Leigh Whannell | Michael Buckner/Deadline

Universal is looking to get back into the kung-fu superhero business.

The studio has for weeks now been meeting with potential directors for their upcoming The Green Hornet and Kato movie. However, sources are telling Deadline that since Leigh Whannell threw his hat into the ring, Universal has been itching to work with him again since the critical and box office success of The Invisible Man.

The studio got a Green Hornet and Kato script from David Koepp early this year they are high on, and once a deal closes the film should be fast-tracked to the pre-production stages.

Universal optioned rights to The Green Hornet from Amasia in the spring of 2020, after co-founders Michael Helfant and Bradley Gallo acquired control of the motion picture franchise from the family of the original creator George W. Trendle in a competitive bidding war that January.

The Green Hornet was one of early radio’s most popular adventure shows (predating Superman) before being turned into 1940s movie serials (from Universal) and the 1966 TV series that introduced Bruce Lee (Kato) to the U.S. The classic story focuses on Britt Reid, owner-publisher of The Daily Sentinel. Armed with knowledge from his sources, cool weapons, a supercar known as the Black Beauty, and teamed with his trusty aide Kato, Reid became The Green Hornet, a vigilante crime fighter wanted by the police and feared by the criminal world.

Whannell cut his teeth as he helped build the Saw and Insidious franchises over the years learning from A-list director James Wan along the way. He would branch out on his own with the action thriller Upgrade for Blumhouse, which would ultimately lead to him landing the Invisible Man directing job that Blumhouse was producing. That pic was one of the few box office winners of 2020 right before the pandemic hit and put Whannell on the map as a director who can not only deliver the thrills on a film but keep it on a budget, something studio execs always love to see.

What do you make of this news? Are you game for another big screen reboot of The Green Hornet and Kato? Should Leigh Whannell be the guy leading the project? Sound off in the comments below to let us and the rest of the movie loving world know your thoughts!


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