Danny Elfman Off 'Green Hornet' Score, James Newton Howard Taking Over

UPDATE: We have now confirmed that James Newton Howard is in fact taking over for Elfman. Original article follows.

Add another item to the ever-growing list of setbacks plaguing The Green Hornet. The film has been having problems since day one, and between the tacked-on 3D post-conversion and the delayed January (aka "dump month") release date, it appears that not even the addition of director Michel Gondry (following Stephen Chow's departure) may have been enough to salvage the project from its production woes.

The bright side here is that this particular setback may inadvertently work to the film's advantage. Danny Elfman was originally set to work the score for The Green Hornet, but now he's out, and James Newton Howard is in talks to take over as composer. Learn more after the break.

The report comes from The Playlist, with the reason for Elfman's departure being scheduling conflicts due to his numerous other projects—he has Gus Van Sant's Restless up next, and Paul Haggis' The Next Three Days after that.

After seeing the second trailer for The Green Hornet at Comic-Con, my interest in the film immediately deflated, though I can see why this news would excite a lot of people. I don't think Danny Elfman's recent scores have been nearly as bad as people make them out to be—his contributions to Alice in Wonderland (sample) and The Wolfman (sample) were solid, and I love his 60-second addition to Kick-Ass—but he's definitely grown repetitive over the years, and none of his work has been remotely as memorable as anything he produced in the '80s and '90s.

James Newton Howard, meanwhile, has been delivering a consistently varied mix of exceptionally strong scores (Salt, Duplicity, Blood Diamond), even earning Oscar noms for his work on Michael Clayton (sample) and Defiance (sample), as well as aiding Hans Zimmer on the phenomenal scores for Batman Begins and The Dark Knight. His music was also one of the few redeeming things about The Last Airbender (sample), poorly utilized though it may have been. And as an extra bit of color-coded superhero synergy, he's also doing the score for The Green Lantern.

While I think Elfman is probably the more suitable/obvious choice for the attempted offbeat style of The Green Hornet, I look forward to finding out what James Newton Howard is able to bring to the material. That's assuming he does in fact come on board, of course.