Posted on Thursday, July 19th, 2007 by Peter Sciretta
Columbia Pictures has signed Knocked Up star Seth Rogen to write and probably star in the superhero adventures of The Green Hornet, according to the LA Times. Huh? What?
Neal H. Moritz is developing the project with Rogen via the producer’s Original Film company. Moritz has been chasing the rights for years having been a big fan of the ’60s television series. He declined to comment on Rogen’s involvement. Rogen’s deal was confirmed to the Los Angeles Times by a number of sources both inside and outside the studio, who are involved with the film. Sony is said to be eyeing a 2009 release.
I’ve been one of Seth Rogen’s biggest supporters since the cult hit television series Freaks and Geeks. I loved Knocked Up, and I think Rogen is the next comedy star in Hollywood. But The Green Hornet? This sounds like Evan Almighty all over again. Seth, you’re hot in Hollywood right now – don’t blow it!
The crime-fighting character was created by Fran Striker and George Trendle, who also created The Lone Ranger, for a radio serial that launched in 1936 on WXYZ Detriot. The series detailed the adventures of millionaire publisher Britt Reid, a debonair newspaper publisher by day, crime-fighting masked hero at night, along with his sidekick, Kato. The series has had several incarnations, including film series, a live-action 1960’s TV series that starred Van Williams and introduced Bruce Lee to U.S. audiences, and a comic book series
Movie studios have been trying to turn The Green Hornet into a feature film for years now. In the 1990s, George Clooney and Jason Scott Lee were supposedly lined up to play the leads. In the late 90s, Music video director Michel Gondry (Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind) worked with RoboCop screenwriter Edward Neumeier on a possible adaptation. In the Summer of 2004, Miramax purchased the rights for a writing/directing vehicle for Clerks director Kevin Smith. Smith later decided that he didn’t want to be responsible for an effects and action laden movie, and the film went into turnaround. And now, Fast and Furious: Tokyo Drift producer Neal H. Moritz obtained the film rights and optioned them to Sony.
I believe, one of the many reasons a feature film adaptation has never gotten off the ground is that contemporary audiences aren’t interested in this old character. He’s not much of a recognized name outside of the superhero world. In a previous article I theorized that “this could possibly be a good thing, allowing the screenwriters to ahve more wiggle room (usually comic book cannon prevents writers from straying far from the character’s roots). But on the other hand, look how that turned out for Catwoman.”