'Hornet' nest abuzz over its new helmer

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Michel Gondry is in negotiations to direct "The Green Hornet," Columbia's big-screen treatment of the classic crime- fighting hero being portrayed by Seth Rogen.

Stephen Chow had been tapped to direct but dropped out because of creative differences. He still is expected to co-star as Kato, the Hornet's trusty sidekick and chauffeur.

After Chow's departure, the project became the subject of speculation that it was sliding into development limbo, but Columbia is intent on making "Hornet" one of its 2010 tentpoles.

The choice of Gondry, who has helmed such off-the-beaten-path films as "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind," "The Science of Sleep" and "Be Kind Rewind," signals that the studio and the film's producer, Neal Moritz, are taking a creative direction not usually associated with crime-fighter movies.

"Hornet" centers on Britt Reid, a bored playboy who inherits his father's crusading newspaper, the Daily Sentinel. By night he is a masked hero fighting crime with Kato, who has exceptional martial-arts skills.

Rogen and his writing partner, Evan Goldberg, joined the project in July 2007 as writers and co-executive producers.

"From the very beginning, Seth, Evan and Neal wanted this film to stand out from the pack with its originality," Columbia's Matt Tolmach said. "You couldn't ask for a better director than Michel to bring that to life."

The Gallic helmer is repped by CAA. (partialdiff)
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