I’ll admit it: Seth Rogen landing the lead in Sony’s long-dormant Green Hornet project did not initially strike me as a great idea. Much as I love Seth and believe he’ll be making great comedies for decades to come, the superhero parody already feels tired. It predates the ascendancy of Marvel Films: The Tick (animated and live-action), Mystery Men and The Specials all exploited (to varying degrees of success) the inherent ridiculousness of ordinary, sometimes stupid men donning tights and fighting crime as a hobby. And it’s just too damn easy. The superhero genre itself is inherently ridiculous; lampooning it requires very little effort.
But these were just first impressions. As with any other in-development project, I reserve the right to jump directly from cynical to exhilarated at the first sign of greatness. And greatness is precisely what Stephen Chow could bring to Rogen’s The Green Hornet – provided the Knocked Up star convinces his first-choice Kato to make his English-language debut in the role that launched Bruce Lee’s career. Not that Chow needs to be "launched"; his star has been on the rise for the better part of a decade thanks to Shaolin Soccer and Kung Fu Hustle. But co-starring alongside Rogen as the badass sidekick who does all the fancy fightin’ could be just what Chow requires to breakthrough to superstar status in America.
It’s important to reiterate that this is all talk for now: Chow is just Rogen’s ideal Kato; nothing has been signed or, to the best of my knowledge, officially offered. But it’ll be interesting to hear what Rogen has to say on the subject at Comic Con next week (where he’ll be promoting Superbad).