Director Michel Gondry on "Commercial" Versus "Independent" on The Green Hornet
01.04.11 by BJSprecher
When it was first announced that innovative French music video and movie director Michel Gondry (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Be Kind Rewind) would be helming Columbia Pictures' The Green Hornet adaptation, the news raised nearly as many eyebrows as the casting of (formerly) portly funnyman Seth Rogen as the title character. Gondry, known for his inventive visual style, had never worked on a big-budget action movie before and he told Variety that it forced him to consider early on how he would approach it, whether as a "commercial" movie or an "independent" one.
I had a meeting with the big people at Sony and they looked into my eyes and asked me, "Do you want to do a commercial movie or a very independent movie?" Of course, I knew the answer, but I thought it was a trick. And then I finally said, "Of course, I want it to be commercial."
I realized it's not such a trivial question, because every time you're faced with choices, you have to keep reminding yourself that you made a promise and you have to hold to it. Basically, the concept of working on a big-budget film is that you have to think about the audience a little bit more than usual.
Despite the imperative to make The Green Hornet a commercial movie, Gondry said that he was still able to incorporate some of the innovation that has made him such a renowned independent filmmaker.
There are recipes that the studios apply that make successful movies, but there's also a pretty strong unknown factor, and in this unknown area is where I could play and bring more personal stuff.
Gondry demurs from calling The Green Hornet "a superhero movie," instead prefering to compare it to a "buddy action comedy from the '80s...somewhere between Robocop and Ghostbusters."
The Green Hornet was written by Rogen and Evan Goldberg. Jay Chou, Cameron Diaz and Academy Award-winner Christoph Waltz also star.