If people could be bound up by anti-trust laws, Ryan Reynolds might find himself on the business end of some serious litigation. Between Hannibal King in Blade: Trinity, Deadpool in X-Men Origins: Wolverine and Hal Jordan in this summer’s Green Lantern, the former sitcom star-turned-hard-bodied leading man has created a superhero monopoly. Sitting down to chat with the actor one gloomy June afternoon in Beverly Hills, his obvious abdominal and pectoral supremacy aside, one has to ask, what makes Reynolds so superhero-y?

“Well, first of all, Hannibal King is not a superhero,” Reynolds deadpans with his signature sardonic wit. “He’s a human being who bleeds and dies if you stab him. Deadpool is kind of an anti-hero, not a superhero. In fact, he’d probably kill you if you called him a superhero. Green Lantern – now that’s a superhero,” he grins.

Evasive answers aside, the 34-year-old Canadian has undeniably become one of Hollywood’s go-to action idols, a distinction Reynolds shrugs off with charming humility.

“I’d like to think that I can encompass some sort of an average Joe,” he offers. “That’s what [Green Lantern] is. This ring selected this guy for reasons totally baffling to him and everyone around him, for an unbelievable, extraordinary task. But it could be anyone.”

“He’s a great superhero, but, specifically, he’s a great Green Lantern,” Reynold’s co-star, Blake Lively, who plays Carol Ferris, Hal’s contentious love interest, explains. “Green Lantern is a person who is a strong, capable man, but he’s also very human and he gets by on his charms. Having someone like Ryan play this character, who has such a heart, humanity and incredible likability, who’s disarmingly charming and witty; you really need that.”

Peter Sarsgaard, who plays the evil, bulbous headed Dr. Hector Hammond, adds, “I think it’s a kind of honesty. There are a lot of good actors who always seem like they’ve got a card face down somewhere that they’re not telling you about. With Ryan, it seems like he has all his cards out all the time. And he manages to still be interesting when doing that.”

Another of Reynolds’ numerous charms is the feeling that, although he’s built like a brick house and has a matinee idol’s chiseled good looks, there’s an inner geek lurking juuust below that well-hewn surface. At the mention of possible unspoken nerdiness, he laughs.

“Yeah, I was a drama geek and all that crap when I was a kid,” he admits. “I looked like a young Asian girl until I was 19.”

Speaking of nerds, you can’t touch a beloved comic universe nowadays without losing sleep over what the fan reaction is going to be. Still Reynolds says he’s excited for devotes of Green Lantern and DC Comics to see their adaptation.

“You have to service the fanboys,” he insists, “They’re the ones who really brought this character into the zeitgeist. And you also have to make sure it’s available for a broader audience. You have to walk that tight rope. You can’t discount what it is the die-hards loved about the character, you have to bring that to the screen because chances are a broader audience is going to follow suit and also fall in love with those aspects.”

For filmgoers unfamiliar with Hal Jordan’s newfound powers as Green Lantern, he finds that thanks to a ring bestowed by an alien, he has the ability to actualize anything he can imagine. It was a fitting ability considering Reynolds spent a great deal of shooting on an empty green screen stage wearing a suit that he describes as making him look “like a crash test dummy.”

“The real super power in this movie is imagination,” he says. “You spend month and months and months on a stage with nothing to look at and nothing to react to, so you have to use your imagination in ways you never would before.”

He lauds Grant Major, the film’s production designer who worked on Lord of the Rings, for guiding him through the process.

“He’d come down and show me all of the sketches and say, ‘This is what you’re looking at, this is what’s in front of you, what’s behind you, what’s beside you. This is what’s flying above your head.’ And after a while, you see it, you start to believe it and then you’re just hallucinating by the time you get home.”

Green Lantern releases in theaters June 17.