When I interviewed Seth Rogen last year for Observe and Report, our conversation turned to his upcoming involvement as star and co-writer of The Green Hornet, an upcoming movie (due in theaters -- in 3-D! -- Jan. 14, 2011) about the masked hero (supposedly a direct descendant of The Lone Ranger) who’s appeared in pulp novels, radio dramas, movie serials, comic books and a ’60s TV series. Trouble is, the guy hasn't appeared in much of anything lately. So I had to ask: Really, aren’t you worried that this character might be a little too obscure to attract moviegoers your age and younger?
"We’re very aware of that," Rogen replied. "And obviously, we’re not doing The Green Hornet because we’re big fans of it. We’re doing The Green Hornet because no one knows shit about him. So we can completely re-imagine him how we want. But because there’s enough built-in familiarity, the studio will give us enough money to make the kind of movie we want to make.
"Me and Evan Goldberg, my writing partner, we’re lifelong comic-book fans, lifelong superhero fans. And we think we can have an original take on this from a writing perspective. That’s really why we pursued it. Because we thought, “OK, if we do The Green Hornet, then we’ll get the kind of big movie we want to make. We can re-invent it to the point so that it can be exactly what we want to do – but no one will get pissed off, because no one really knows that much about it.”
Judging from the above trailer, I have to say: Maybe, just maybe, they really did strike the perfect balance of tongue-in-cheek humor and wall-to-wall action. Still, I'm a little worried that Columbia Pictures feared some people might have a hard time fully grasping the complex narrative stratagems suggested in that trailer, and felt the need Monday to post on-line a plot synopsis in comic-strip form. No, I'm not making that up. Alas.