These days it seems like every movie studio is looking to find their next franchise film series. Disney has Marvel, Star Wars, Pixar, and their live-action remakes of beloved animated films. Warner Bros. is not too far behind with the DC Extended Universe, the soon to launch Fantastic Beasts saga, Kong: Skull Island – and the sequels/spin-offs that spawns. Of course, Universal (Fast & Furious, Illumiation, etc.) and 20th Century Fox (X-Men) have their own lucrative franchises. But another major studio, Paramount, seems to be lagging just a bit behind.
In 2016 to date, Paramount Pictures only has one film, Star Trek Beyond, that has grossed over $100 million domestically. The stuido’s other franchise films, like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows and the Jack Reacher sequel, did not seem to click with audiences. The studio’s executives surely expect their luck to change in the next few years, as a whole new set of Transformers movies are released, the Mission: Impossible series is continued, and the next Cloverfield anthology film, God Particle, hits theaters. But now, the studio has secured the rights to another franchise property that has a history going back nearly ninety years (yea, nine-zero).
Deadline is reporting that Paramount has secured the film rights to The Green Hornet, and that The Accountant director, Gavin O’Connor, is set to direct the reboot. The Green Hornet, which was adapted into the 2011 Seth Rogen-starring film of the same name, originated with a 1930s radio series, and has since been adapted to film serials, a 1960s television series, comics, and the aforementioned Seth Rogen vehicle.
The report states that Paramount and O’Connor will look to turn Britt Reid (the civilian identity of The Green Hornet) into an “edgy protagonist” who can launch his own franchise. O’Connor sounds like the right man for the job, as he has been hoping to make this film for some time. As such, the director explained:
“I’ve been wanting to make this movie — and create this franchise — since I’ve 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. Imagine climbing to the top of the Himalayas, or Mount Everest, or K2 over and over again and no one ever knew? You can never tell anybody. That’s the life of Britt and Kato. What they do, they can never say. They don’t take credit for anything.”
O’Connor further explained that he already has a good idea what direction he wants to take the property, elaborating:
“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 beyond 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. My intention is to bring a gravitas to The Green Hornet that wipes away the camp and kitsch of the previous iteration. I want to re-mythologize The Green Hornet in a contemporary context, with an emphasis on story and character, while at the same time, incorporating themes that speak to my heart. The comic book movie is the genre of our time. How do we look at it differently? How do we create a distinctive film experience that tells itself differently than other comic book movies? How do we land comfortably at the divide between art and industry? How do we go deeper, prompt more emotion? How do we put a beating heart into the character that was never done before? These are my concerns…these are my desires, my intentions, my fears, my goals.”
The director is further excited by the oppornutity to adapt a modernized version of Britt Reid due to the character’s complex personality and backstory. As such, O’Connor believes that the Britt Reid character lends himself to a thought-provoking franchise film, stating:
“When we meet Britt Reid he’s lost faith in the system. Lost faith in service. In institutions. If that’s the way the world works, that’s what the world’s going to get. He’s a man at war with himself. A secret war of self that’s connected to the absence of his father. It’s the dragon that’s lived with him that he needs to slay. And the journey he goes on to become The Green Hornet is the dramatization of it, and becomes Britt’s true self. I think of this film as Batman upside down meets Bourne inside out by way of Chris Kyle [American Sniper]. He’s the anti-Bruce Wayne. His struggle: Is he a savior or a destroyer? Britt made money doing bad things, but moving forward he’s making no money doing good things. He must realize his destiny as a protector and force of justice by becoming the last thing he thought he’d ever become: his father’s son. Which makes him a modern Hamlet. By uncovering his past, and the truth of his father, Britt unlocks the future.”
Gavin O’Connor’s passion for the project is evident, and this could be the beginning of an epic film franchise, catapulting The Green Hornet’s popularity to the levels of other heroes who began over half a century ago. It certainly sounds like the director has a great idea where he wants to go with the property, and it is hard not to get excited about the prospects of a Batman/Jason Bourne/Chris Kyle hybrid-character.
While O’Connor’s most recent film, the Ben Affleck-starring The Accountant (which has elements of a superhero movie, itself), received mixed reviews for its mix of action and thought-provoking message, it was clear that the director knows his way around an action flick. The director’s particular brand and style could be something many current fans of the Green Hornet character can get behind.
Screen Rant will keep you updated with any and all news regarding The Green Hornet as it develops.