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The MCU Star Who Almost Played Hal Jordan In Green Lantern

When most people refer to 2011's "Green Lantern," it's usually dismissively, or with ridicule — its Tomatometer score is a dismal 26%, and the Audience Score, at 45%, isn't much better. While some swear that the extended edition improves the film immensely, with 10 minutes of deleted scenes and more action, not everyone is willing to sit through it again — deleted scenes and all — to find out if that's true (via Monkeys Fighting Robots). It's almost hard to believe the anticipation that surrounded the film in the early stages, and how many actors were hoping to become Hal Jordan, aka Green Lantern (Ryan Reynolds).

Reynolds had recently co-starred in "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" as fan favorite Deadpool when casting had begun on "Green Lantern," and a "Deadpool" spin-off was already in the works. But Warner Bros. had yet to release any of its "Superman" films with Henry Cavill or any of the other films that would make up the DC Extended Universe. Instead, "Green Lantern" was planned to be its tentpole film, and the studio was trying to find the best possible fit for the iconic superhero. Before Reynolds was chosen, he had two main competitors in Justin Timberlake and Bradley Cooper (via The Hollywood Reporter).

Bradley Cooper almost played Hal Jordan

Bradley Cooper has been forthcoming in interviews over the years about why he didn't end up with the role of Hal Jordan, even telling Conan O'Brien on "The Tonight Show" how he inadvertently sabotaged his audition. "I couldn't not do Christian Bale's Batman," he told O'Brien. "I don't know what it was! I put a mask on and the director was like, 'Okay Bradley, be regular and talk.' And I was like, 'Yeah, got it...'" (via MTV).

Cooper may not have gotten the role of the DC superhero, but a few years later, he was offered the role of a different kind of superhero in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. As the ornery, witty, genetically engineered Rocket Raccoon in James Gunn's "Guardians of the Galaxy," Cooper has had fun changing his voice to fit the character, even if everyone at Marvel was a fan. James Gunn recalled on his Twitter page that one executive asked, "Why did we pay money for Bradley Cooper if he doesn't even sound like Bradley Cooper!?" Gunn wrote, "I was like, we hired him because he's a great ACTOR. That's the point! He's creating a character!"

Cooper remarked to MTV that if he were directing "Green Lantern," he "would cast him [Reynolds]. He's perfect. He actually looks like a superhero." Whether Ryan Reynolds would concur after all the backlash he's received over the years is uncertain, but it's interesting to think of a world in which Cooper could've been Hal Jordan.