Cameron Diaz & Seth Rogen Dish Green Hornet
By: Lynn Barker
Another comic book superhero movie is hitting screens but, with funnyman Seth Rogen (of Superbad, and the voice of B.O.B. in Monsters vs. Aliens, Mantis in the Kung Fu Panda films and Morton in Horton Hears a Who etc.) writing the script, starring and executive producing, The Green Hornet isn’t your ordinary Batman-style comic book film. Seth brings the funny!
Rogen is joined in the action comedy by Cameron Diaz who brings the girlpower as hot assistant Lenore, the brains behind the Hornet’s adventures and by side-kick, amazing driver, brilliant inventor and martial arts master Kato, played by Asian actor and super popstar, the adorable Jay Chou.
Kidzworld sat down with the trio on the Sony Pictures movie lot in Los Angeles and got insider info… with pictures!!Check it out.
Kidzworld: Seth, The Green Hornet was on radio and in a 1960’s TV series. Did you go watch or listen to those before writing the script?
- Seth: We just start by researching and making lists of ideas of things we'd like to include in the movie. We tried to listen to almost all the radio serials. They're a little outdated. I guess back then just hearing footsteps for thirty seconds straight was really suspenseful and interesting. Like the creaking of a door opening was real cinema at that time, but it's a little hard to sit through hours of it for me. We included little tips of the hat to the previous [versions] of it.
Kidzworld: Cameron, what was it like working on this guy-heavy set and is it true that you are the best stunt driver but you didn't get to show it? [Seth laughs].
- Cameron: Well, I can only comment on one of those. It was awesome working with them. So much fun. I didn't realize that it was such a huge action movie because I came in the first and last week of shooting and in all of my bits, there was no action. So I went away to be in another movie…
- Seth: With a lot of action [probably Knight and Day].
- Cameron: With a lot of action, and I came back and when I saw what they'd done I was like, 'Wait a second. How did this happen? Why did I not know this?' Before we started also I went out and I took the Black Beauty car for a spin. So I should've put two and two together and realized.
- Seth: It's true, yeah. Well, I drove it, too and I don't drive it in the movie at all [Kato does].They just wanted us to have fun.
Kidzworld: The characters in the film seem to be into comic books or aware of them. Was that something you wanted to add?
- Seth: Yeah, we kind of wanted [to create] a world. The kid is a comic book superhero fan, obviously. To us the simple thought was, 'Who's the kind of guy who's likely to become a superhero? Probably someone who reads comic books and is a comic book fan or is at least aware of them.' So, we kind of wanted to dance on the line between being a comic book movie and commenting on a comic book movie.
Kidzworld: Seth, can you talk about the Chinese words written on the dashboard in the car?
- Seth: I left any and all foreign language work on this film up to other people. I did no research. I don't know what that stuff says. I trusted Jay. Jay was just like, 'I’ll just say something in another language.' I said, 'Okay. Just don't make it too dirty,' and that was pretty much it.
Kidzworld: And Jay, can you talk about doing the action scenes, whether you ever got hurt?
- Jay: I built the Black Beauty. I didn't get hurt in the fight scenes because I'm Kato [big grin].
- Seth: Kato doesn't get hurt.
- Jay: Also, I think if you see the Black Beauty it will make James Bond's cars look sissy. I like cars. I have many cars, but this car is the best.
Kidzworld: Do you want to keep it, Seth?
- Seth: I don't think that I can. It's a lot to insure in L.A.
- Cameron: Jay has a Batmobile!
Kidzworld: Cool! Jay, you're a big music and film star in Asia but relatively new to American cinema. What was your first thought after you auditioned via Skype?
- Chou: Very excited and a little bit nervous because I should [have been speaking] English. I'm training in English only one month before the movie.
- Seth:He’s amazing.
Kidzworld: Seth, although this movie is PG-13 and isn’t bloody, there is a pretty big body count of bad guys. Didn’t the original Hornet just gas people and not kill them?
- Seth: Well, yeah. We ran out of stunt guys to kill.
- Cameron: Use zombies!
Seth: [laughs] Yeah, we’d have to use zombies eventually. We thought, 'It's an action movie.' I'm a fan. I always thought that it was funny that on the old “A-Team” TV show how they would shoot four hundred people and none of them would die. I think if you're going to make an action movie you might as well just go for it. It's not explicit. It's not in any way meant to inspire people to do anything crazy. It's not supposed to instill any horrific images or anything like that. It's all for the point of fun.
We were fascinated how many people die in your average [film]. In Transformers,just Optimus Prime [the giant robot] getting thrown through one building would kill four thousand people and there's no mention of it at all. No one cares [but] we could never kill a dog. My girlfriend would never [put up with that]! I gassed a lot of people.
- Cameron: You don’t kill dogs or old people.
