Rogen’s Green Hornet a go… really

Green Hornet (2010)

Green Hornet and actor Seth Rogen

Green Hornet and actor Seth Rogen

Columbia Pictures has officially announced that the adaptation of the former radio adventure star the Green Hornet is about to start filming. The cast includes Seth Rogen as the crime fighter Green Hornet, Jay Chou as Kato (the part made famous by Bruce Lee), Edward James Olmos (probably as DA Scanlon in league with the Green Hornet), Cameron Diaz (as secretary Lenore Case), Tom Wilkinson and David Harbour. Nic Cage is in talks about playing a newly created super villain to battle the emerald-clad hero.

Green Hornet (Van Williams) and Kato (Bruce Lee)

Green Hornet (Van Williams) and Kato (Bruce Lee)

I had written about the history of Green Hornet and the film as being in production over two years ago here, as well as my reluctance to accept that Rogen was the right guy to make a film based on this pulp hero. I’ve read that the movie has been in production for 10 years… which makes me very worried about how this character will be treated in the upcoming movie adaptation.

A Green Hornet Primer

His origins in the age of radio adventure in 1936, the Green Hornet exploded on the small screen in the William Dozier TV series in 1966. Released in conjunction with the campy Batman series, many viewers were no doubt confused by the serious nature of the Green Hornet causing it to be canceled after only one year on the air.

A straight-forward pulp only slightly modernized for the swinging 60’s, the program followed the adventures of the scourge of the underworld and public enemy number one of the police, the Green Hornet. Secretly newspaper publisher and socialite Britt Reid, the Green Hornet fought crime with the assistance of his manservant and martial artist Kato along with the assistance of District Attorney Scanlon. Prowling the streets of San Francisco in the rollinf arsenal called the Black Beauty (this thing was a TANK, the Batmobile had nothing on this car), his Hornet’s sting capable of stun rays and emmitting knock-out gas, the Green Hornet often played both sides of villain and hero in order to keep the criminal element in check.

Dashing and handsome Van Williams caused many a female viewer to swoon while Bruce Lee’s dynamic kung fu mesmerized absolutely everyone. The signature tune and fight sequences kept viewers comong back for more but not enough to keep the program on the air. An overseas sensation, the Green Hornet was aired in Bruce Lees’s home of Hong Kong as ‘The Kato Show.’ An enduring program, the Green Hornet may not have been a smash when it was on the air but it is responsible for making enough of an impact that it is still remembered to this day.

Green Hornet Tribute

New film not a comedy… really

With director Michael Gondry (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) on board, I honestly cannot say that I know where this film is headed. Rogen has gone on record as stating that his Green Hornet will not be a comedy despite the fact that the chubby comedic actor cuts an unlikely action hero. I’m reminded of the rumors of a Batman movie starring Bill Murray… but at least that is an actor with some range. Rogen… I’m not so sure. The new version of the Black Beauty was on display at this year’s San Diego Comic Con (which confused me to no end since it looks exactly like the old one), revealed by Rogen as a publicity stunt to promote the upcoming film.

Developments are still far too early to make any serious judgements on this movie. In fact it has only just been firmly established that it is definitely going to happen. The film is set for release December 17, 2010.

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