Saturday, September 27, 2008

STEPHEN CHOW will direct & star in GREEN HORNET [news]

Stephen Chow, one of Asia's most popular box-office draws as the award-winning star and director of such films as Kung Fu Hustle, CJ7, and Shaolin Soccer, will direct Seth Rogen and star opposite him as Kato in Columbia Pictures' The Green Hornet, set for release June 25, 2010, it was announced today by Doug Belgrad and Matt Tolmach, presidents of Columbia Pictures. The screenplay is by Seth Rogen & Evan Goldberg, who will also executive produce. Neal H. Moritz is the producer through his Original Film production company.

In tapping Chow to helm The Green Hornet, Sony Pictures Entertainment continues a long association with the star and director. Under its local language initiative, Sony co-produced and released Chow's Kung Fu Hustle, which went on to gross over $100 million worldwide and received a Golden Globe® nomination as well as six Hong Kong Film Awards and five Taiwan Golden Horse Awards. Sony also released CJ7.

Commenting on the announcement, Tolmach said, "When Seth, Evan, and Neal said they wanted Stephen Chow to be part of 'The Green Hornet,' it was a fantasy. Now that it's happening, it's almost too good to be true. Stephen's been a very important part of the Sony family for many years, so it's truly serendipitous for us to be moving forward with him directing the movie and starring as Kato."

Chow added, "I'm excited to be taking on 'The Green Hornet' -- obviously, I've been a huge fan of the show since I was a kid. The idea of stepping into Bruce Lee's shoes as Kato is both humbling and thrilling, and to get the chance to direct the project as my American movie debut is simply a dream come true. I'm grateful to my friends at Sony, who have shown so much faith in me for so many years. I'm looking forward to working with Seth, Evan, Neal, and the team at Sony, and I'm eager to get started."

Moritz said, "'The Green Hornet' is a dream project and it's come together in a dream way. Seth will be fantastic in the lead role, and Stephen was the only name on the list for Kato. The material is a perfect match for his sensibilities -- Stephen in the director's chair is the best thing for the film."

Rogen said, "Stephen was always my and Evan's first choice for director and to play Kato. We just hope that he never finds out we're not the Wachowski Brothers."
Ori Marmur will serve as the Executive Producer of the film.

Chow previously told us of his interest in the project. "When I saw the program, I thought it was a great role and thought it was outstanding, because I'm Chinese and it's Bruce Lee, but I'd be happy to play that role," he said.

Later, we asked Seth Rogen about approaching Chow, who answered, "It's a very intense action movie and the relationship between Green Hornet and Kato, a lot of comedy comes from that. At first actually, we weren't even sure going in we could be more of a Jet Li type guy who maybe isn't the funniest guy in the world, but he's physically very impressive, or whether it would be more of a Stephen Chow type guy who can do martial arts, but clearly has a sense of humor. In the version that we've made it seems like a Stephen Chow type guy would be more suitable for the role. Again, until they officially greenlight it, it's hard to make any of those decisions."


Anonymous said...

Lets look at some facts that have been overlooked or pushed under the rug by SOOO many in Hollywood.
1. The character predated Batman and the ONLY tie in was in 1966 when the same producer for the TV show did the TV Green Hornet. That is it.
2. The Character is not a superhero, he has no super powers, no super villains, and he is at best a masked crime fighter. Really he is no different than any TV/Film crime fighter except he happens to have a secret identity.
3. The Character did not come from the comic world; comics only explored their version of the story after the radio show was already established. The later 90's Comic series further explored an alternate universe of the Green Hornet world. Not too uncommon for the comic world but not congruent with the characters true origins and world.
4. The character is a hard driving young (33 years old) successful businessman who is dedicated to fight crime in his community and wherever it occurs. NOT a lazy billionaire playboy! That is pure recent media hype.
5. He is seen as a criminal in the criminal world so law enforcement is always after him. The criminals hate him because they fear him, Kato, and the Black Beauty.
6. The Green Hornet is a brilliant strategist and foils his foes in a well played out mental chess game (SEE Jason Borne or James Bond) Kato assists in strategy, weapons development and construction, and muscle when needed. Kato is essential in the mix.
5. The Green Hornet is fully capable in hand-to-hand combat in most every situation. He has a totally different style than Kato. He is in top physical condition.
6. Kato is fully competent in any situation of combat. He is so confident that his attitude comes across as smug. But make no mistake he takes crime fighting and combat very seriously. It would be a very rare occurrence if he were bested in hand-to-hand combat.
7. The TV series was canceled because the producer was not allotted enough TV time to further develop the character. ABC only allowed 30m and Dozier insisted on 60m for the second season. He attempted to prove his point with several 2-parters in the first season. ABC refused the extra time so Dozier canceled the series. How do I know this? Because I am looking at the focus study and Nielsen reports in my hand right now. The series actually did better than Batman in focus study reports! And Batman was HUGE in 1966.
8. Production costs were out of control on Batman (A Huge hit) and budgets were getting tight so this was also a factor in sidelining the Green Hornet.
9. It is often brought up that Michael Keaton is/was a comedic actor and he did well at Batman in 1989. One must realize that Keaton worked as Batman because he has shown he an actor that has depth and intensity. It makes no difference that he was in a comedic role prior. He was/is capable of VERY serious roles and can portray a very dark character, which is needed for the Dark Knight. Same goes for Robin Williams as The Joker or Riddler. He has proven himself in serious roles and can also be a believable villain that can also be very dark. Can Seth?
10. The Green Hornet does not exist in the DC or Marvel comic’s universe.
11. Seth has in the past said this will be a comedy then said it will be an action film just like Pineapple Express , so who knows what he/they will decide on.
(Pineapple Express actually shown little impressive action scenes.)
12.The French have done an excellent interpretation in their short film located here.
13. There was actually a plan for the Green Hornet to have a feature film in 1967. It was dropped because the series was dropped, plain and simple.
14. Batman was NEVER the Dark night until much later in his genesis. The 60’s TV interpretation was not far off from the comics of the day. The Dark Knight came much later!

They were able to hold the elements together for Spider-man, Fantastic Four, Elektra, Daredevil, Hulk, Iron Man, X-Men, Batman, Superman, Punisher, Blade so why not do the same for the Green Hornet? The Hornet is more like a Jason Borne, or a James Bond without the MI5-CIA connection. Hard fighting, mental strategy game, interesting gadget technology.

Anything less than what the character is or was created to be is just a slap in the face to all of fandom and aficionados of the genre. People do not want something different they want something familiar but updated to take advantage of the wonderful film technology we have today.

Look for inspiring films to model off of like:
1. Ronin
2. Blade (especially the first 10 minutes)
3. The Professional (especially the first 10 minutes)
4. Casino Royal (especially the first 10 minutes)
5. The Usual Suspects
6. Smokin Aces (the plot twist)
7. The Bourne films

Lets hope Chow honors Lee with a respectful interpretation of his character Kato. Lee never portrayed the role in a comedic vein and anything less than a serious role would be disrespectful to Lee.

Filmgoers want to leave the film after paying their $10 saying “…damn that was awesome!” Not “Damn I could have blown that $10 bucks elsewhere and been happier.”

Fans are not looking for another Rush Hour film, they did that and it was fine for what it was.

Impress us Seth! Don’t rip us off!

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