Michel Gondry steps in for 'Green Hornet'

Stephen Chow still set to play Kato in Seth Rogen starrer

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 over creative differences. He is still expected to co-star as Kato, the Hornet's trusty sidekick and chauffeur.

Since Chow's departure, the project has been the subject of speculation that it was sliding into development hell, but the studio is intent on making the feature one of its 2010 tentpoles.

The choice of Gondry, the helmer behind off-the-beaten-path films such as "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind," "The Science of Sleep" and "Be Kind Rewind," signals that the creative direction the studio and the film's producer, Neal Moritz, are trying to take the project is one not usually associated with the usual crime-fighter movie.

"Hornet" follows the adventures of 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 his sidekick Kato, who has incredible martial arts skills.

Rogen and his writer partner Evan Goldberg joined the project in July 20, 2007, as writers and co-exec producers.

Gondry is repped by CAA.
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