Gondry And His Green Hornet
Words: Mark 'Lenny' Linehan
The Green Hornet nearly never took off. Stung by hardcore fans and swatted about between various writers and directors for the past two decades, it’s a feat of superhero proportions this version even made it to the big screen.
Starting as a radio drama serial back in the 1930s and then morphing into a series of movie-theatre shorts and comic books, it was the TV show featuring Bruce Lee as Kato that broadened the appeal to a worldwide audience. However, the Hornet never properly flew the TV nest and it’s taken over seventy years to reach its most recent incarnation as a $130m feature film. Batman, Superman, Spiderman, The Incredible Hulk and many other superheroes have all manifested in the various embodiments of actors and directors, but the man in green never got to tip his fedora on celluloid. The Green Hornet was unusual as a hero because he displayed himself as a criminal in order to infiltrate the underworld. This kind of ambiguity was never going to be easy for Hollywood (although Nolan did it with The Dark Knight) and he was passed around like a dirty nappy.
Back in the early nineties George Clooney suggested an interest with Jason Scott Lee (perhaps appropriate as he played Bruce Lee in his life story). This fell through and Jet Li was proposed as Kato. He backed away and when Miramax obtained the rights they employed Kevin Smith to write and direct.
Rolling up the script and swatting away the fanboy hopes of a hip smut-drizzled feature he pulled out and wrote a comic book instead. (I hope you can follow this because I am getting a buzzing in my head.) At this stage, the movie was trapped and demented until Stephen Chow (Kung-Fu Hustle) took the reins and freed it from behind the Hollywood curtain only to open the window and let it fly. Dazed, beaten, and disorientated it is now nearly two decades down the line that the man originally invited by Clooney to direct has put the sting back in the tale.
However, it’s not been plain sailing for Michel Gondry. The music video master and man behind Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind never got final cut as director and his star Rogen revealed to the LA Times that himself and co-writer Evan Goldberg often made their own re-edits because of a comedy "language barrier." He explained, "We have a very specific joke style based on awed, semantical references," said Rogen. "There were times when Gondry didn't understand the jokes we were going for. We had to ask him if we could go in the editing room and spend some time looking for jokes that he didn't recognize as jokes at all. He was cool with it. It made the movie funnier."
The French director has also been savaged by hardcore Hornets. The horny(?) fans have been deriding the movie for its casting (mainly Seth Rogen who also writes and produces) and the off-beat comic approach which makes light of the subject manner and is so tongue-in-cheek its choking. At the film’s presentation earlier last year at the San Diego Comic Con, Gondry and Rogen were drowned out by the sound of walkouts. This led the director to make a stand "I usually identify with the nerds," he told The Guardian, "but these ones just reinforce the social rules. Their values are fascistic. All those people marching around in capes and masks and boots. The superhero imagery is totally fascist!" His outburst continued, "When you step into this genre, they feel it belongs to them. They want you to conform, or they won't like you. They want the conventional. But it's fine. The movie's been doing very well, I think, whenever we've screened it to normal people."
And, it looks like the French Resistance will be having the last laugh. It is already poised to be the first major box office hit of 2011 and talk of a sequel already abounds.
Check out 'Lenny' on KC at Night every Thurs between 10pm-12am on Today FM.
Story by Sheena McGinley | 09:00 | Thursday 13th January 2011 | Movie
JayChou is the beast:PPosted 16:28 | Tue 18th Jan 2011
JayChou is Sexy:p love your vioce and singing<3[♥]Posted 16:28 | Tue 18th Jan 2011
Massive fan of Gondry and thought this was a very strange move, but actually found it great fun. A slacker hero movie why not? Gotta be a Rogen fan to enjoy it though it's his movie not Gondry's.Posted 20:13 | Thu 20th Jan 2011
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