The stars of The Green Hornet sit down with Paul Byrne. And proceed to talk dirty. Very, very dirty.
First of all, let me say there’s a lot of laughter in this room. Most of it comes courtesy of Seth Rogen’s devilish chuckle, but Cameron Diaz – one of the true great modern cinema comediennes, in case you didn’t know – cackles up a storm too. As for the third member of this particular triple-act act in London’s Dorchester Hotel today, Jay Chou may have plenty of reasons to be cheerful – a megastar in Asia, now making his first big Hollywood movie – but the language barrier no doubt robs him of many gags in today’s laugh-in.
The reason for the get-together is The Green Hornet, the long, long, long-in-the-making big-budget, big-screen adaptation of the popular masked superhero first created back in the 1930s by George W. Trendle and Fran Striker. Striker had also created The Lone Ranger, and even worked The Green Hornet – aka newspaper mogul Britt Reid – into that masked crusader’s family tree, making him his great-nephew.
The similarities are striking, not only in the crimefighting, maskwearing stakes, but also in the creation of a minority sidekick – The Lone Ranger had Native American Tonto; The Green Hornet has his trusty Asian manservant, Kato. It was the relationship between superheroes and their sidekicks that fascinated Seth Rogen and his regular writing partner Evan Goldberg (The Pineapple Express, Superbad) when they sat down to script this long-gestating take on the superhero who would be known to most people through the 1960s US TV series that gave Bruce Lee his big American break, playing Kato.
Thankfully, the resulting film works surprisingly well, with Rogen and Goldberg’s humour the perfect foil to the traditional hi-tech crimefighting. Christoph Waltz has fun as the panto baddie suffering a mid-life-of-crime crisis, whilst Cameron Diaz does her fine Cameron Diaz thing as Reid’s new far-from-ditzy secretary, and director Michel Gondry (Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind, The Science Of Sleep) breezing merrily through his first real Hollywood blockbuster.
Interview by Paul Byrne The Green Hornet is at cinemas from Jan 14th