There have been a lot of aliens invading Neville Page’s head, but “Green Lantern” upped the ante by asking for 3,600 of them.
Page is one of Hollywood’s most in-demand concept artists and creature designers, having envisioned the extraterrestrials for films like James Cameron’s “Avatar” and Bad Robot productions including “Star Trek,” “Cloverfield” and “Super 8,” but he tells PopcornBiz that realizing Hal Jordan’s spacefaring colleagues in the Green Lantern Corps taxed even his imagination.
“We had almost twice as many creatures in this than we did in 'Avatar' and probably one-tenth the time,” says Page, “so it really forced us to change our approach to how we were designing. You just have to rethink how you would present them. You wouldn't do a drawing – I didn't draw one single thing. I immediately started doing digital sculpture, because it was the most important thing to show Martin Campbell right away, in the round, three dimensionally some suggestions.”
“Myself and another artist, Tully Summers, every single day, like six apiece, over and over and over, were just cranking them out,” Page explains. “And when Martin selected one, we were able to take it and move forward as opposed to then evolving it. So our whole pipeline of developing character changed on this film.”
Fortunately, Page and his team occasionally had a head start thanks the many established, exotic Green Lanterns created by DC Comics artists like Gil Kane and Joe Staton over 50 years of comic book continuity. “We couldn't have done it without them, obviously,” says Page. “If we had to start from scratch like we did on 'Avatar' – Impossible! But we had these incredible starts. But also, because the starts were crazy, so Zen and so creative, that, in a way, slowed it down a bit – because how are we going to take this thing with all these tentacles and strange hair and a Mohawk and it's crystal, how do you make that work? So sometimes it was very enabling and other times it was disabling. But either way it was a head start.”
Page know that long-established alien Green Lanterns like Sinestro, Tomar Re, Kilowog and Abin Sur would have significant roles in the film, but he also honored special requests to include many background Lanterns who have become familiar faces to the fans over the decades.
Next in line for Page is Ridley Scott’s “Prometheus,” which may or may not be a prequel to his classic film “Alien,” and the artist hopes for a reunion with J.J. Abrams on “Star Trek 2,” should Abrams return to the director’s chair. “I love J.J. so much that I kind of like to hold myself available for anything that he's doing. But if he's doing it – oh boy, I'm there.”