Paramount wants to reboot the Green Hornet with a Dark Knight-style makeover with movie franchise potential, and the company has hired The Accountant and Warrior director Gavin O’Connor to undertake the task.
According to Deadline, O’Connor is expected to wipe away public preconceptions of the Green Hornet as a campy comedy superhero – an image he’s earned from the ’60s TV series (produced by the team behind the ’60s Batman series in the same style) and the quirky Seth Rogen Green Hornet film (2011) directed by Gallic king of weird Michel Gondry (which was actually a lot better than most people expected, but which definitely wasn’t The Dark Knight). Apparently JJ Abrams’s reboots of Trek and Star Wars will also provide inspiration.
“I’ve been wanting to make this movie — and create this franchise — since I’ve wanted to make movies,” O’Connor tells Deadline. “As a kid, when most of my friends were into Superman and Batman, there was only one superhero who held my interest — the Green Hornet. I always thought he was the baddest badass because he had no superpowers. The Green Hornet was a human superhero. And he didn’t wear a clown costume. And he was a criminal — in the eyes of the law — and in the eyes of the criminal world. So all this felt real to me. Imagine climbing to the top of the Himalayas, or Mount Everest, or K2 over and over again and no one ever knew? You can never tell anybody. That’s the life of Britt and Kato. What they do, they can never say. They don’t take credit for anything.”
The Green Hornet, aka Britt Reid, actually started life in a radio serial in 1936, rather than comics. By day Reid is a rich, respectable newspaper publisher, but at night he dresses up in a mask, fedora and green overcoat to become the crimefighter the Green Hornet, the twist being that the public actually think he’s a criminal. His sidekick and chauffeur is Kato, who drives him around town in a car known as the Black Beauty.
“The Green Hornet is ultimately a film about self-discovery,” says O’Connor about his take on the character. “When we meet Britt Reid he’s lost faith in the system. Lost faith in service. In institutions. If that’s the way the world works, that’s what the world’s going to get. He’s a man at war with himself. A secret war of self that’s connected to the absence of his father. It’s the dragon that’s lived with him that he needs to slay. And the journey he goes on to become the Green Hornet is the dramatisation of it, and becomes Britt’s true self.
“I think of this film as Batman upside down meets Bourne inside out by way of Chris Kyle [American Sniper]. He’s the anti-Bruce Wayne. His struggle: Is he a saviour or a destroyer? Britt made money doing bad things, but moving forward he’s making no money doing good things. He must realise his destiny as a protector and force of justice by becoming the last thing he thought he’d ever become: his father’s son. Which makes him a modern Hamlet. By uncovering his past, and the truth of his father, Britt unlocks the future.”