Five years after Seth Rogen and Columbia Pictures tried to resurrect the cult 1960s series, Paramount Pictures and Chernin Entertainment have joined forces to not only acquire the rights to The Green Hornet, but also to turn it into a new film the studios hope will wipe the franchise clean of its past attempts.
Despite its short run of 26 episodes, the show had maintained a strong fan following ever since, which led to Rogen’s attempt at a revival in 2011. The film was not liked by critics, but still managed to earn $229.2 million worldwide against a $120 million budget.
Paramount wants to take The Green Hornet in a completely different direction, starting with its director Gavin O’Connor. He made waves earlier this year with the Ben Affleck film The Accountant, which earned $128.8 million at the box office, once again despite mixed reviews. O’Connor, according to Deadline reporter Mike Fleming Jr., will work with Sean O’Keefe on the script.
O’Keefe’s work might be primarily in video games – like Lair and Pursuit Force nearly a decade ago – but his recent writing has been of a much different caliber. He wrote a remake of The Escapist set to star Liam Neeson.
O’Connor told Deadline he has been wanting to do a version of The Green Hornet since he realized he wanted to make movies.
“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.”
In fact, it’s not even a coincidence he’s attached right now. O’Connor said he’s been tracking the Green Hornet rights for nearly two decades, waiting for Sony’s Columbia Pictures to lose the rights, which happened after the studio opted not to make a sequel of Rogen’s outing.
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 behind 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.
Although the 1960s series was designed to be campy, it was actually following a format that had been popularized by the television version of Batman during the same time period. For his part, O’Connor wants to remove that camp, instead emphasizing on story and character.
Paramount and Chernin have not release a timeline for the film, but a script could be ready to go by mid-next year.
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