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Michel Gondry Talks Green Hornet, But Doesn't Say Much

by
April 13, 2009
Source: SciFi Wire, AICN

Michel Gondry

Ever since we first reported that Michel Gondry was directing Seth Rogen's The Green Hornet, we haven't actually heard from Gondry himself. The only updates we've posted since then have been about Gondry, even though they've actually come from Rogen, in a funky game of telephone. So this is the first time anyone has spoken with Gondry since he got the job. Unfortunately, he doesn't have much to say, since it's still just coming together. "Seth and Evan, they are the writers, but they really listen to my ideas on the movie. I think the story is getting much better and better and I feel like I'm really a part of the process."

Gondry spoke separately to Ed Douglas at ComingSoon, Todd Gilchrist at SciFi Wire, and Mr. Beaks at Ain't It Cool News while out promoting his new DVD called Michel Gondry 2: More Videos, which you can buy on his official site. I've pulled the best quotes from each interview, although you're more than welcome to read them all. Getting back to Green Hornet, Gondry gave this answer when asked about how he would approach the project. "It would be safe to say there are going to be funny moments, but it's certainly not going to be a spoof of the genre. If we did that, we'd get killed by the Green Hornet fans. They already hate us."

It's great to see that even he's making jokes about the fans. The only other worthwhile quote comes from Gilchrist's interview, where Gondry was asked if he is using this as a chance to try something new.

"People like to say it's quirky, but I think it works by trying to be as human as possible, I'll try to portray a human quality I see in real life and I appreciate through the medium. That's my job, to not use the film to camouflage moments of a person's personality, but to reveal that personality, and I think this is a very clear and broad statement, maybe something to do with feeling good or this type of direction, so I don't see why this should not be easy for people to appreciate."

I'm not sure what to make of that, or any of his answers really, but I guess that's part of Gondry's brilliance. Despite the fact that it's a challenge to get a straight answer out of him, I'm still excited to see him take on The Green Hornet. Rogen said previously that Gondry won't be doing any of the low-budget cardboard stuff this time, which is a relief. However, more than anything I'm interested in seeing him not only take on this challenge, but bring something new to the table, and shake up the genre as we know it (that is, if Green Hornet can even be put in any one genre). Hopefully the story will make more sense than his answers.

