Posted on Wednesday, July 21st, 2010 by Russ Fischer
When Michel Gondry was hired to direct Seth Rogen and Jay Chou in The Green Hornet (based on Rogen and Evan Goldberg‘s script) it seemed like a weird move. No matter that Gondry had once been part of a previous Green Hornet development team that fell apart. He just doesn’t seem like the superhero/action movie sort of guy. Even if the take is not quite standard.
Or, to be pointed: how will Gondry handle the action? The film’s full trailer shows off some of his approach, especially in the stylized shots of Jay Chou fighting as Kato. Gondry has recently described his ideas for shooting action, and they sound as if he’s trying to play with the action in slightly different ways than usual.
JoBlo talked to Michel Gondry, and the director says he tried to make the film’s action scenes “hyper but not pretentious,” to counter the “super-posed” attitude of so many superhero films. (For what it’s worth, he also says Chou was determined not to emulate Bruce Lee, who played Kato in the Green Hornet TV series.)
As part of that, there are scenes in a sort of split-screen presentation, with one side running quickly and the other slow. When Gondry describes what he’s done, it sounds fairly different. But having seen the trailer, I wonder if he’s just come up with a complicated way to describe something familiar.
Well I was trying to find a way to enhance the fight and use a technique that has not been used before. So basically we shoot at a higher rate. We shoot with one camera and then we separate and sometimes one guy is going faster and the other guys going slower and then the guy who gets slower gets faster, etc. It’s sort of like you buy a time from the future and then you have to reimburse it. So what it does is it really makes the transfer of energy when somebody hits somebody else so the guy who hits the next guy goes very fast and then the guy when he receives the hit he goes faster. It’s like if I hit you.. bam! First you’re slow and I’m fast and then when I hit you I become slow and you become fast so I can give you my energy. I can transfer like electricity in some ways. And all that with the camera moving, which makes it quite hard to shoot but it is pretty spectacular… [This will be seen] when Kato fights mostly. There is two, three sequence where you see that.
I’ve cut out a little possible spoiler comment from Gondry at the end of that comment, but you can check JoBlo to read it if you want the info.
Kato isn’t the only one who gets his own unique moments that kind of dig into the character’s head. There’s a sequence for Britt Reid (Rogen) that Gondry says stands as one of the weirder ideas with which he was allowed to experiment.
There is a sequence where Britt is trying to put all the pieces of the puzzle together to understand the situation and we shot it in away that was really funny and absurd. But you have the physical representation of his brain in action and you end up with the most absurd tableau, where his father is involved, how his father was killed and it is pretty surrealist and major. When we shot it everyone was like, oh that is my favorite shot. Of course if I had come to the first meeting I had and told them I was going to do this they would have never hired me but now that I’m here I can push for some of the things that are more exciting.