We've seen the new trailer and 3D sneak preview for The Green Hornet, and we are digging how it balances comedy and action in an all-new kind of superhero movie. Plus exclusive thoughts from Seth Rogen and director Michel Gondry!
The Green Hornet panel at Comic-Con unveiled both an extended trailer and a scene that was far enough in the 3D conversion process to share. A lot of the trailer was the same sort of stuff we saw in the previous trailer, at least as far as the action was concerned. On the other hand, what it did show us was some new jokes that were actually really funny.
The highlight was a great exchange at The Daily Sentinel where Britt Reid tries to sell his skeptical staff on calling the new man of mystery "The Green Bee", even though everyone likes Kato's suggestion of the Green Hornet a lot more, and there were also some great bits around what Kato's memoir would be called ("Oil Changes and Cappuccinos" versus "Balls Deep in Shitkicking Dudes) and what Britt Reid looks for in women (which was balls - actually, we can pretty much guarantee you there will be more talk about balls in The Green Hornet than any other superhero movie, with the possible exception of Thor). Also, if nothing else, Christoph Waltz as the villain is going to be a ton of fun to watch.
With the trailer taking care of the laughs, the clip gave us a sense of the film's visuals. The 3D conversion does look sharp, and it really brings out the depth and scope of director Michel Gondry's visual imagination, which anyone who has seen Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind can tell you is already pretty damn amazing. We saw an example of "Kato Vision", in which we go inside Kato's mind and see how he plans out the best way to kick a ton of ass. It's not the newest idea necessarily, but the unique flair Gondy brings to the proceedings make it look nothing quite like any superhero movie we've seen before. There are still some warning signs - that January 2011 release date doesn't inspire confidence, although the panel explained that's simply how long it takes to do the 3D conversion right - but the movie looks better and better the more we see of it.
The panel then discussed some of the finer points of the film, making it clear throughout their reverence for the entire Green Hornet mythos that has come before. Seth Rogen noted that they wanted to explore the role of sidekicks and how unfair it is for Kato, the real heavyweight of the team, gets consigned to second banana status. One of the things they made a big point of keeping the same was the film's car, turning down tons of money from various car companies - much to the studio's chagrin - in order to use the original 1965 Chrysler.
Michel Gondry explained that he and Seth Rogen had always wanted to do the movie in 3D, and it's something that has interested him since he was a kid. When we talked to him last night, Gondry told us that the key to the Green Hornet character is his relatability, the fact that he's not a god. Even Batman, Gondry explained, has motivations that are so removed from what most people can understand, whereas Britt Reid is a very human character with understandable flaws and weaknesses. He also explained that action movies are like geometry, and it's just a question of fitting it all together so that it's "contiguous" and makes sense visually. Perhaps underscoring the challenge of this particular film, he said the aesthetic of The Green Hornet is like a Rubik's Cube.
When we talked with Seth Rogen yesterday, he told us a lot about the film's action and what he thinks audiences will respond to with the film:
Is there one moment or scene in Green Hornet that everyone will be talking about?
Some of the stuff that Gondry's doing with Kato's fighting is really original. The stuff that's in 3D will really add to the movie, but I honestly hope it's the character moments that people walk away with. Take Inception for instance, the scene people are talking about is the part in which Joseph Gordon-Levitt kisses Ellen Page. It's the little character moments that are far more resonant than these giant action sequences. I hope audiences walk away with the desire to see more of the relationship between Britt Reid, Kato, and Lenore Case.
The Green Hornet is a hero with a long history – you have the old radio serials, the TV show. How was it writing a film about a hero with such a rich history that people may not necessarily be aware of?
As a writer it was really down to me, as so many superheroes are based on The Green Hornet. It was the first superhero to have anything to do with a newspaper, it was the first superhero to have these technologically advanced cars. The fact that all these movies have come out since the creation of the Green Hornet has been a challenge. How do we get these plot points – that are now quintessential — to feel new and original? For example, how will we get the newspaper to play a role that's not the same role in Spider-Man? How will his dead father play a different role than in Batman? How will his car be different from James Bond?
We're seeing some fairly ridiculous stunts in this preview. Any dicey moments on set?
The car in the elevator was a little scary – I was actually in that car a couple times! I'm constantly amazed at the size of the explosions they're comfortable putting actors near. The explosion in the scene where Christoph Waltz blows up the nightclub, he's really him walking away from it! (laughs) It's fucking unbelievable what they have us do!
Additional reporting by Cyriaque Lamar.