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Gavin O’Connor is directing a new Green Hornet movie

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The Green Hornet was created by George W. Trendle and Fran Striker, with input from radio director James Jewell, in 1936. Since his radio debut in the 1930s, the character has appeared in numerous serialized dramas in a wide variety of media. The character appeared in film serials in the 1940s, a network television program in the 1960s -which starred Van Williams as both the Green Hornet and Britt Reid, and Bruce Lee as Kato – multiple comic book series from the 1940s on, and a feature film in January 2011.

That 2011 film starred Seth Rogen as the Brit Reid and was a more comedic take on the character.

In most versions the Green Hornet is the alter ego of Britt Reid, wealthy young publisher of the Daily Sentinel newspaper by day. But by night Reid dons the long green overcoat, green fedora hat and green mask of the mysterious “Green Hornet” to fight crime as a vigilante. Reid is accompanied by his loyal and similarly masked partner and confidant, Kato, who drives their technologically advanced car, the “Black Beauty”. Though both the police and the general public believe the Hornet to be a criminal, Reid uses that perception to help him infiltrate the underworld, leaving behind for the police the criminals and any incriminating evidence he has found.

Paramount Pictures and Chernin Entertainment have acquired rights to The Green Hornet and have got Gavin O’Connor (Warrior, The Accountant, Pride and Glory) to direct a new film. According to Deadline, the plan is to overhaul the image of Britt Reid into an edgy protagonist capable of being the catalyst for a new franchise.

Here is what O’Connor had to say about the project.

I’ve been wanting to make this movie — and create this franchise — since I’ve wanted to make movies. As a kid, when most of my friends were into Superman and Batman, there was only one superhero who held my interest — The Green Hornet. I always thought he was the baddest badass because he had no superpowers. The Green Hornet was a human superhero. And he didn’t wear a clown costume. And he was a criminal — in the eyes of the law — and in the eyes of the criminal world. So all this felt real to me. Imagine climbing to the top of the Himalayas, or Mount Everest, or K2 over and over again and no one ever knew? You can never tell anybody. That’s the life of Britt and Kato. What they do, they can never say. They don’t take credit for anything.

For almost 20 years now I’ve been tracking the rights, watching from the sidelines as they were optioned by one studio or another. When I discovered the rights were available again, I tracked them down, partnered with Peter Chernin and we set the movie up at Paramount. With the rights now in our loving hands, I’m beyond excited to bring The Green Hornet into the 21st century in a meaningful and relevant way; modernizing it and making it accessible to a whole new generation. My intention is to bring a gravitas to The Green Hornet that wipes away the camp and kitsch of the previous iteration. I want to re-mythologize The Green Hornet in a contemporary context, with an emphasis on story and character, while at the same time, incorporating themes that speak to my heart. The comic book movie is the genre of our time. How do we look at it differently? How do we create a distinctive film experience that tells itself differently than other comic book movies? How do we land comfortably at the divide between art and industry? How do we go deeper, prompt more emotion? How do we put a beating heart into the character that was never done before? These are my concerns…these are my desires, my intentions, my fears, my goals.

I like the sound of that and, as it worked for Batman, it could work for The Green Hornet. There is a lot of depth they can use with a hero who pretends to be a criminal.

O’Connor seems to have put a lot of thought in to it all.

The Green Hornet is ultimately a film about self-discovery. When we meet Britt Reid he’s lost faith in the system. Lost faith in service. In institutions. If that’s the way the world works, that’s what the world’s going to get. He’s a man at war with himself. A secret war of self that’s connected to the absence of his father. It’s the dragon that’s lived with him that he needs to slay. And the journey he goes on to become The Green Hornet is the dramatization of it, and becomes Britt’s true self. I think of this film as Batman upside down meets Bourne inside out by way of Chris Kyle [American Sniper]. He’s the anti-Bruce Wayne. His struggle: Is he a savior or a destroyer? Britt made money doing bad things, but moving forward he’s making no money doing good things. He must realize his destiny as a protector and force of justice by becoming the last thing he thought he’d ever become: his father’s son. Which makes him a modern Hamlet. By uncovering his past, and the truth of his father, Britt unlocks the future.

Britt’s shadow war background makes him a natural at undercover work. This is connected to his military backstory, which is more CIA Special Activities Division than SEAL Team 6. He’s cross-trained in intelligence work and kinetic operations. A hunter at the top of the Special Operations food chain, working so far outside the system he had to think twice to remember his real name. We will put a vigilante engine under the hood of his character.

Now who would you like to see play Britt Reid and Kato? Will they stick with the original set up for the characters or will they change those kind of things – will Kato be a woman now?

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Art by Alex Ross.

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