Reached by phone on the set of the Judd Apatow-directed dramedy “Funny People” today, Seth Rogen sounded pretty much exactly like the potty-mouthed, pop culture-spouting slacker he plays on film: dropping f-bombs, talking pornography and “Star Wars” in equal measure and admitting his willingness to do full-frontal nudity in Kevin Smith’s latest movie, “Zack and Miri Make a Porno.” (Banish the image from your mind. Smith instructed Rogen to keep the clothes on for his sex scene with Elizabeth Banks.)
But the “Pineapple Express” star/co-writer grew uncharacteristically serious — reverent even — when conversation turned to his much-discussed big-screen adaptation of “The Green Hornet.”
Pride point No. 1 was that Stephen Chow, the multi-hyphenate Hong Kong auteur behind such slapstick chop-socky flicks as “Kung Fu Hustle” and “Shaolin Soccer,” had been hired to co-star and direct. “I can’t believe that we got him,” Rogen gushed. “Stephen Chow is one of my favorite directors of all time. The fact that he wants to come to America to make this movie with us is incredible.”
In the film, Rogen will star as newspaper-publisher-turned-vigilante Britt Reid (with Chow as his karate kicking manservant Kato). And both of them have been busy fine tuning the script with Rogen’s “Pineapple Express” co-writer Evan Goldberg.
“A version of the script is finished,” said Rogen. “We’re rewriting it right now with a lot of Stephen’s notes and ideas. We wanted a director to come on and bring his own sensibilities to it.”
In particular, Chow weighed in on establishing the Hornet and Kato’s “origins” –- a key reversal of Rogen’s earlier assertions that the film would not delve into the masked heroes’ back story, which infuriated some Hornet afficionados.
“He had a lot of great ideas about how they could meet, ideas about how their history could have developed,” Rogen said. “And I don’t want to give too much away, but he had a lot of very influential ideas about how we would develop the emotions of the character. Which for us is very important.”
To hear what Rogen had to say on the unexpected cinema linkage between “Star Wars” and oral sex, check back here next Thursday for a longer piece I’m writing on the increasingly svelte Rogen.
— Chris Lee
Kevin Smith and the skinnier Seth Rogen on Saturday night at the Spike TV Scream 2008 Awards. Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images
Van Williams and Bruce Lee in “The Green Hornet” television series in the mid-1960s. Photo from the Los Angeles Times archives.