In Michel Gondry’s exciting new 3D action comedy The Green Hornet, Britt Reid (Seth 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.
Seth Rogen, Jay Chou and Director Michel Gondry were in town to promote the release of The Green Hornet and POPCulture Online caught up with them at the Press Conference to find out more about this different kind of superhero.
According to Michel Gondry, this project was first proposed to be done in the late 1990s but it never got off, when Seth Rogen approached him with the idea again, the project came to life and after a number of changes in production personal, the movie has finally hit the big screen.
Q: Seth, you co-wrote the screenplay for this film, how was that like?
Seth Rogen: It was a different experience for me because there were so many different aspects to look at like negotiating with the film studios, deciding on how creative or how weird the approach was going to be. Over all the most interesting part about doing it was making the movie different as a superhero movie.
Q: What was it like working with Jay Chou?
Michel Gondry: It was awesome because he had very good dynamics with Seth, the both of them were comfortable with their dialogs and he is very good with being super cool.
Q: What special qualities do you have that sets you apart from other superhero actors and did you do any preparation work for the role?
Seth Rogen: Well I lost alot of weight as you can see, haha! No one really can vision a fat hero so we had to get the weight part out of the way so that we could focus on the character.
Most actors that are cast as heroes kinda already look like a hero. Take Christian Bale, he could probably beat the crap out of me anytime. Or even Tobey Mcguire who is kinda morally upright like Spiderman is.
We wanted to get rid of that type cast and put someone who is not a hero. I'm not physically or morally a hero type so i don't fall into that same mold.
Q: How did you decide on casting Jay Chou?
Seth Rogen: Well having a good co-star depends a lot on how well you both read lines together so we looked at alot of people and I read lines with Jay over skype which was kinda weird.
We thought it went well and decided to fly him down to LA where we could read the lines face to face. He was very confident and capable, plus I had no experience beating people up and looking cool. Haha!
Q: What's the difference between working in Hollywood and in Asia?
Jay Chou: In Hollywood not only is the film budget much bigger but it also takes alot longer to complete filming a movie. Working in Hollywood was like going on a long vacation because normally in Taiwan we finish filming in about a month whereas in Hollywood it takes about 3 to 4 months.
Q: How did you feel about playing Kato, a character made famous by legend Bruce Lee?
Jay Chou: There was definitely some pressure of being compared to Bruce Lee but I approached the role by making it my own Kato. I didn't want to feel like it was a role that Bruce Lee played previously.
Kato is not a superhero, he is a normal man with fighting skills. The director told me that he wanted the role to be involved in a love triangle with the Green Hornet and so the 2 actually fight over a girl. That also made my Kato different from the original.
Q: With most superhero movies taking a dark tone these days, how is The Green Hornet different and why did you choose not to take the same dark tone?
Seth Rogen: My writing partner Evan and I normally write for comedies. The approach was always going to be an action comedy much like films in the 80s like Lethal Weapon and Beverly Hills cop. We wanted to take all those elements and add them into a superhero movie.
We knew that if we could do this well then it would be a fun, original yet realistic comedy.
If this film was made years ago then it probably wouldn't be so well received but now that there are so many serious superhero movies being made, this one would stand out and hopefully work well.
Q: How was it like to film the fight scene with Jay?
Seth Rogen: I got my ass kicked pretty bad actually. Haha! We had to figure out a way not to make the fight scene uneven so my character was a cheap fighter that went for low blows.
In the end it was pretty fun and I'm sure that Kato held back in that fight.
Q: Which was the hardest scene to film?
Seth Rogen: I would say the industrial zone scene where we get chased by tractors. Those tractors were pretty hard to move around so we couldn't get them to do what we wanted.
It was hot and dusty and we were worried because it felt like we were never going to leave the industrial zone and just keep getting chased by tractors. Theres not CGI at all. it's all real and it's all complicated. Haha!
Q: Jay, as Kato you play a very supportive friend to The Green Hornet. Who is your Kato?
Jay Chou: I would say my mum because she has always been very supportive of the things I do and she's very important in my life and work.
The Green Hornet opens in cinemas 27 Jan and just because the 2 editors of this magazine are guys, we decided to leave you with a photo of the lovely host of the press conference.
Apparently Director Michel Gondry was busy drawing that picture of her during the Q & A session. Guess the French know how to impress women best.
POPCulture Online Feb 2011 All Rights Reserved