In the film, Britt Reid (Rogen) is the son of LA’s most prominent and respected media magnate and perfectly happy to maintain a directionless existence on the party scene – until his father (Tom Wilkinson) mysteriously dies, leaving Britt his vast media empire. Striking an unlikely friendship with one of his father’s more industrious and inventive employees, Kato (Jay Chou), they see their chance to do something meaningful for the first time in their lives: fight crime. To get close to the criminals, they come up with the perfect cover: they’ll pose as criminals themselves. Protecting the law by breaking it, Britt becomes the vigilante The Green Hornet as he and Kato hit the streets.
“As we started to develop the script, I couldn’t think of a better person to play the title role,” says producer Neal H. Moritz of the choice to cast Rogen as the Green Hornet. “To believe that Britt Reid becomes The Green Hornet, you have to believe the character he is at the beginning, and no one could play that better than Seth.”
“The whole story of the movie is that Britt is an irresponsible idiot who’s trying to get his life together to do something worthwhile,” says Rogen. “As an irresponsible idiot, I’m quite good.”
“Britt Reid is famous for being the son of someone who did something great, but he’s just a dude who parties,” Rogen describes his character. Rogen also wrote the screenplay with his partner, Evan Goldberg. “He’s never once done anything meaningful in his life. But when his father dies, he sees he has the opportunity to do something that gives his life purpose and direction – he decides he’s going to use his inheritance as a force for good.”
Asked how the project originated, Rogen explains, “Evan and I were looking for a new movie to write. And we had always been comic book fans, superhero fans. For a long time we had been trying to write a movie about a hero and his sidekick. But nothing was quite right for us until we looked at the Green Hornet. Here was this famous character with a real legacy, but still a property that would allow us to put our own interpretation into the characters. It was like this project was tailor made for what Evan and I wanted to do – we could explore the relationship between Britt and Kato around the framework of this kickass action-comedy. It was perfect.”
Perfect, Rogen says, because from their point of view, over time, the characters have become true equals. “Kato started out as a sidekick role, and like a lot of sidekicks, he was just a sidekick. But then came the TV show, with Bruce Lee as Kato. He became an icon, and because of that, there’s a great love out there for the sidekick as well as the Green Hornet himself. People who come to see the movie want to see what happens to Kato, not just ‘the hero’ the Green Hornet.”
“The Green Hornet” made his debut on January 31, 1936 on WXYZ Detroit, the creation of the station’s George W. Trendle, who also created the Lone Ranger (in fact, in mythology of the radio character, Britt Reid is the great-nephew of the Lone Ranger, John Reid). The series, which ran until 1952 on the Mutual and NBC Blue networks, followed the adventures of Britt Reid, a bored playboy whose life changes when he inherits his father’s crusading newspaper, The Daily Sentinel. He saves the life of Kato, a man with incredible technical and martial-arts skills. Kato becomes Britt’s closest ally and transforms Britt’s car into the Black Beauty, giving them an edge as they search for evidence to expose the city’s underworld in the newspaper. When Britt and Kato witness a brutal mob hit, Britt invents his secret identity.
Following its successful run on radio, the Green Hornet ran in several comic books. In 1966, the character made the jump to the small screen for one season on the ABC television network, starring Van Williams as the Green Hornet and catapulting Bruce Lee, who played Kato, to stardom.
Opening across the Philippines Jan. 19, “The Green Hornet” is distributed by Columbia Pictures, local office of Sony Pictures Releasing International.
Watch the trailer of “The Green Hornet” here: