Before even seeing Seth Rogen on the New Mexico set of his new Warner Bros. movie Observe and Report (working title), we could hear his infectious laugh roar through an Albuquerque mall where the base camp was set up to shoot and we couldn’t wait to chat with him. Not only is Rogen one of the coolest guys to interview because of his raunchy sense of humor and his genuine interest in wanting to talk to press, but he gave us some insight as to what is going on with The Green Hornet, which he is co-writing and would star in as the masked crime fighter.
“‘Green Hornet’ is PG-13 and that’s an action movie. You can do anything violence wise,” he told us.
When asked about Stephen Chow being involved in the project, Rogen confirmed that his name has come up and said, “Until you get an official green light, the studio won’t spend any money and you can’t get an actor without any money. We would love to have him. The version of the script is ultimately written as a very intense action movie.”
“It’s a very intense action movie and the relationship between Green Hornet and Kato, a lot of comedy comes from that. At first actually, we weren’t even sure going in we could be more of a Jet Li type guy who maybe isn’t the funniest guy in the world, but he’s physically very impressive, or whether it would be more of a Stephen Chow type guy who can do martial arts, but clearly has a sense of humor. In the version that we’ve made it seems like a Stephen Chow type guy would be more suitable for the role. Again, until they officially greenlight it, it’s hard to make any of those decisions,” Rogen continued.
But that isn’t stopping the comedian from searching for someone to helm the comic book film. “We have been meeting with directors and stuff even though we haven’t been greenlit. We just kind of took it upon ourselves to kind of begin conservations with people. I’m really excited. It seems like it might really happen.”
While they have approached a few different directors, Rogen isn’t sure if he wants someone who has experience with big budget action films or more of an independent helmer. “We’ve been meeting with people in both worlds I would say and that ultimately is the real question. Do you get a guy who does action really well and who has done that before, or do you get a guy who has never done action before, but can bring something unique to that style movie? We don’t know yet. Until we get the script down to people, we’re kind of letting their response to what we write be the dictator. Someone will read it and be more psyched than the other guys and that will be the guys we go with.”
When asked who will get more action — Green Hornet or Kato — Rogen said, ” It’s them sharing the action, but I would say the story has something to do with them working out their relationship exactly. I would say in a way it’s your quintessential story about a hero and his sidekick. That’s what really initially drew us to it. We always thought that was kind of a funny dynamic and a funny relationship and no movies really did that except ‘Batman & Robin.’ No movies did that well.”
Rogen, who is writing the script with childhood friend Evan Goldberg, said the two had always been fascinated by superheroes and hope the project moves forward. “For years Evan and I have been toying with this notion of a movie that explores the hero / sidekick relationship and what is a hero without a sidekick and what is a sidekick without a hero. It’s actually a dynamic that applies to many real life situations–a lot of working dynamics, a lot of bosses and their underlinings. The one thing people say when you see the Green Hornet is Bruce Lee and Kato. He’s the only hero with a sidekick who is way more known than he is.”
What exactly is the hold up with the movie? Rogen explains it’s actually him. ” It’s more just us finishing up a newer draft of the script.”
And he admitted he doesn’t think about the budget when writing the script. ” We don’t think about the money at all. When we’re writing a script, the only way we can do it is write exactly what it is we want to see when we go to a movie. When we wrote ‘Pineapple Express,’ we didn’t know if it was going to be a $100 million movie or a $27 million movie. Ultimately, it was a $27 million movie, but that didn’t affect the way we wrote it. We did all the action we wanted in that. That being said, this seems like it would be more in the $70-100 [million] world.”
The high in-demand actor can’t say for sure if the movie will be approved by the studio, but he’s leaving his schedule open just in case. “If we make ‘The Green Hornet’ it would probably shoot sometime after [the Judd Apatow untitled project] so we’re kind of leaving that slot open.”
He joked, however, and said we could hear something soon and isn’t 100% sure it’s going to happen, but did say, “I have been getting good indicators lately and we’ve heard that they [Sony Pictures] really like the first draft that we’ve turned it,” which was about three weeks ago.
Rogen is known for being a comedic writer and actor, but he grew up watching action films which he says is one of his favorite genres. “My mother’s favorite movies were ‘Die Hard,’ ‘Total Recall,’ ‘Under Seige’ I remember seeing in the movie theater when I was way too young to see it. I remember seeing ‘Lethal Weapon 2’ in the movie theater, so those are my favorite types of movies, really, so it’s not hard at all for me to write action. It’s really fun for me…With ‘Green Hornet’ it’s our goal to show people action that they haven’t quite seen before.”