Kevin Smith to Helm Hornet

Filmmaker Kevin Smith (Clerks, Chasing Amy) is putting staple characters Jay and Silent Bob to the side to focus on a completely different dynamic duo. The self-professed comic fan-boy has been tapped by Miramax to write and direct The Green Hornet, a feature film update of classic comic book, TV and film property.

"Kevin knows more about comic characters, books and the creative process than anyone else I have ever met,” says Miramax topper Harvey Weinstein. “The character of The Green Hornet offers a myriad of possible film ideas and numerous merchandise and branded integration opportunities with our corporate partners, giving us a platform for a very viable and long standing franchise.”

“Long-time comics geek gets to make comic book movie? This is a dream come true. I’m still reeling! You don’t know how in love with Harvey Weinstein I am right now," Smith comments. "… making this movie with Miramax means that not only will we deliver an exciting, chop-socky-filled action flick, but it’s gonna have a compelling story, believable characters and great dialogue to boot! Let’s roll, Kato!”

Smith sold off his comic book collection, which included issues of The Green Hornet, to make his 1994 breakout film, Clerks. He has since written award-winning, best-selling runs of Daredevil for Marvel Comics and Green Arrow for DC Comics, as well as comics based on Clerks and Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back. In 1997 he opened his own comic book store, Jay and Silent Bob’s Secret Stash, in his hometown of Red Bank, New Jersey. A west coast branch is scheduled to open in Westwood this May.

Smith is keeping his Green Hornet plot a closely guarded secret but says it will remain very true to creator George Trendle’s characters with a few new twists. Trendle’s son, George Trendle, will executive produce the film along with Harold Berkowitz. Jon Gordon, exec. VP of production, and Hannah Minghella, creative executive, will oversee the project for Miramax.

The Green Hornet comics were published by Dell comics in the 1940s and by Gold Key in the 1960s. Universal Pictures produced Hornet serials in 1939 and released a pair of features in 1940 and 1941. Twentieth Century Fox revived the property in 1966 with a short-lived TV series that helped launch the career of Bruce Lee, who played The Green Hornet’s trusty sidekick, Kato.

The Green Hornet feature marks an interesting shift for Miramax, best known for championing indie features and taking chances on risky ventures like the big-screen musical Chicago. The company’s expansion into the tent pole marketplace follows its foray into animation with the acquisition of the anime series Tokyo Pig and its co-production partnership with LEGO’s CreateTV & Film for the computer-animated Bionicle franchise.

Miramax and Smith’s most recent collaboration, Jersey Girl, starring Ben Affleck and Liv Tyler, will open in theaters nationwide in March, 2004.