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  • Tim "Cloverfield"
    Gondry...get out while you can. This will do nothing but hurt your career.
  • HornetNation
    With the worthless Rogen being involved, this is so dead to me and the rest of the Hornet Nation!
  • Why?
    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. 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 showed little impressive action scenes.) 12.The French have done an excellent interpretation in their short film located here. http://www.lefrelonvert-court.com/ 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!
  • Tim "Cloverfield"
    Damn you Kevin Smith.....why....why? If you kept your promise to pay ode to our beloved Hornet, we would not be subject to Rogen's whored and lude version. A film version of the character has been in the works for decades. In the 1990s, the magazine Comics Scene reported that George Clooney and Jason Scott Lee were lined up to play the leads. Late in the 90s, music video director Michel Gondry worked with RoboCop screenwriter Edward Neumeier on a possible Green Hornet adaptation.[19] Subsequently, screenwriter John Fusco created a screenplay for the film around 2002. As of the summer of 2004, Kevin Smith was writing a screenplay for him to direct a new rendition of The Green Hornet which was originally scheduled for release in 2005. It was rumored that Jet Li would portray Kato and Jake Gyllenhaal would play the Green Hornet. In 2004 Kevin Smith put the film on the back burner. After a long downtime in which his status with the project was unknown, Smith announced at the 2006 Wondercon that he officially no longer has anything to do with The Green Hornet.[20] An episode from the radio series of The Green Hornet was played for those in attendance at the Mid-Atlantic Nostalgia Convention at Aberdeen, Maryland in September 2006. Terry Salomonson, a radio historian, presented a brief history of the radio program and then shared the recording, which until that day, had been unheard since its initial broadcast back in the
  • Voice of Reason
    Gondry will never sell me on a project. Ever. His movies are miserable miserable miserable.
  • realgreenhornetfan
    The Green Hornet (also referred to as simply Green Hornet) is a masked fictional crime fighter. Originally created by George W. Trendle and Fran Striker for an American radio program in the 1930s, the character has appeared in other media as well, including film serials in the 1940s, a network television program in the 1960s, and multiple comic book series from the 1940s to the 1990s. Though various incarnations sometimes change details, in most incarnations the Green Hornet is Britt Reid, a newspaper publisher by day who by night goes out in his masked "Green Hornet" identity to fight crime as a vigilante, accompanied by his similarly masked Asian manservant Kato and driving a car, equipped with advanced technology, called "Black Beauty". The Green Hornet is often portrayed as possessing fair to above average hand-to-hand combat skills and is often armed with a gun that sprays knock-out gas. One relatively minor aspect of the character which tends to be given limited exposure in the actual productions is his blood relationship to The Lone Ranger, another character created by Striker. The Lone Ranger's nephew was Dan Reid. In the Green Hornet radio shows, the Hornet's father was likewise named Dan Reid, making the hero the Ranger's grand-nephew. The Western property was sold to another company in the 1950s, a legal complication that resulted in the identity of the Masked Rider of the Plains being obscured when it has been dealt with at all in Green Hornet depictions (though a comic book from NOW Comics later displayed the Hornet's living room as being decorated with a painting of a man dressed very similarly to the Lone Ranger; the radio series had expressly indicated the presence of such a portrait there). During World War II, the radio show's title was used as a codename for SIGSALY, secret encryption equipment used in the war. "The Green Hornet" also became a popular nickname for General George S. Patton, due to the unique and attention-getting uniform that he proposed for tank crews, which featured a gold-painted football helmet. Supposedly, while Patton was testing it after development (which he funded out of his own pocket), one Army trooper said "Look! It's the Green Hornet!" and the name followed Patton for years. Our Hero needs nothing as the inept Seth Rogen to be part of this. All Hornet fan clubs are planning a boycott. Why states the fact a comic as Keaton pulled off the Batman with Tim Burton for one simple reason. He is a REAL actor. Somehting Rogen is no where close and will never be. The Hornet Nation is alive and well as posted above. We will have nothing to do with this as long as Seth Rogen is involved.
  • Doc Savage
    I must agree with much that has been said. Rogen has no class and SONY should have realized that this is a mistake to have him involved with something so many have wanted to have come to reality. One could only hope that with the flop of "Observe" this weekend, Sony will pull out leaving Rogen with out a studio to deface the Green Hornet. This is a bad idea.
  • truth
    "Impress us Seth! Don’t rip us off!" from Why 1) He cannot impress "us" He only impresses immature, young, and ignorant film goers with his blatant lack of talent and class-less crude re-cycled antics. 2) And he continually rips the public off with his dribble. With the exception of the weak minded 14 year olds who think he is a comdey God. Rogen will destroy this and I am in agreement to contact Sony and/or organize groups to keep this from being made. Seth Rogen is the biggest hack in the business. Stop this now!
  • Meg-gun
    # 3 said: 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. I was in such hope that Chow was so discusted with Rogen's treatment of the sacred Green Hornet that he wanted nothing to do with it. Is it true he is still going to play Kato?
  • SS
    It is with some irony.. that what Nolan has done to Batman is actually similar in terms of tone difference to what Batman was in the 1960's compared to Green Hornet in 1960's "A shadowy figure misunderstood by the law and treated as an outcast." That kind of "dark with green highlights" was probably what the "Hornet Nation" wanted. It can STILL happen. Who knows if Seth Rogen is really planning a break-away from comedy with this one? But I can understand the fears as it seems nothing from the Hornet fan Wishlist has made it in this film. For example, I'm sure a lot of them wanted Michael Mann to direct and develop Green Hornet.
  • Octoberist
    I really think it's easy for people online to relentlessly bash Seth. Let's face it: The Green Hornet probably has a smaller fanbase than The Phantom, and the Phantom is small enough already (well in the States). Seth is talented and I wish him the best. Gondry can only make this movie better. Instead of insisting on failure, maybe some people should wish them luck instead.
  • Aaron
    @ Octoberist: You can wish in one hand and crap in the other, and tell me which one fills faster. This movie is gonna be garbage. It's sad really. It's even sadder, considering what movies got passed up on to get to this.

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