Jan. 19, 2011 | 7:52 a.m.
The mask of the Green Hornet belongs to Seth Rogen these days — the film opened to a solid $40 million in domestic box office over the weekend — but the role has a history that dates back farther than the debut of Superman or Batman. The tales of Britt Reid, a newspaper publisher who fights crime as a masked vigilante with a fierce-fighting sidekick named Kato, go back to the mid-1930s, and here’s a look at four other actors who brought the Hornet to life. Al Hodge: “The Green Hornet” began on radio in 1936 with the sonorous-voiced Hodge playing the role of Reid until 1943. (Robert Hall took over from 1943 to ’46, and Jack McCarthy came on board in 1946 and stayed with the series until it ended in 1952.) Hodge’s talents went beyond microphone work — he also produced radio […]
Jan. 16, 2011 | 8:50 a.m.
Judging from the belly laughs at theaters, it’s one of the funniest scenes in the action-comedy “The Green Hornet”: Newly empowered as masked crusaders, party-boy media scion Britt Reid (Seth Rogen) and his trusty manservant Kato (Taiwanese pop star and action-movie heartthrob Jay Chou) head out into Los Angeles to battle the bad guys. As their Chrysler Imperial lurches into traffic, Kato drops the needle on a turntable in the backseat. And Reid begins to rap along to Coolio’s R&B tinged 1995 criminal anthem “Gangsta’s Paradise.” With its maudlin take on urban nihilism and mellifluous hook (courtesy of the singer L.V.), the song assumes buffoonish overtones with its new context — a pump-up theme for superheroes on their work commute. “Hornet’s” distributor Columbia Pictures saw the song’s marketing potential, making it a cornerstone of one of its TV spots for the film. But to […]
Jan. 14, 2011 | 9:45 a.m.
Los Angeles Times film critic Kenneth Turan on “boring bromedy” with masked men … “The Green Hornet” may not be the most tedious superhero movie ever — the competition is admittedly tough — but it is certainly in the running. An anemic, 97-pound weakling of the action comedy persuasion, “Hornet” is a boring bromedy that features mumblecore heroics instead of the real thing. Though the Hornet’s been around since the 1930s in various incarnations, including a TV series that featured the one-of-a-kind Bruce Lee as his sidekick Kato, the Hornet’s technically not a superhero at all. Rather, like his animal kingdom cohort Batman, the Hornet fights crime from behind a mask with just his ordinary human powers, plus nifty inventions like a tricked-out Chrysler Imperial. Invention, however, is what’s lacking in this latest version. Neither director Michel Gondry nor star […]
Jan. 10, 2011 | 9:31 a.m.
Randy Lewis has been writing about rock and pop music for the Los Angeles Times since the 1980s, but he’s dropping by the Hero Complex to reconnect with a childhood hero — and that hero’s sweet ride. When I saw the first billboards go up for “The Green Hornet,” I’ll confess I got a little adrenaline rush — not so much at the prospect of whatever adventure lay in store for the Hornet, a.k.a. newspaper publisher Britt Reid, or even for his martial-arts-expert valet, Kato. No, my heart jumped when I caught that initial glimpse of the hero’s sweet ride, the Black Beauty. I was 13 when “The Green Hornet” TV series debuted in the wake of the surprise success of “Batman.” The voiced-over introduction — “Another challenge for the Green Hornet!” — that launched each episode as trumpeter Al […]
Dec. 31, 2010 | 12:49 p.m.
David Strick took his camera on the set of “The Green Hornet” and came back with a revealing photo collection that shows the toil and tedium that go into the creation of a modern box-office hero. — Geoff Boucher RECENT AND RELATED Rogen is a Marvel man: “I’ve kinda given up on DC” Rogen’s pipe dream: “Greener Hornet,” the pot sequel ZEITCHIK: Are movie fans ready for a heroic Rogen? “Green Hornet,” in search of Hollywood buzz Green movement: “Lantern” vs. “Hornet” 26 Black Beauty cars destroyed for “Green Hornet” Rogen’s survival tips for Comic-Con Gondry’s fav movies? “Robocop” and “Back to the Future”
Nov. 22, 2010 | 3:51 p.m.
