Not every major comic book adaptation comes from Marvel or DC. Paramount Pictures is currently reading a superhero movie of its own, and the studio has nabbed a promising director to bring the project to life. Per Deadline, The Accountant and Warrior helmer Gavin O’Connor is attached to direct The Green Hornet for Paramount and Chernin Entertainment. The idea here is to put a serious twist on the crime fighter, with this new movie re-envisioning Britt Reid as “an edgy protagonist capable of being the catalyst for a new franchise.” Sean O’Keefe is penning the script and will work closely with O’Connor to develop the film, which O’Connor will also produce.
The Green Hornet made his debut as a radio serial and subsequently moved into the realm of comic books. The hero, Britt Reid, is a wealthy newspaper publisher who moonlights as a masked crime-fighting vigilante, working alongside his loyal partner and driver Kato. It’s basically Batman with a few minor tweaks, and while Green Hornet predates Batman by a couple of years (1936 vs. 1939), Batman clearly went more theatrical and, as a result, became more popular.
Speaking with Deadline, O’Connor teased his new vision for the Green Hornet property:
“My intention is to bring a gravitas to The Green Hornet that wipes away the camp and kitsch of the previous iteration. I want to re-mythologize The Green Hornet in a contemporary context, with an emphasis on story and character, while at the same time, incorporating themes that speak to my heart. The comic book movie is the genre of our time. How do we look at it differently? How do we create a distinctive film experience that tells itself differently than other comic book movies? How do we land comfortably at the divide between art and industry? How do we go deeper, prompt more emotion? How do we put a beating heart into the character that was never done before? These are my concerns…these are my desires, my intentions, my fears, my goals.”
After a number of Hollywood fits and starts, including a version that would have starred George Clooney, the superhero was famously adapted into a feature film in 2011 with Seth Rogen playing the titular vigilante. Michel Gondry directed the Universal Pictures film, which was envisioned as something of an action comedy, but Rogen and co-writer Evan Goldberg’s vision got muddied by the studio waters. It was precisely their experience on The Green Hornet that spurred Rogen and Goldberg to transition into making smaller-budgeted films that wouldn’t run the risk of studio interference, and thus This Is the End was born.
O’Connor describes his take on the Green Hornet hero as “Batman upside down meets Bourne inside out by way of [American Sniper hero] Chris Kyle,” adding that Britt is “the anti-Bruce Wayne” who’s struggling with uncovering (and accepting) the truth of his father. O’Connor aims to make Britt’s background a military one, with the character having served in something akin to the CIA Special Activities Division as opposed to SEAL Team 6.
It’s unclear how quickly this will all come together, but O’Connor has proven to be a reliable filmmaker who broke out with sports-centric dramas like Miracle, Pride and Glory, and Warrior. His most recent effort, the Ben Affleck-fronted thriller The Accountant, was a sizable box office hit for Warner Bros. and also garnered swell reviews, and one imagines he may want to cash in on his success by making his dream project come true. Given how refreshingly character-centric The Accountant was, and how interestingly O’Connor captured the action sequences, I’m all for seeing his take on the superhero genre.
What say you, readers? Are you up for another Green Hornet? Sound off in the comments below.