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The Green Hornet has taken another step towards returning to the big screen.
Universal is optioning the rights to the classic pulp crime-fighting hero from Amasia, the banner run by former Marvel Studios president Michael Helfant and Bradley Gallo. The move follows Amasia’s acquisition of the motion picture franchise rights following a highly competitive bidding war in January.
Helfant and Gallo are producing the project, which carries the title of The Green Hornet and Kato, signaling that Hornet’s sidekick will be equally billed this time around.
Hornet is the alter ego of Britt Reid, an American newspaper publisher who dons a green mask and wields guns to fight crime. He is aided in this endeavor by his Asian valet-turned-partner Kato, with the two speeding around town in a futuristic car known as the Black Beauty.
The hero was part of the pulpy adventurers introduced through radio such as The Shadow and Doc Savage, all of whom were precursors to the comic book superheroes Superman and Batman, who made their debuts in the late 1930s.
The last time Hornet and Kato were on the screen was in 2011 with Sony’s The Green Hornet, which starred Seth Rogen, Jay Chou and Cameron Diaz.
Universal and producers are eyeing to adapt the hero into a global franchise.
“Our goal is to make a film that existing fans will love, and new fans will love to discover,” Helfant said Thursday in a statement, noting that the studio was behind the serials made in the 1940s. “With Universal, it feels like we are merging the past and the future, creating a contemporary version of the franchise that is fresh and exciting while respecting its long legacy and history.”
Added Gallo: “The confluence of America and Asia is so important. Who better to partner with than a company that has such a major presence on both continents? We also know that Universal will align with our ‘film geek’ sensibilities and offer up a vision which respects the iconic world of The Green Hornet.”
A search for writers will begin shortly.
Amasia is postproduction on John Patrick Shanley’s highly anticipated lyrical Irish romance Wild Mountain Thyme, which stars Emily Blunt, Jamie Dornan, Christopher Walken and Jon Hamm. It also produced Mr. Right, starring Sam Rockwell, Anna Kendrick and RZA.
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