Also Talks Toning Down Britt Reid’s Dickishness & Squaring Off Against Online Fanboys
It turns out the already lengthy development history for “The Green Hornet” has another piece (and probably a few more) we didn’t know about. The film, which has been in the works for nearly two decades already saw directors Kevin Smith, Stephen Chow and Michel Gondry (who was linked to the project in its earliest days before being brought back on years and years later to deliver the film that’s currently in theaters) circle the director’s chair with a wealth of talent including George Clooney, Jake Gyllenhaal, Greg Kinnear and Mark Wahlberg all eying or offered the lead role (we won’t even in get into the various writers that tackled the script). But speaking to Film School Rejects, writer Evan Goldberg, who penned the script with Seth Rogen, reveals that “Lethal Weapon” writer and “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang” writer/director Shane Black was once considering the director’s chair and met with the duo to discuss their approach to the film, encouraging them to continue flipping superhero clichés on their head.
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“Yeah. That was super intentional. We started doing that with Britt and Kato. We met with Shane Black, who is one of our idols and at one point maybe he was going to direct the film, and he said what we were doing was great and that we needed to flip every possible element. He really encouraged us to flip everything, so it was all fresh and new,” Goldberg said. Certainly, the resulting film was more like a buddy flick than a superhero epic and it’s no wonder that Goldberg and Rogen met with Black, who has spent nearly his entire career perfecting those dynamics in action films, to direct the picture.
But that’s not the only interesting tidbit Goldberg had up his sleeve. The writer who is usually quite candid in interviews, doesn’t hold back here and reveals that while he generally avoids reading internet reaction and criticism, he couldn’t help but pick on one particular IMDB commenter. “I actually barely ever go on the internet. The only time I ever really do is to fuck with this dude on IMDB, srb-3. I cant get enough of fucking with this guy. He’s got a vendetta against Seth and ‘The Green Hornet.’ I just started emailing him directly saying, ‘It’s Evan Goldberg, really. I’m sitting here with Seth right now. We just wanted to let you know that you’re never going to stop us. We’re going to keep making movies. No matter how much shit you say on the internet, we’re just gonna keep coming. Enjoy ‘The Green Hornet’, dick’….I’ve only directly sent him three or four messages. I know other people, who are friends, that go on there to mess with him and to agitate him. He constantly talks about how Seth miscast himself, why did Seth hire Michel Gondry, and all this stuff. It’s like, Seth does not run the movie, dude. Neal Moritz is the producer. We didn’t just get to hire the director, and we had to run it through the studio and talk with dozens of people. We chose several actors for roles that the studio said “no” to. This guy just thinks Seth is the God of Hollywood and that he’s ruining his life. I just like to mess with that dude. He started it, though [Laughs].”
In our review of the film, one of the things that irked us was the film’s “restless misogyny” particularly toward Lenore played by Cameron Diaz. But to hear Goldberg tell it, what we saw on screen was actually a muted version of what they had before, and Britt Reid’s dickishness was far more pronounced in earlier incarnations of the film. “We did two different passes to fix his character up. We tried to make him less of a dick….He was too dicky in the first cut we had. We went in and ADR’D certain scenes, even when the camera is right on Seth’s face, to give him softer lines.” Goldberg adds, “Also, we had to be a little easier with Lenore and women in general, and that did not go well at all. We had to go through it and make him less sleazy and less of a dickhead.”
The interview as a whole is an interesting and gives an insight Goldberg and Rogen’s working process with Sony on the film. The production history was messy, and the final film a bit slight and fairly ordinary despite all the attempts to subvert convention. Regardless, the film opened at number one this past weekend and should fare well over the coming weeks with not much competition in its path.