your character Carol in Green Lantern?
Carol is a really appealing character in this film, and it’s rare because you never see a female get to also be the hero. She’s not a damsel in distress. Hal [Ryan Reynolds] doesn’t swoop in and save her. Often she pushes him. He’s inherited a lot of responsibility, and he’s not sure he wants it. He’s not a superman – he’s just a man, and he has his weaknesses.
He has an incredible amount of potential, but there are certain things that life has thrown at him like the loss of his father that give him these inhibitions and she’s there to push him. But they’re also rivals in the air. They’re both fighter pilots and they battle each other.
And Hal’s completely reckless. He crashes planes, and that’s a big deal — millions of dollars worth of a big deal. He was also a little reckless with her heart. They were each other’s first love and she’s been hurt by him, but she still cares deeply for him. So, they are both rivals and compliment each other. That was a really fun thing to be able to explore with Ryan, who’s so intelligentand witty and so great to banter with, to have that sort of tension and rivalry, but also love and support.
Did you have chemistry with Ryan?
Yeah, I mean, whenever you do those screen tests, you always just say, ‘Well, there’s only so much I can do, but I hope something clicks.’ And it did. We were very lucky to be able to have that. But I can’t give too much credit to that because I’ve never met anybody who doesn’t click with Ryan. Everyone likes him.
What was it like working with Peter Sarsgaard, who plays Dr. Hector Hammond?
Peter’s so talented. Seeing him escape into that character — he completely disappeared to the eye when you look at him go through eight hours of prosthetic work. But the way that he would move, the way that he would carry himself as Hector, who’s been infected, it’s so remarkable.
Also, it really spoke a lot about the film that they wanted Peter Sarsgaard for this role. He’s such an interesting actor, but he can also play very dark and sinister in a way that’s a little off, that you can’t quite put your finger on. It’s not obvious. We had very few scenes together, but just being on-set and watching him work when I wasn’t in the scene with him was an incredible learning experience for me. I was just completely fascinated by him. And I’ve always been such a fan of his.
How about Carol’s outfits? What did you think of your wardrobe for this film?
Ngila Dixon is such an incredible costume designer. She’s such a cool, stylish woman. She has such an understanding of character. And, like I said, there was not a stone unturned in this film and she was very much at the centre of that. There are almost 4,000 Green Lanterns, and she was part of the design of all of those suits, creating the different personalities reflected in the suit and the alien planet that they were from. So, to open your mind to something—what would be on an alien planet, and how could this define that character. She had that whole world, and then she had the people on planet Earth to really tell the story through.
She spent a ton of time designing. I’ve never had somebody make a white blouse before. But every single detail. And I talked to her a lot about the character. She wanted to sit down and talk about the backstory on why Carol does what she does, what she feels, what she thinks.
And then from there, she designed the outfits, not just like, ‘Oh, what’s going to look good on your body.’ So, to be able to work with her was really cool because Carol gets to wear these beautiful silhouetted dresses, classic column dresses because she is stoic, so to have her look almost statue-like made sense.
She’s a businesswoman, but she’s also a woman. She celebrates her femininity and her empowerment, but she’s still a businesswoman. So, to be in more suits made sense. She’s a smart woman, so she understands that part of her power comes from her sexuality, and if for no other reason but to disarm men, you have to walk around with that sort of awareness. And she’s a fighter pilot, so we had flight suits.
Ngila said, "I could make this a babe suit and have you in a wife-beater and have it tied around your waist and make the pants fitted." And people would know. Not everybody would know. But she said, "No, no, no." So, I was in full flight suit. And, I mean, to have a one-piece body suit and have compression chaps that are filled with air, I mean, nothing is less flattering than a suit with a suit on top of it that’s filled with air. But Ngila said, "She’s about to go up. It doesn’t make sense that she would be halfway stripped down when she’s about to go up in the air. Hal is late. She’s ready to go. She’s got to be looking like she’s ready to go." I could barely walk in it. I was walking like G.I. Joe. Martin [the director] was like, "I understand that Carol’s militant, but can you walk a little more naturally?" I was like, "That’s not character choice. This is practical. I cannot walk in this suit."
Just even when she’s wearing a fitted pencil skirt and a blouse, but then having a man’s watch on—there’s a masculinity to her that she carries. And, also, she would wear that watch in the air and she’d wear it with her dresses. So, it was very detailed. But I always love anything with costume designers.
What has it been like for you to have this career trajectory and play so many diverse roles in different kinds of films?
It’s been incredible because I’ve only done jobs that I feel passionate about, roles that I really cared about and that have meant something to me. I’ve been so lucky to work with such great people, people that are such hard workers and have such a respect and appreciation for one another. To be in an environment like that, the quality of work that you get when everybody’s appreciating each other is so great.
It’s never to me about a formula. People say, "Well, whose career do you follow? Where do you see your career going? What movie do you want to do next?" And I can’t tell you what type of movie I would go and do next. I would have to read the script and feel for a character. And if I feel in my gut for a character, I know that that’s somebody I have to play.
So, to me it’s about doing things you’re passionate about, and I think that that comes through. After my first year on Gossip Girl, everybody said, "You’ve got to do a big commercial movie, ride this wave." And I did a tiny Rebecca Miller film, The Private Lives of Pippa Lee, where Alan Arkin was 74 played my husband, and I was 19. And that was a really different, weird, dark story. But it was one that refueled me creatively.
And then going back into 10 months of playing the same character you look for that again. But I didn’t find that the next year. So, everybody said, “Come on, now you’ve got to do the commercial movie. You didn’t do it last year and you want to show that you can exist on both platforms of TV and movies.’” But there wasn’t anything I was passionate about.
So, I traveled for a month. I work on other characters so often, developing other characters—I need to develop my own character, too. You need to bring those experiences with you to your characters. So, for me, it’s about connecting with something. And I don’t know, I’ve just been really, really lucky.
Where did you go when you travelled?
I went to Thailand, and I was supposed to be gone for a week and half but I expanded the trip to then went to India for three weeks, and then ended up in the Maldives. So, I was gone for over a month. Oh my gosh, it was the best thing I’ve ever done. I loved it.
Green Lantern hits UK screens on 17 June - see trailer left!