Seth Rogen faces an uphill battle overcoming fan preconceptions of his 2011 pulp hero flick Green Hornet. For the second year in a row, Rogen and Sony came to Comic-Con in San Diego to make the case for their vision of the classic hero from radio, TV and comics. While few are claiming to be blown away by the Hornet footage so far, team green seems to be gradually nudging their way towards acceptance.
Wouldn't Rogen rather avoid the fans who have yet to embrace the comedy actor as a man of action?
"I guess that's one school of thought. I kind of have the exact opposite attitude actually," Rogen told reporters at the weekend event. "These are the kind of people we're making this movie for. I know they're the people that have been critical of it but I think ultimately they could be the people that are most excited about it. So I think they're the people who deserve to see the sneak peek because they're the huge fans of this stuff, you know. I'm excited to show it to these people."
Indeed, if Rogen and his co-writer/co-producer Evan Goldberg weren't presenting on stage at Comic-Con, they'd likely be in the audience watching.
"Me and Evan go to the comic book store every single week and we have thousands of comic books," Rogen said. "I read very few books without pictures of men in tights in them, which is embarrassing to say but true."
Further, the pair enjoy being part of the bleed-over of comics culture into mainstream pop culture.
"It's really weird that, like, people know who Deadpool is. It's weird that that's part of culture now, like the nerdy things that me and Evan talk about are things that everyone talks about now," Rogen said. "But it's really cool. it's gratifying, like when you liked the band and then the band got famous. That was like us and the X-Men. So it's cool that it's out there and its fun to be able to participate in it."
When it comes to Green Hornet, the pair were inspired by the TV show even before they got the opportunity to develop the movie.
"When we were kids we'd watch it on TV. It was on after the Batman show, often, when we would watch it in reruns," Rogen told reporters. "But I think more than anything me and Evan always wanted to write a screenplay about a hero and a sidekick and the relationship between them and kind of try to explore that. We realized the Green Hornet would be the perfect movie to do that with because of how famous Kato is in relation to the Green Hornet. It just seemed like we could make a Green Hornet movie and tell the story that we always wanted to tell between these two characters."
Goldberg chimed in, "and Prince said he was a pimp once, so we liked that too."
Fans who have seen the trailer know that Rogen plays Britt Reid, the spoiled, party-boy son of a wealthy newspaper owner. When his father is killed by the criminals he's been crusading against, Reid realizes he's been wasting his life. Enter Kato (played by Korean pop star Jay Chou), his father's mysterious and highly-capable associate who guides Reid into a life of crime-fighting.
"We wanted to show a journey of a guy from being very unheroic to being ultimately a hero," Rogen said, addressing how much of his typical persona will color the character. "In the very-unheroic parts of the movie I was able to inject a lot of my own personality and kind of as the character evolves he becomes more of what you'd consider the heroic type, I guess."
While fans have understandably blanched at the idea of Rogen as a masked hero, Rogen was asked if it was necessary to make the movie overtly comedic.
"It became clear that there was no way to do this movie seriously. If you were gonna explore the relationship between a hero and the sidekick, and Kato and Britt Reid it had to have some sort of lightness to it," Rogen said. He went on to insist, "Green Hornet is not even that dark a character. he has no deep secret. His parents weren't murdered [when he was a child], he's not avenging it. It was kind of a more fun direction as opposed to the dark emotions that go along with it, to explore how much fun it could be to try to be a super hero."
Goldberg was quick to add that while Reid's character arc may have humor to it, the situations of the movie play out with a seriousness and a sense of danger and drama.
"I kick a bit of ass at the end so you'll have to wait and see that," Rogen told reporters.
Green Hornet arrives in theaters January 14, 2011. Check back with Mania for more about the movie including talk of 3D conversions, Christoph Walz's villainy and Jay Chou's American debut as Kato!
Two new still photos from the movie, as well as many from Comic-Con 2010, including the Britt Reid's Garage exhibit...