While Seth Rogen may be The Green Hornet’s biggest draw in United States and Michel Gondry may be the more recognisable figure to cinephiles in Europe - over in Asia its Jay Chou who takes centre stage. The Taiwanese pop star had reportedly overshadowed co-star Rogen and director Gondry during the initial legs of their Asian tour to promote the film.
It’s something that could make anyone green with envy but when quizzed about Chou’s fame during their stopover in Singapore, Rogen and Gondry seemed genuinely thrilled that they were taking a backseat to the new Kato.
“Well this proves Jay wasn’t lying to us. Everyone kept telling us he’s famous and we’re like, yeah whatever. Turns out he really is,” joked Rogen.
Both of them were nothing if not effusive in their praise for Chou. The self-deprecating Rogen frequently emphasised that his co-star was the antithesis of himself. While the bumbling, carefree and irresponsible qualities of Britt Reid were something Rogen “had in spades”, the effortlessly cool and confident nature of Kato was something that fit Chou to a tee.
Though organisers had asked gathered reporters to refrain from questions pertaining to Chou’s English proficiency, Gondry jumped into the topic immediately when asked about what working with him was like.
“He was marvellous, such a fantastic talent and so easy to work with. His English is marvellous as well,” he said.
“That’s coming from the French guy by the way,” quipped Rogen immediately afterwards.
Judging by the amiable chemistry Rogen had with Chou during the press conference, it was clear that the decision to pair them up in a buddy movie was only natural.
“The only way to really tell if you can work with somebody is if you read with them. What we did at first was to do a reading with Jay over Skype, which was weird and laggy. But Jay turned out to be so cool that we decided to fly him down to Los Angeles so we could read in a room together and he was perfect.”
Rogen further elaborated that sharing the screen with Chou was the easy part.
“Writing this movie with my writing partner Evan (Goldberg) took exponentially longer than acting in it. It was a long, trying process. There have been a lot of dark, gritty superhero movies out now so the audience has become accustomed to stuff like that.”
“What I wanted to do was write a superhero movie that more like Beverly Hill Cop, more of a retro buddy movie. Comedy is what Evan and I are most known for anyways, though I don’t expect you guys to have seen our other movies here.”
When informed that we’ve all seen Pineapple Express, Rogen dryly cracked, “Oh wow that was released here, really? The moment I got off the plane I saw a sign that said ‘Death for Drugs!’ so Pineapple Express must’ve been really hardcore for you guys.”