Green Hornet: Interview with Michel Gondry

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Michel Gondry is the director of "The Green Hornet," the feature adaptation of the popular comic book series. The film, which stars Seth Rogen and Cameron Diaz, is being released by Columbia Pictures on January 14.


Gondry says, “I’ve had the opportunity to do a movie in this genre before, but they always had a slick attitude – the one guy saving the world – and I don’t identify with that guy.  I like to have people portrayed on the screen that have flaws, a sense of humor, maybe a bit of a loser at times.  That’s what was appealing about this movie.”


His "shtick"


“There’s danger in having a ‘shtick,’” Gondry continues.  “Of course, there are sequences that will have my specific signature, but no one wants to repeat their past work.  I want to make movies that combine technical filmmaking with real acting. This is big action-comedy, and clearly there are a lot of effects, but because we captured so many of those effects in-camera.  The actors could act and be funny, and the result is a great performance.”




If Gondry brought his vision, and Rogen and Golberg brought the comedy and story sensibilities, it was Moritz who brought a deep experience with action films.  “Neal has an extremely detailed perception of what works and doesn’t work in terms of action on screen,” says Gondry.  “He really has a sense for it, how to frame a shot, how many frames to cut in the editing room.”  


“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.”


But Gondry says that while Jay Chou may have been inspired to bring his own attitude to the role, he 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.”


"Black Beauty" and "Kato-vision"


“We didn’t want it to be too futuristic,” says Gondry.  “There was very little CG that would work for the car.  We wanted it to feel real – a real car, with a real solid engine.”


Say Gondry.  “The fight is gritty and mean but funny at the same time.  It’s very well-orchestrated – we use everything in the room.  It flies in every direction but it’s still very realistic.  We wanted to maintain a good level of comedy during the action.  Even when everything is blowing up around them, it’s fun to watch.”