There are two things Hollywood is doing a whole lot of right now; reboots and comic book movies. The Accountant director Gavin O'Connor has just signed on for his next project, which is going to be both. News broke today that he will be helming a reboot of The Green Hornet for Paramount, which will be nothing like the 2011 Seth Rogen version.
Deadline is reporting that Gavin O'Connor is set to direct the movie after the rights were acquired by Paramount and Chernin Entertainment. As it turns out, this is not just a filmmaker jumping on the comic book movie bandwagon, because according to the director himself, this has been a lifelong dream and a serious passion project. Here is some of what he had to say while speaking to Deadline about his upcoming reboot of The Green Hornet.
"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."
There is a vast legacy extending all the way back to the 30s with The Green Hornet, but much of the public perception has been shaped by the 60s TV show and the 2011 movie, which was a big misfire. Both versions were somewhat campy and don't speak to what Gavin O'Conner's vision for this new movie seems to be. According to the report, this new take will totally reinvent the image of the lead character Britt Reid, making him edgy and giving the movie a gritty feel with franchise potential. Gavin O'Connor had quite a bit more to say about it, revealing that this has been a 20-year process for him.
"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."
After the 2011 version of The Green Hornet really failed to connect with audiences in a meaningful way, this is definitely not a reboot that anyone seems to be clamoring for. With that said, it is hard to fake the kind of passion that Gavin O'Connor is putting forth in these statements and that kind of passion helps make these kinds of movies great. His resume also speaks to the sensibilities he wants to bring to the franchise. Outside of his latest effort The Accountant, he also has movies like Warrior as well as Pride and Glory under his belt. What's more is that he already seems to have a great idea of what he wants this movie to be in terms of story. Here is how he explains what he feels The Green Hornet will be about and how Britt Reid will be portrayed.
"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,"
Seth Rogen's version of The Green Hornet brought in $227 million worldwide, but had a $120 million production budget, so Sony didn't see a reason to move ahead with a sequel. The rights eventually lapsed, which is what is allowing Gavin O'Connor to take a stab at it for Paramount. Hopefully, his passion can come through in the actual movie. No word yet on an anticipated release or casting information for The Green Hornet reboot, but we will be sure to keep you up to date as more information becomes available.