Nicolas Cage is in early negotiations with Columbia Pictures to play the gangster villain in The Green Hornet, according to Variety.

Cameron Diaz is in negotiations to play a reporter and love interest in the Michel Gondry-directed film starring Seth Rogen as the masked crime fighter.

The picture is moving full steam ahead for a fall start date, even as the studio looks to replace Stephen Chow, who was going to play sidekick Kato. Rogen and Evan Goldberg wrote the script and Neal Moritz is producing through his Original Films.

The Green Hornet is aiming for a July 9, 2010 release.