International box office sensation Stephen Chow will make his American directing and co-starring debut on "The Green Hornet."
Columbia Pictures announced on Friday (Sept. 19) that not only would the "Kung Fu Hustle" and "Shaolin Soccer" director-star helm "The Green Hornet," but he'll also play breakout sidekick Kato.
A June 25, 2010 release date has already been staked out for the film, which is written by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg and will star Rogen as the eponymous crimefighter. Neal H. Moritz is the producer through his Original Film production company.
"When Seth, Evan, and Neal said they wanted Stephen Chow to be part of The Green Hornet, it was a fantasy. Now that it's happening, it's almost too good to be true," says Columbia Pictures President Matt Tolmach in a statement. "Stephen's been a very important part of the Sony family for many years, so it's truly serendipitous for us to be moving forward with him directing the movie and starring as Kato."
Chow debuted his particular brand of comedy-infused action with 1996's "God of Cookery." Sony co-produced and released "Kung Fu Hustle," which made over $100 million worldwide and stands as Chow's biggest domestic hit with $17 million. "Kung Fu Hustle" currently ranks behind only "Titanic" and "Jurassic Park" as the third highest grossing film in Hong Kong history. Sony also released Chow's most recent feature, "CJ7," which was a big hit overseas, but a dud in the United States.
"Stephen was always my and Evan's first choice for director and to play Kato," Rogen says. "We just hope that he never finds out we're not the Wachowski Brothers."
Moritz adds, "'The Green Hornet' is a dream project and it's come together in a dream way. Seth will be fantastic in the lead role, and Stephen was the only name on the list for Kato. The material is a perfect match for his sensibilities -- Stephen in the director's chair is the best thing for the film."
"The Green Hornet" premiered as a radio show in 1936, moving to comics in 1940. The franchise's most familiar incarnation may be a short-lived ABC series that starred Van Williams as bored playboy/masked hero Britt Reid and Bruce Lee as his trusty sidekick Kato. The characters went around in their equally adored car Black Beauty, a tricked out 1965 Chrysler Imperial.
"I'm excited to be taking on The Green Hornet -- obviously, I've been a huge fan of the show since I was a kid," Chow states. "The idea of stepping into Bruce Lee's shoes as Kato is both humbling and thrilling, and to get the chance to direct the project as my American movie debut is simply a dream come true. I'm grateful to my friends at Sony, who have shown so much faith in me for so many years. I'm looking forward to working with Seth, Evan, Neal, and the team at Sony, and I'm eager to get started."
Stephen Chow Gives 'Green Hornet' Sting
Seth Rogen co-wrote and will star