On a basic level, I’d love to see a modern day movie adaptation of the 1960s TV series The Green Hornet. As it happens, this very project has been slowly creeping forward for about a year and a half. For the longest time, the only solid news regarding the film was the fact that Seth Rogen would be involved with the film. At first he was attached as a producer and possibly the lead. Then came word that Rogen wasn’t sure whether the film would lean more or less towards a comedy, and that they’d decide as they wrote the script.
Nothing like having a clear vision for your film right from the start.
The writers’ strike put a hold on any development for a few months, but when we next heard about the film it looked like they had decided on a direction: a laugh-riot comedy. Oh, they didn’t say that, but with following folks making the film:
- Evan Goldberg – Writer of Knocked Up, Superbad and Pineapple Express.
- Seth Rogen – Writer of Knocked Up, Superbad, Drillbit Taylor and Pineapple Express.
- Stephen Chow – Writer/Director of Kung Fu Hustle, writer of Shaolin Soccer.
It seemed pretty obvious.
So, while I wasn’t too pleased about all this, the movie seemed to finally have the main pieces in place to allow it to move towards production and it looked like everyone was on the same page. That’s why it was surprising when a few days ago Stephen Chow announced he would no longer be directing Green Hornet. He did add that he would still be playing Kato, the Asian Kung-Fu sidekick. Chow ascribed the decision to “creative differences.” If this is in fact true, it seems odd that if he disagreed with the direction the film was taking that he would still co-star (beyond the obvious paycheck factor).
So today there’s been some elaboration on his vacating the director’s chair – Chow says he wants to work on a superhero comedy with Jack Black, and if he directed The Green Hornet that project would have to be pushed back two years. He is also waffling on whether he’ll play Kato, saying that it depends on his schedule.
His rationale is that in two years the time might not be right for a superhero comedy, and that he wants to make a film based on an original idea.
This all smells funny to me – Chow was announced as director of the film three months ago. It sounds like the Jack Black project is a convenient excuse, or a backup plan that he’s pushed to the top of his list. The question is: Does this mean that Rogen and company wanted to do a different sort of comedy than Chow had in mind? Or is it somehow possible that this group with a history of slapstick comedy actually decided to try their hand at a more serious hero/action movie?
Whatever the case, this is going to leave the studio scrambling… they have plenty of time - The Green Hornet is currently scheduled for a June 25, 2010 release, but if they wrote the movie with Chow in mind to direct and play Kato there’s going to be some serious re-writing going on I’ll bet. If they end up announcing Rogen’s other choice for Kato, Tony Ja, that might be a clue that they’re not going so much for the comedy angle – and that will be welcome news to me.