LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Comedian Seth Rogen, whose movies include “Knocked Up” and “Superbad,” stars in new 3D, action comedy “The Green Hornet,” based on characters that appeared in a 1930s radio serial, a 1960s TV show and a comic book series.
Rogen, who co-wrote the movie that debuts in theaters on Friday, stars as Britt Reid, a slacker son of a media magnate who dies mysteriously. Britt befriends his dad’s employee, Kato, and the duo reinvent themselves as crime fighters with Britt becoming The Green Hornet and Kato his sidekick. At the same time, they both have eyes for their new secretary, Lenore Case (Cameron Diaz).
Taiwanese singer Chou is a superstar across Asia, and he makes his English-language acting debut in “Green Hornet.” He and Rogen sat down with Reuters to discuss teaming up for the movie, Chou’s command of English and Rogen’s singing voice.
Q: How did you two meet?
Rogen: “We met over Skype, like most people do these days. In looking for a Kato, we got a hold of Jay and set up a time to read one of the scenes over Skype. He was in Taiwan and I was in Los Angeles. We read the scene where we’re arguing with each other in my guest house.”
Q: Jay, you had an English tutor on the set because you didn’t know the language. How was that?
Chou: “My English dialogue teacher was very scary.”
Rogen: Yeah, she was the real bad guy on set.
Chou: She was like my mom. ‘Hey Jay...”
Rogen: “...are you studying?” (both laugh)
Q: Did you know any English when you began shooting?
Chou: “Just ‘What the hell?’ and some bad words.”
Rogen: “It was amazing how much he learned. But he understood it for the most part. We went through each scene and made sure he understood what was happening.”
Chou: “Seth is very smart. Because he wrote the script, he could change anything. My English is not so good and sometimes (my lines) were difficult to say. Seth would say, ‘Okay, let’s change it.’”
Q: You two are together throughout most of the film. What were some of the biggest challenges you endured?
Rogen: “There’s a big car chase at the end and we shot a lot of that in front of blue screen. That was difficult because for a week straight, it was just us sitting in a car and people yelling, ‘Explosion on the left side!’ or ‘You’re turning right!’ And we’re leaning all over the place.”
Q: Jay does most of the driving in the film. Is that because your driving skills are poor?
Rogen: “I did one day of stunt driving training and I must have not done very well because I didn’t get to drive a car again after that. But Jay was a great driver. There were lots of scenes where he was driving with a camera mounted on the hood. They would just send us off to drive around like that. We got some weird looks from people.”
Jay: “For me, the challenge was fighting with Seth. To me, he’s like my brother and because of that, fighting with him was very strange. I didn’t want to kick him, but I had to.”
Q: What did you do during your downtime on the set?
Chou: “I’d do some magic tricks.”
Rogen: “He does a lot of magic tricks. That’s how he’d entertain us. Jay found basketball very quickly in America. He’d go to Venice beach and play there all the time...”
Chou: “...and Rodeo Drive for shopping.”
Q: If there’s a sequel, what would you like to see in it?
Chou: “Cameron Diaz. More romance for Kato.”
Q: Ah yes, Kato has that one scene where he tries to get close to Lenore. She appears to like him a bit.
Chou: “It’s my favorite scene in the movie!”
Q: What did you take away or learn from each other that you wouldn’t have otherwise?
Chou: “Seth is exactly like what he is on the screen, except he’s not dumb.”
Rogen: “Good answer! I’ve been listening to a lot of his music. There’s a song of his at the end of the movie and it’s awesome.”
Jay: “Music is very important in my life. After this movie, I’m going to back to my music and will make a new album.”
Q: Has your time in the United States influenced what you put on that album?
Chou: “I will put some English in my new album. Maybe I’ll sing in English.”
Q: Any duets with Seth?
Rogen: “That would not be a good idea.”
Chou: “He’s a good rapper, but not a good singer.”
Editing by Bob Tourtellotte