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GREEN HORNET

Casting The Film
"As we started to develop the script, I couldn't think of a better person to play the title role,” says Moritz of the choice to cast Rogen as the Green Hornet. "To believe that Britt Reid becomes The Green Hornet, you have to believe the character he is at the beginning, and no one could play that better than Seth.”

"The whole story of the movie is that Britt is an irresponsible idiot who's trying to get his life together to do something worthwhile,” says Rogen. "As an irresponsible idiot, I'm quite good.”

With the Green Hornet himself cast, the filmmakers turned to casting Kato. For that pivotal role, they turned to Asian pop star Jay Chou. "We truly did an around the world search for who could be Kato,” says Moritz.

Chou is one of Asia's biggest stars – the King of Asian Pop, according to Time Magazine. He's sold over 32 million albums and has had Asia's top-selling album for 10 years running. Some Americans may not know his name yet, but they will – to Asian-Americans, he is an enormous star, capable of selling out a 100,000-seat venue like the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

After an initial audition over Skype, the studio flew Chou in from Taiwan and were immediately struck. "There was something about the chemistry between Seth and Jay that reminded me of the classic buddy movie pairings,” says Moritz. "He has a star quality when he's on screen that makes you think, ‘I want to watch this guy.'”

"It was immediately clear that he was super cool,” says Rogen. "He's really charismatic, he's handsome, he has that cool hair. He'd never take orders from a guy like Britt Reid.” That made him perfect for the part.

"The Green Hornet is ‘the hero,' but it's Kato who does everything,” says Gondry. "That's a great twist on the hero-sidekick thing – the sidekick is the real hero, but he gets no credit.”

Chou feels that the team is "balanced,” he says. "They are from different backgrounds, but they are like brothers. Britt is the funny one, Kato is a little bit more serious.”

Of course, Chou was intrigued by playing a role that not only Bruce Lee made famous, but was the role that made Lee a star. In Lee's performance, Chou says, Lee "filled the little gaps with coolness, which was exactly what the character needed. His performance was about attitude.”

But Gondry says that while Chou may have been inspired to bring his own attitude to the role, Chou also makes the part his own. "I'm sure it was difficult for him; the legacy and aura of Bruce Lee is gigantic. So his approach was not to do any imitation of Bruce Lee at all. It became pretty clear that he was very, very cool in a very different way. He had Kato's confidence, every step of the way.”

"He completely pulled off everything that we thought he could do, but more so, because he was even cooler than we thought he could be,” says Rogen. "We're not cool, so we weren't prepared for how cool he could be.”

Lenore Case was another character that carried over into the film – in a slightly different incarnation. Cameron Diaz brought the updated character of Britt Reid's secretary to life. "I was in New York and got a call that Seth Rogen and Michel Gondry were doing The Green Hornet. Those two names separately were incredibly interesting to me. But hearing those names together? It made the project completely irresistible. When I thought of those two minds together, I didn't care what it was. I just had to be a part of it.”

In the 1930s, Lenore Case was a woman ahead of her times. In 2011, Lenore is a woman of her times. "She's smarter than both Britt and Kato put together,” laughs Diaz. "They have no idea what they're doing, whether it's running a newspaper or being vigilante crime-fighters. Lenore is passionate about journalism and she's obsessed with criminology and forensics.”

"The only thing Lenore doesn't know is that she's the brains of the Green Hornet operation,” says Moritz. "She's doing the research for Britt and Kato, feeding them information. She thinks it's because Britt needs to know all of this for the newspaper, but in reality they're using her research to go out there and be the Green Hornet and Kato.”

Moritz says, "We were so lucky to have Cameron play Lenore. She's obviously known for her comedy. It was easy for us to have scenes between the three of them that were not only endearing and emotional but really funny as well.”

To play the Green Hornet's nemesis, Chudnofsky, the filmmakers brought in Christoph Waltz, who had astonished everyone with his performance as Col. Hans Landa in Inglourious Basterds, a role which garnered the actor an Academy Award®. The film was released the same week that The Green Hornet started production, and the idea of getting Waltz brought a palpable excitement to the set.

According to Waltz, from Chudnofsky's point of view, Britt Reid's plan of posing as criminals to get close to the real bad guys totally works. "He's obsessed with the Green Hornet, because he sees the Green Hornet disturbing his business. He thinks it's a competing criminal. Britt's plan works perfectly.”

Waltz had a particularly challenging role, according to Rogen. "We told him, ‘You're going to need to scare people – you might kill someone – and you need to make them laugh at the same time,'” says Rogen. "And he totally did it. When I look at what he does in the movie, I can't think of anyone else who could be that scary and that funny.”

"When I talked to Neal about the part, he said, ‘This is a bad guy in his midlife crisis,'” says Waltz. "Now that I thought was really funny. He's a very sensitive and hurt human being, an intellectual who takes great pride in his appearance, very, very prudent, and has a certain way of dealing with people that involves a gun with two barrels.”

Adds Moritz, "I couldn't be more proud to have Christoph in this movie. He's a terrific actor and every time you see him on screen, he's bigger than life.”

Waltz says that the key to playing a villain is finding the elements that make him a human being. "Chudnofsky is just a guy trying to get along in the world,” he says. "It's always interesting to find the human qualities in any character. Why should a villain be an exception?”

The Academy Award® nominated actor Tom Wilkinson plays James Reid – a small but essential role, as Britt's relationship with his father is the inspiration for his transformation into The Green Hornet.

Having raised his son on his own while building his empire, James Reid was disappointed by his son's choices. Says Wilkinson, "He's very frustrated by the fact that having lavished everything on his son, Britt seems to be living a terribly desolate lifestyle of which his father wholly disapproves.”

Father-son relationships can be fraught and James and Britt Reid typically suffer from a lack of true communication. "However frustrated you are with your dopey kids,” explains Wilkinson, "you love them. You love them more than life itself.”

After his father's death and Britt's first outing as a vigilante crime-fighter, Britt sees a way his father's newspaper, The Daily Sentinel, can build The Green Hornet's notoriety. James Reid's longtime right-hand man, Mike Axford, played by Edward James Olmos, suddenly has to make room for the new kid in the boardroom – a kid he knows only as a party kid and slacker, a kid who knows nothing of news, newspapers or business. Axford doesn't know what to make of Britt and feels a strong responsibility to protect what he built with Britt's father.

For Olmos,

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