For the pivotal role of Kato, the technical whiz kid and sidekick to The Green Hornet, the filmmakers turned to Asian pop star Jay Chou (“Curse of the Golden Flower”).
In the 3D action comedy “The Green Hornet,” Britt Reid (Seth Rogen) is the son of LA’s most prominent and respected media magnate and perfectly happy to maintain a directionless existence on the party scene – until his father mysteriously dies, leaving Britt his vast media empire. Striking an unlikely friendship with one of his father’s more industrious and inventive employees, Kato, they see their chance to do something meaningful for the first time in their lives: fight crime. But in order to do this, they decide to become criminals themselves. Protecting the law by breaking it, Britt becomes the vigilante The Green Hornet as he and Kato hit the streets.
Chou is one of Asia’s biggest stars – the King of Asian Pop, according to Time Magazine. He’s sold over 32 million albums and has had Asia’s top-selling album for 10 years running. Some Americans may not know his name yet, but they will – to Asian-Americans, he is an enormous star, capable of selling out a 100,000-seat venue like the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
After an initial audition over Skype, the studio flew Chou in from Taiwan and were immediately struck. “There was something about the chemistry between Seth and Jay that reminded me of the classic buddy movie pairings,” says producer Neal H. Moritz. “He has a star quality when he’s on screen that makes you think, ‘I want to watch this guy.’”
“It was immediately clear that he was super cool,” says co-star Rogen. “He’s really charismatic, he’s handsome, he has that cool hair. He’d never take orders from a guy like Britt Reid.” That made him perfect for the part.
“The Green Hornet is ‘the hero,’ but it’s Kato who does everything,” says director Michel Gondry. “That’s a great twist on the hero-sidekick thing – the sidekick is the real hero, but he gets no credit.”
Chou feels that the team is “balanced,” he says. “They are from different backgrounds, but they are like brothers. Britt is the funny one, Kato is a little bit more serious.”
Of course, Chou was intrigued by playing a role that not only Bruce Lee made famous, but was the role that made Lee a star. In Lee’s performance, Chou says, Lee “filled the little gaps with coolness, which was exactly what the character needed. His performance was about attitude.”
But Gondry says that while Chou may have been inspired to bring his own attitude to the role, Chou also makes the part his own. “I’m sure it was difficult for him; the legacy and aura of Bruce Lee is gigantic. So his approach was not to do any imitation of Bruce Lee at all. It became pretty clear that he was very, very cool in a very different way. He had Kato’s confidence, every step of the way.”
“He completely pulled off everything that we thought he could do, but more so, because he was even cooler than we thought he could be,” says Rogen. “We’re not cool, so we weren’t prepared for how cool he could be.”
“ The Green Hornet” opens across the Philippines Jan. 19, and is available on IMAX 3D in SM North EDSA and SM City Cebu, and in Digital 3D and regular format. The film is distributed by Columbia Pictures, local office of Sony Pictures Releasing International. Visit http://www.columbiapictures.com.ph for trailers, exclusive content and free downloads. Like us at www.Facebook.com/ColumbiaPicturesPH and join our fan contests.