‘The Green Hornet’ does battle in LA

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Crime may be down in Los Angeles, but who says the city doesn’t need a masked crime fighter to keep the bad guys at bay?

Columbia Pictures has begun shooting ‘The Green Hornet’ in L.A., giving a much-needed boost to the region’s sagging feature film segment. With a budget into the nine figures and a crew of 350, the action flick is something of a rarity in L.A. these days: a major studio film shooting in town.


Producers considered other, cheaper locales, including the usual suspects of Michigan, New York and Louisiana that offer generous tax credits to filmmakers. But Neal H. Moritz, a producer on the film, said shooting locally made sense because the movie was written for L.A.

‘Ultimately, we made the decision, and thankfully the studio agreed with us, that the creative positives of shooting in Los Angeles outweighed the financial incentives offered to us elsewhere,’ Moritz said.

‘The Green Hornet,’ scheduled for release in December 2010, is based on the original story created by George W. Trendle and Fran Striker for an American radio program in 1930s. The film stars Seth Rogen as Britt Reid, the newspaper publisher turned vigilante crime fighter, and Jay Chou as his martial arts sidekick Kato (most famously played by Bruce Lee in the 1960s TV series). The director is Michel Gondry (‘Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind’).

The movie began filming last week at Sony Pictures Studios in Culver City and Friday will be filming in Chinatown, where Kato has an apartment (see accompanying chart). Over the next three months, the production will shoot in Sun Valley, Holmby Hills, Bel-Air, Hawthorne and various locations downtown, including City Hall and the Los Angeles Times building on West 1st Street, which will stand in for the fictional newspaper where Reid works.

‘The city is a character in the film,’ Moritz said. ‘We felt that if we’re going to do it, it was important to shoot in L.A.’

-- Richard Verrier