Kidzworld: As a comic book fan, Seth, was part of the appeal to 'The Green Hornet' that there isn't a lot of mythology to it? You could make up your own stuff?
- Seth: Yeah. I see a lot of these comic book movies that come out now and you almost feel like anyone could pick up the first few editions of the comic book and say, 'I want to shoot this,' and then six months later you have the origin story of most superheroes. That really didn't interest us in any way. [We kept] some of the iconic things people know about 'The Green Hornet'; Kato, the car, the gas gun, the song, [Cameron’s character] Lenore and the District Attorney.
Kidzworld: Cameron, you got to sort of beat up these two guys in the film. How was that to do? Was there a lot of rehearsal and did your own experience doing action help you with that?
- Seth: Her own experience of beating up two men at once?
- Cameron: [laughs] We actually had a lot of fun with that scene. I can clearly beat up both of them so we had to kind of gauge how capable Lenore was and whether or not she had any moves. We kind of thought that she'd know self-defense a little bit.
- Seth: And she's good with an umbrella like The Penguin [in Batman]… kind of.
- Cameron: Yeah. Basically, I got to beat them over the head with an umbrella for nearly half a day.
- Seth: Yeah, you whacked us pretty good quite a few times. I think we broke a few umbrellas.
- Cameron: But it was all for the greater good. They took it like men.
- Seth: Like whiny men.
Kidzworld: This is a comedy action film so Seth, how much comedy were you willing to bring in and not overpower the action?
Seth: You just had to generally be aware that the comedy should come from the characters and it all should feel real and it shouldn't feel like we're being funny just for the sake of being funny, but it should kind of feel like something that would maybe actually happen.
It was just how the characters related to one another that we hoped the humor would come from. I remember with the car, we were like, 'Inspector Gadget's car is too far.' That was our benchmark. We were like, 'When it starts to become Inspector Gadget's car we've crossed the line. The editing was where we were really able to play with all of that [comedy vs. action balance].
Kidzworld: In the comic and TV show, I think The Green Hornet always got the girl but not in this movie. Why not?
- Seth: Actually, it was our instinct that Kato should wind up with the girl and Cameron, actually, had the amazing idea that no one should end up with the girl which was really funny. I think it serves the friendship between me and Jay more. We think there's this huge competition going on and there's literally no competition. Neither of us has a chance at all. She doesn't even know that we like her really. To us that kind of became this funny play off of the traditional love triangle that you might find in one of these movies.
- Cameron: And it relieved the story of having to wrap up that storyline which is usually what kills the end of a movie. It takes Lenore away from then having to choose between the romance or the taking care of the villain. [Doing a romance] just felt really outdated, like they always end up with the girl. So what is the girl there for, but just to serve them? In this movie, she actually is a big part of how they accomplish what they accomplish. That's the purpose of her in the story rather than just being arm candy and having to wrap that up is so boring.
- Seth: Yeah. Often when I watch these superhero movies as soon as the romantic story starts I want to kill myself. So we thought that it would be best to minimize that as much as possible.
Kidzworld: Jay, did you have a favorite scene in the movie?
- Jay: So many. I like the fights. [They are like brothers and] brothers fight like kids. In my childhood I didn't fight because I'm the only one. [I was an] only child. I never had a brother. So, [to Seth] you’re like my brother.
- Seth: From another mother, yeah.
- Jay: I liked driving the car and shooting bad guys. In my childhood everybody wanted to be a hero. So I like that part, fighting bad guys.
Kidzworld: We hear that Jay did a concert at the L.A. Sports Arena and it was awesome, with screaming fans and everything.
- Cameron: Amazing! When I saw him up there on the stage I was like, 'What's the matter with me?'
- Jay: [smiles] Maybe the story should change and you go for me.
Kidzworld: Cameron, can you talk a bit about working with Jay? Was he also fun between takes on set?
- Cameron: Jay is actually an amazing magician, like phenomenal. So he entertained us a lot with his magic, with cards and sleight of hand. I think that also adds to the whole grace and mystery of Kato. It's what Jay brought to that, and we were all just floored that he didn't speak a word of English before he started. He worked about a month leading up to filming, but he still did his lines phonetically for the first week or so. Then all of a sudden he's just speaking English and it happened so fast.
- Seth: Yeah. He started improvising and I thought, 'Oh, man, what the [heck]? It took me fifteen years to be able to do that.' [Jay is grinning].
- Cameron: And then just his ability as a dancer, as a performer, the way that he learned choreography for the fights, just the grace of that [was great]. As a magician he'd come up with things on set. Like there's this one moment when he flicks a pen off of the top of the briefcase with the latch and it flips over. He could actually get it to do that. His talent as a performer, as a dancer, magician really lent so much to his part. Every day we were like, 'Jay is really talented and really cool,' and then he just looks really cool. So we were all very impressed by him.