Contrary to the anonymous emails that turn up in my inbox every other week, THE GREEN HORNET is not dead. In fact, according to producer/co-writer/star Seth Rogen, it's closer to actual, physical production than it's ever been. They're building sets! They're actively hunting for a new Kato (to replace Stephen Chow)! They've got multiple screenplays!
In talking with Rogen at this past weekend's FUNNY PEOPLE junket (full interview comin' post-Comic Con), I got the sense that they've yet to settle on the tone of the film - which is strange/precarious for a movie that's this close to principal photography. You'll see what I mean when you read the below excerpt from our interview, but it sounds like the casting of Kato will be key to determining the movie's personality. That said, the fact that Michel Gondry is not reigning in his visual style signals to me that THE GREEN HORNET will likely be his movie at the end of the day. And I'm okay with this. Especially if they do the right thing and cast Robert Loggia as Kato.
Here's Rogen candidly answering my GREEN HORNET inquiries.
Mr. Beaks: I keep getting emails from some guy who's trying to play the role of hollywood insider on GREEN HORNET. He keeps trying to feed me information, and he is consistently wrong.
Seth Rogen: Yeah? (Laughs)
Beaks: He's always trying to tell me the movie is dead. And I'm like, "I'm pretty sure it's not!"
Rogen: No, we're building sets! There's more people working on the film every day! They traditionally don't spend millions and millions of dollars on movies that are dead. (Laughs)
Beaks: Just know there's someone out there trying to kill your movie via email.
Rogen: There are tons of people doing that. (Laughs)
Beaks: So where are you with the casting of Kato?
Rogen: We are reading many, many people from all over the globe, and it is a wild adventure. We're just looking everywhere, honestly. We're looking at people who are really famous overseas, and we're looking at people who are completely unknown. We're looking at people who are American. We're looking at people who are martial arts experts. We're also looking at people who don't do any martial arts, and who do Broadway and are actors. We know what we want. And there's some wiggle room. We're the type of writers who can easily adapt the roles to whoever is playing it. We've done that on every movie we've ever written. But we know how we want the relationships to work, and so someone needs to fill that general role. It's been really interesting, I can say that. You meet these people, and you're like, "You are clearly famous in Korea! I can see from 100 feet away that you are the most famous person in whatever country you're from!" (Laughs) And I just feel bad that we make them read with us.
Beaks: I just figured you guys put an immediate call out to Ernie Reyes, Jr.
Rogen: (Laughing) Yes, exactly! Anyone who's seen TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES 2 knows that that guy can kick some ass.
Beaks: About the writing of the script, you've talked about tone before, but it sounds like Kato is the serious role and you're handling more of the comedy.
Rogen: Honestly, there have been different versions of it. There are versions where we've had more comedically-inclined people in mind for the role - and in that version, it was a tit-for-tat type of relationship. There have also been versions where we've been forced to confront "This guy doesn't speak any fucking English!" That obviously changes their relationship a little bit. That means it would be a lot more on me to be the person who drives the scenes verbally. These are all just things that have been discussed during the endless hours of talking about this movie. Obviously, there are different versions. And they're all written. We've been writing this movie for a long time. But until we find the absolute perfect person [for Kato], we'll... just keep looking! There have been some people we've seen who we think might be the perfect person, but we're just not sure yet.
Beaks: You've had all of these different versions of the script, but now that you've got Michel Gondry on board - and he's evidently going to mute his style for this movie-- (Rogen bursts into laughter) Oh, so he's not going to mute his style! Perhaps he was just talking a good game on that?
Rogen: (Laughing) Exactly. I mean, I feel like people who are fans of his won't feel let down by what they see. We're encouraging him to make it as visually exciting and inventive as anything anyone has ever seen. We're fans of these types of movies when they're done well. We think that we can handle the story and the script and the dialogue, but we know nothing about cameras and lights and fancy ways of making things look amazing. And that's what he's better at than anyone in the world pretty much. So we're encouraging him to really go for it. If he considers what he's doing on this muted - which may be the case - then I can't imagine what he first came into it thinking.
But we've been having an amazing time with him. He's so funny and so collaborative. We really work well together, I think - me, him and Evan. It's just been a lot of fun.
Beaks: I'm just glad to hear he's making a Michel Gondry film and not, like, a Shawn Levy film.
Rogen: Not at all. He's incapable of it. As much as he'd like to think he could do that, he just can't. (Laughs) There is a limit to his abilities in that capacity.