Back in 2011, actor Seth Rogen and his creative partner Evan Goldberg could do no wrong. The pair had penned such great films as Superbad and Pineapple Express, and while two comedy writers taking on the iconic green-masked crime-fighter seemed like an odd fit, most were open to the idea. After all, even if Rogen and Goldberg had mostly made comedies, their films had a solid emotional core backbone to them that put them a cut above your standard comedies of the time. If they’d made sure to have that same backbone with the Green Hornet, and change the skin a bit, it could turn out pretty good, right?
Well, sadly, it didn’t turn out well. There are certain films crimes never should commit. One of them is being boring. While I wouldn’t call Green Hornet an inept film, I’d call it beyond boring — which is way worse than it ever could have been had it just been flat-out stupid. With Michel Gondry at the helm, it was all the more disappointing. When all said and done, after its relatively poor box office haul, you’d expect they’d leave this one alone, right?
Sounds like Hollywood is less swayed by poor performance than I even thought. According to Deadline, Paramount Pictures and Chernin Entertainment have acquired the rights to the character. On board to helm the project is Warrior and The Accountant director Gavin O’Connor, which is incredibly surprising. O’Connor is a director who could move in all sorts of promising directions, but instead he turns to the Green Hornet?
Well, based on his quote from Deadline, it sounds like he’s been wanting to do this for a while.
“I’ve been wanting to make this movie — and create this franchise — since I’ve wanted to make movies. As a kid, when most of my friends were into Superman and Batman, there was only one superhero who held my interest — The Green Hornet. I always thought he was the baddest badass because he had no superpowers. The Green Hornet was a human superhero. And he didn’t wear a clown costume. And he was a criminal — in the eyes of the law — and in the eyes of the criminal world. So all this felt real to me. Imagine climbing to the top of the Himalayas, or Mount Everest, or K2 over and over again and no one ever knew? You can never tell anybody. That’s the life of Britt and Kato. What they do, they can never say. They don’t take credit for anything.”
Rather than embrace the camp of the character, O’Connor hopes to “wipe the slate clean” and do something similar to what Nolan did for The Dark Knight.
“For almost 20 years now I’ve been tracking the rights, watching from the sidelines as they were optioned by one studio or another. When I discovered the rights were available again, I tracked them down, partnered with Peter Chernin and we set the movie up at Paramount. With the rights now in our loving hands, I’m beyond excited to bring The Green Hornet into the 21st century in a meaningful and relevant way; modernizing it and making it accessible to a whole new generation. My intention is to bring a gravitas to The Green Hornet that wipes away the camp and kitsch of the previous iteration. I want to re-mythologize The Green Hornet in a contemporary context, with an emphasis on story and character, while at the same time, incorporating themes that speak to my heart. The comic book movie is the genre of our time. How do we look at it differently? How do we create a distinctive film experience that tells itself differently than other comic book movies? How do we land comfortably at the divide between art and industry? How do we go deeper, prompt more emotion? How do we put a beating heart into the character that was never done before? These are my concerns…these are my desires, my intentions, my fears, my goals.”
“The Green Hornet is ultimately a film about self-discovery. When we meet Britt Reid he’s lost faith in the system. Lost faith in service. In institutions. If that’s the way the world works, that’s what the world’s going to get. He’s a man at war with himself. A secret war of self that’s connected to the absence of his father. It’s the dragon that’s lived with him that he needs to slay. And the journey he goes on to become The Green Hornet is the dramatization of it, and becomes Britt’s true self. I think of this film as Batman upside down meets Bourne inside out by way of Chris Kyle [American Sniper]. He’s the anti-Bruce Wayne. His struggle: Is he a savior or a destroyer? Britt made money doing bad things, but moving forward he’s making no money doing good things. He must realize his destiny as a protector and force of justice by becoming the last thing he thought he’d ever become: his father’s son. Which makes him a modern Hamlet. By uncovering his past, and the truth of his father, Britt unlocks the future.”
It’s a worthy goal, to be sure, but he’ll definitely have an uphill battle in terms of branding. After the Gondry film in ’11, I don’t think there are many fans who are willing to flock to this movie. If nothing else, you can’t say O’Connor isn’t passionate about it. While I may be pretty negative on the idea now, if he manages to prove me wrong with a trailer, I’m more than willing to accept it. But can anyone really buy the Green Hornet as a badass?
O’Connor thinks so.
“Britt’s shadow war background makes him a natural at undercover work. This is connected to his military backstory, which is more CIA Special Activities Division than SEAL Team 6. He’s cross-trained in intelligence work and kinetic operations. A hunter at the top of the Special Operations food chain, working so far outside the system he had to think twice to remember his real name. We will put a vigilante engine under the hood of his character.”
Well, then. Let’s see what O’Connor can bring to this. If he can somehow work MMA into the mix, I may very well be on board for the ride, after all.
What do you think of this idea? Is another Green Hornet movie a good idea or a bad one? Do O’Connor’s words sway you in one way or another? Let us know in the comments down below!
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