Deadline is reporting today that Paramount Pictures and Chernin Entertainment will be rebooting The Green Hornet and they’ve set The Accountant and Warrior director Gavin O’Connor to helm. The studio is looking to re-imagine main character Britt Reid as an “edgy protagonist capable of being the catalyst for a new franchise.”
“I’ve been wanting to make this movie— and create this franchise— since I’ve wanted to make movies,” O’Connor said. “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.”
Up until now, the public image of Green Hornet has always been as more of a campy hero, thanks to his 60s TV series and the Seth Rogen film from 2011, which was a bit of a disaster. As such, Paramount is hoping to “wipe the slate clean” with their reboot. From what we’re hearing, they’re aiming for a more mature and gritty take on the source material (no surprise there), much in the vein of what Christopher Nolan did with Batman.
Speaking to Deadline about landing the gig, O’Connor explained why he’s so excited to bring the character into the 21st century:
“For almost twenty years now I’ve been tracking the rights, watching from the sidelines as they were optioned by one studio or another,” he said. “When I discovered the rights were available again, I tracked them down, partnered with Peter Chernin and we set the movie up at Paramount. With the rights now in our loving hands, I’m beyond excited to bring The Green Hornet into the 21st century in a meaningful and relevant way; modernizing it and making it accessible to a whole new generation.
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.”
“The Green Hornet is ultimately a film about self-discovery,” O’Connor said. “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 dramatization of it, and becomes Britt’s true self.
Given the director’s work across films like Warrior and Pride and Glory, we’d say that he’s a safe pick to take The Green Hornet into a more edgy territory. The Accountant may have been a bit of a mess, but he’s a solid filmmaker with some strong credits to his name. And besides, we really can’t see this reboot turning out worse than Sony’s take on the character.
The Green Hornet may not have the instant name recognition that some of Marvel or DC’s heroes do, but it’s still an exciting property and one that can definitely flourish on the big screen with the right team behind it. As such, we’re intrigued to see how Paramount develops this new take and will definitely be keeping a careful eye on it as it heads towards production.