Tonight, just after I posted my review of “Knight and Day,” I hopped in the car and sped down to Hollywood, where I joined a group of other online writers to see the trailer for “The Green Hornet” on the bigscreen, and then participate in a Q&A afterwards. That was enough for me to go. I visited the set last year, and I dug what I saw including the sizzle reel that was sort of a loosely-cut trailer.
The trailer, which is online now for you to enjoy, is not what we saw in the sizzle reel. My first impulsive reaction was that they were overexplaining things in this trailer, but in talking to the filmmakers afterwards, it’s obvious that they have done the testing and they realize that they need to sell the character first with an introduction, since the general attitude seems to be that no one in the general mainstream has any idea who or what The Green Hornet is.
My reaction to the footage we see in the trailer is strong overall. The fight stuff still only hints at what Gondry has planned for the film visually, and instead, the focus in this trailer is on the premise (no-good playboy decides to follow up on his father’s death by assuming the identity of a criminal, trying to get close to other criminals) and on the relationship between Brett Reid (Seth Rogen) and Kato (Jay Chou). Their chemistry is the movie. Either they work together, or the film doesn’t work at all.
After the Q&A, we walked across the street as a group, along with Seth, Evan Goldberg, Neal Moritz, and Michel Gondry so we could all pile into the green room at Jimmy Kimmel’s show, where Seth was going to be a guest to introduce the trailer on the air. We had a lot more time to talk to everyone there because there were technical issues with the power, and they ended up not being able to record the show. I drove home about the time they realized they weren’t taping a show tonight, and now I can share the trailer with you, some new images from the film, today’s Q&A, and some impressions from afterwards.
First, let’s look at the trailer:
We watched it twice, and then the lights came up. Director Michel Gondry joined producer Moritz and co-writer/co-producers Rogen and Goldberg down front. Although it seemed self-explanatory to me after the trailer, the first question someone asked was, “What”s the story line with the characters?”
Seth took the question. “To explain it, I guess briefly, I”m an irresponsible kind of idiot, as one might imagine and my father dies and I form a friendship with someone else that did not have the highest opinion towards him… one of his employees, Kato. And through that friendship, we realize that maybe we can create this kind of thing that will help us both live out our dreams. In time, we realize that each other”s personalities are the most difficult thing to overcome and try to form this thing. That”s how the story goes.”
Michel waited for Seth to finish, then jumped in. “We see a bit of his childhood and home. This friendship finds its resolution through his inner voice. He”s talking to his dad in his mind.”
Seth addressed the idea head-on that the filmmakers were being forced into the choice to do the conversion process. “First thing people like you say is that the studio is forcing us to do it and it”s a quick fix. The funny thing is it could not be more opposite. It was us begging and pleading as creative entities to the studio to allow us to have this tool to tell our story in an original way. And we”re super excited that we were able to do it.”
When Seth was asked if he improved on the set a lot, like on the Judd Apatow comedies, he replied, “We definitely wanted it at times in the relationships, so the relationships have that spontaneous feel. I just think that me and Evan found something that works really well. The things in movies that people relate to a lot are the ways characters interact and they see themselves in the characters and a lot of that is through improv. Jay is amazing at it and even in the trailer, his ‘I don”t want to touch you’? He improvised that and we were joking around one day on a scene and yes there was a lot and everyone got really into it. I mean obviously as an action movie there”s limitations to what you can do but it doesn”t have a rigid feel to it. It”s a very loose conversational feel.”
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