Would The Green Hornet Work Better With Nicolas Cage?

The Green Hornet is terrific. Really, it is. It’s certainly not for fans hoping to see a faithful adaptation of the classic pulp character, but it’s a visceral and hilarious ride nonetheless thanks to top-notch work from Seth Rogen, Jay Chou and Michel Gondry.

But, in all honesty, it could have been better. I never expected to say these words, but Christoph Waltz was simply the wrong choice for lead villain Chudnofsky. Not that he was bad by any stretch, just unexciting — and it’s perfectly understandable, too, given that Nicolas Cage, the man who invented crazy, was originally tapped for the role. You can see it in Chudnofsky’s dialogue; the mania, the spontaneity, the outrageous claims… these are all thoughts, comments and actions belonging to a man of Cage’s caliber. Throughout my time with Green Hornet, I kept imagining how much further Cage would have amped up an already excellent cinematic achievement. But perhaps I was wrong — maybe Cage wasn’t the best man to play Chudnofsky.

The New York Times dove headfirst into the movie’s extensive developmental history, which dates back almost two decades with failed adaptations from Kevin Smith and even Gondry himself along the way. Gondry says that for reasons known only to Cage, the actor insisted on using a Jamaican accent as Chudnofsky.

“I was quite relieved when he announced he no longer wanted the part,” said the director.

Cage is the master of wacky ideas; many of them work (see Bad Lieutenant) and many of them don’t. His Jamaican Chudnofsky would have fallen into the latter category. Shave that completely out-of-left-field idea off the table and Cage would have been perfect as Britt Reid’s arch-nemesis. As it stands, Waltz’s version will suit us just fine instead.

Check back later tonight for Adam Rosenberg’s review of The Green Hornet!

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Comments

  • clarkeycaps

    so a good Cage performance would have been better but Cage would never have delivered it, so it would have been awful. Kind of a cyclical argument dontchathink??

  • Rich

    Nothing is better with Nicholas Cage. That’s science.

  • The Teal Hornet

    I read earlier in an article at the New York Times online that said Cage wanted to do a jamaican rasta accent for the villain character for some reason known only to Cage.
    My question to you the writer of THIS is: Thinking back to how you imagined Cage in the role…How do you think he would’ve come off with that accent?

  • http://www.ChristophWaltzFans.com Sachertorte

    Nicholas Cage and his insistence on playing Chudnofsky as a Jamaican Rasta would have doomed this film to a one-star or lower. Truth.

    If you bothered to listen to any of the interviews given by the cast, Chudnofsky is a villain in a mid-life crisis who is struggling to “become” interesting and cool. He is NOT a superhero or super villain and yet has to become one to take on the Green Hornet, and the part is largely to do with his coming to terms with this, his insecurity, his understated affect, his “getting it wrong” and feeling awkward. He isn’t supposed to be larger than life, he’s supposed to be a villain who is mediocre and struggles to become something more.

    Waltz nailed this vision of Gondry/Rogen/Goldberg right on target. His job was NOT to insert himself and play the character as he would see it (as Cage tried to do), but to bring their vision to screen and he accomplished this. Christoph has said numerous times he does not take a part and “make it his”, but his job is to read the script, tease out what is on paper and the director wants to accomplish and make that the reality – which is in fact what method-acting is all about. That is why he is amazing, he becomes the character, not makes the character into a facet of himself.

  • The Teal Hornet

    Well said, man! Well said! ;)

  • http://www.ChristophWaltzFans.com Sachertorte

    @Teal:

    Woman. ;-)

  • Motyrreb

    If Cage was in the film, He should have replaced Rogen.

  • Mchh31

    go back watching gossip girl

  • Mchh31

    so season of the witch was supposed to be awful, and all you bloggers did everything that was in your power to let people know that nobody should never ever go and watch the movie. but then everyone that went to actually see the movie said it was great.
    now you bloggers are doing your best to let everyone know that the green hornet is terrific.
    really? a movie with seth rogen terrific? really? I don’t think so.
    and yet all the fuzz seems to be about the fact that nicolas cage was supposed to be in it and now he is not.
    very convenient.

  • oooooooooooooo

    Waltz sucks. Truth.

  • zman

    amen.

  • http://www.ChristophWaltzFans.com Sachertorte

    Sucks enough to win an Oscar and 37 other awards on his very first high-profile casting.

    Yeah, so all those critics and voters were wrong, but you, dear denizen of the internet, are correct. Mmmhmm. That’s a bingo. X-P

  • Cid Phoenix

    Let Me Be the freAKIN’ VOICE OF REASON… Do NOT USE Nicholas Cage, lest you have Green Hornet talking like Elvis… (honestly, am I the only one who saw that atrocious protrayal of Johnny Blaze In Ghost Rider?) No, go with someone else PLEASE!!!