What a strange and tumultuous journey it’s been for Seth Rogen’s The Green Hornet. First, Asian kung fu master Stephen Chow was tapped to direct, but then discouragingly stepped out of the director’s chair due to creative differences. Then it was reported that the project might not happen at all, only for Seth Rogen to chime in saying that if a director could be found, the project would still move forward. Now, according to The Hollywood Reporter and Variety, that director has been found: Michel Gondry (They also report that at this point, Chow is still expected to play Kato).
Gondry is one of my favorite directors of all time, despite the fact that I was hugely disappointed by Be Kind, Rewind last year. However, this choice strikes me as bizarre at best. Hornet is positioned to be a comedic actioner, and while Gondry undoubtedly has the skill to branch out in the action department, there’s nothing in his filmography that screams “mainstream friendly.” Gondry creates fantastical worlds that are visually interesting, and he constantly forces the viewer to wrap her head around them. While I’m mostly glad that this project will be moving forward as planned (and definitely glad to see Gondry get more work), count me as skeptical that this collaboration will produce the results that both the producer and director are looking for.
David Chen can be reached at davechensemail(AT)gmail(DOT)com.
Update: A number of people in the comments have mentioned Gondry’s ill-fated attempt to do a version of The Green Hornet in the 1990s with Robocop/Starship Troopers screenwriter Edward Neumeier. Gondry worked on the project for almost two years, and got very far along in the design stage before the project was ultimately shelved. For more details about this, check out this interview with Gondry at The Guardian, or this New York Times profile.