Stephen Chow, one of Asia's most popular box-office draws as the award-winning star and director of such films as Kung Fu Hustle
, and Shaolin Soccer
, will direct Seth Rogen and star opposite him as Kato in Columbia Pictures' The Green Hornet
, set for release June 25, 2010, it was announced today by Doug Belgrad and Matt Tolmach, presidents of Columbia Pictures. The screenplay is by Seth Rogen & Evan Goldberg, who will also executive produce. Neal H. Moritz is the producer through his Original Film production company.
In tapping Chow to helm The Green Hornet
, Sony Pictures Entertainment continues a long association with the star and director. Under its local language initiative, Sony co-produced and released Chow's Kung Fu Hustle
, which went on to gross over $100 million worldwide and received a Golden GlobeŽ nomination as well as six Hong Kong Film Awards and five Taiwan Golden Horse Awards. Sony also released CJ7
Commenting on the announcement, Tolmach said, "When Seth, Evan, and Neal said they wanted Stephen Chow to be part of 'The Green Hornet,' it was a fantasy. Now that it's happening, it's almost too good to be true. Stephen's been a very important part of the Sony family for many years, so it's truly serendipitous for us to be moving forward with him directing the movie and starring as Kato."
Chow added, "I'm excited to be taking on 'The Green Hornet' -- obviously, I've been a huge fan of the show since I was a kid. The idea of stepping into Bruce Lee's shoes as Kato is both humbling and thrilling, and to get the chance to direct the project as my American movie debut is simply a dream come true. I'm grateful to my friends at Sony, who have shown so much faith in me for so many years. I'm looking forward to working with Seth, Evan, Neal, and the team at Sony, and I'm eager to get started."
Moritz said, "'The Green Hornet' is a dream project and it's come together in a dream way. Seth will be fantastic in the lead role, and Stephen was the only name on the list for Kato. The material is a perfect match for his sensibilities -- Stephen in the director's chair is the best thing for the film."
Rogen said, "Stephen was always my and Evan's first choice for director and to play Kato. We just hope that he never finds out we're not the Wachowski Brothers."
Ori Marmur will serve as the Executive Producer of the film.
Chow previously told us
of his interest in the project. "When I saw the program, I thought it was a great role and thought it was outstanding, because I'm Chinese and it's Bruce Lee, but I'd be happy to play that role," he said.
Later, we asked
Seth Rogen about approaching Chow, who answered, "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."