Tiffany Hsu, over at Money & Company, has an update on the L.A. Auto Show with a casualty-for-art statistic that will make car-lovers cringe. The topic is “Green Hornet,” due in theaters in January, and here’s an excerpt… Most people would say that the upcoming “Green Hornet” movie is about the masked crime-fighting duo Britt Reid and Kato, played by Seth Rogen and Jay Chou. But the real superhero of the film, according to producer Neal Moritz, is the car. And what a car it is. Hood guns, bumper rockets, armed suicide doors, grill-mounted flamethrowers and attached missile systems are just the start. The vintage vehicle, based on a 1965 Chrysler Imperial, is longer than many SUVs and weighs about as much, according to picture car coordinator Dennis McCarthy. Millions of dollars of the film’s budget went to the so-called Black […]
July 29, 2010 | 12:07 p.m.
“The Green Hornet” is not a drug comedy, but star and co-writer Seth Rogen knows he will have to remind people of that again and again between now and the film’s January release. “It might be the only movie we have without any explicit pot references,” Rogen said, referring to himself and writing partner Evan Goldberg, a tandem that has given the world the bong-hit cinema of “Superbad“ and “The Pineapple Express.” This film’s emerald title led to a lot of hemp wisecracks from the cast and crew. “Yes, there were a lot of jokes flying around the set about the name of the movie — jokes that the studio begs me not to make. But I will.” Rogen, with a wink, added that his masked man and Kato might go the Cheech and Chong route for “Green Hornet 2.” “If they let […]
July 23, 2010 | 10:17 p.m.
Later Friday, Michel Gondry, the French director of “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,” will visit the Hall H stage at Comic-Con International to promote “The Green Hornet,” a masked-man action-comedy starring Seth Rogen. It turns out that — like Christopher Nolan and Kenneth Branagh — Gondry may have some art-house resume lines, but his still-valued, formative influences were a more populist flavor of popcorn. “My love of movies is in making movies in America with a [studio] system. My archetype of a great movie is ‘RoboCop’ and ‘Back to the Future.’ Those are maybe my two favorites. ‘RoboCop’ definitely is a comic book and ‘Back to the Future’ is not but the approach is quite close to this universe in ‘Green Hornet.’ It’s not that far off. There is a spirit that I can understand.” I asked Gondry if the deeper complexity and growing ambition of superhero scripts explained […]
July 23, 2010 | 3:03 p.m.
Here’s a longer version of my Calendar cover story from today’s Los Angeles Times… It’s not easy being a hard-luck hero. Just ask Seth Rogen who, for the better part of four years, has been trying to get “The Green Hornet” feature film off the ground despite changes to the script, the tone, the director and, well, pretty much everything except the hero’s cool customized car. The comedy-action movie, finally, has a solid release date set for January and Rogen, who stars in the title role and co-wrote the script, will bring the film to Comic-Con International in San Diego Friday to begin a public campaign to take the film’s street credibility from zero level to hero level. You’ll have to forgive the 28-year-old Vancouver native if he moans about all the other superhero properties that fly much faster and far […]
April 26, 2010 | 6:00 p.m.
Is Hollywood out of its depth with this mad race toward 3-D? The bandwagon is rolling fast and there appears to be no handbrake; the “Sherlock Holmes” sequel may be among the next passengers, according to an exclusive report by Steven Zeitchik at 24 Frames, our sister blog. Here’s an excerpt: With M. Night Shyamalan’s “The Last Airbender” and Michel Gondry’s “The Green Hornet” each now getting a type of conversion treatment — and seemingly every other upcoming film engaged in a 3-D discussion of some kind — the English detectives may not be far behind. The sequel to the Guy Ritchie/Robert Downey/Jude Law holiday hit “Holmes” — which continues to tear it up on DVD — is moving closer to the development finish line. And as it does, the conversations about shooting it in 3-D are heating up. We caught […]