It’s been five years since Colombia Pictures took a stab with its own take on the classic crimefighting superhero, The Green Hornet. Ultimately proving itself to be a less-than stellar take on the character with actors Seth Rogen and Jay Chou in the lead, the film flopped at the domestic box office in the wake of otherwise mixed reviews.
Thus, it’s Paramount Pictures now picking up the slack with Chernin Entertainment producing a newly adapted reboot and helmer Gavin O’Connor writing and directing. George W. Trendle and Fran Striker first launched the character on radio in 1936 followed by subsequent film and television work by the 1960’s with actor Van Williams whose role as playboy/media mogul and owner of The Daily Sentinel, Britt Reid, serves as the foundation for his crimefighting alterego under the guise of a wanted fugitive, along with the help of his sidekick, Kato, a role that helped launch legendary martial artist and actor Bruce Lee into rising stardom prior to his later film career.
Writer and director O’Connor (The Accountant, Warrior, Pride And Glory, Jane Got A Gun) took to Deadline this week for its exclusive in which he discussed his own desire to direct a franchise different from Batman and Superman of his heyday and having waited twenty years as the rights went from one group to another. From there, O’Connor detailed his plan in partnering with Peter Chernin and Paramount to help bring the property into the 21st century in a meaning, relevant and modernized way that undoes its camp and cheeziness familiar with its iteration from fifty years ago.
“…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.”
Referencing well-known properties like Batman, Jason Bourne and late solider Chris Kyle as depicted in Clint Eastwood’s American Sniper, O’Connor further outlined his intentions for his new film as a reverse anti-hero who has lost faith in the system amidst on-going battles with personal demons relative to his father’s absence, all key to his evolution as a crimefighter:
“…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.”
O’Connor also lays out his concept for a more “badass” nature, utilizing his top-of-the-food-chain status as a military man and a hunter with a vigilante prospect to his name:
“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,” O’Connor said.
You can read all the quotes in full at Deadline
but you can definitely count on this as being truly ambitious given what’s being offered here. We’ll be sure to hold O’Connor to it!
Are you up for a full-fledged reboot of The Green Hornet? If so, who would you like to see star? Comment below!
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