Why Nic Cage Didn't Play The Green Hornet Villain, According To Seth Rogen

Nicolas Cage in Dog Eat Dog

Following decades of adventures in radio, film serials, TV, comic books, Green Hornet and his sidekick Kato finally made their feature-length debut in 2011 with The Green Hornet movie, which saw Seth Rogen playing the eponymous hero and Jay Chou playing Kato. For their origin story adventure, the duo battled Benjamin Chudnofsky, a mob boss who reinvented himself as a super villain named Bloodnofsky. The antagonist was played by Inglorious Basterds star Christoph Waltz, but originally the plan was to cast Nicolas Cage in the role. As for why that didn't happen, Rogen, who also co-wrote The Green Hornet with Evan Goldberg, has revealed that Cage's idea for portraying the character was too crazy at the time, although in hindsight, Rogen believes that it might not have "been any worse" than what was in the final product. Rogen explained:

Basically, when you're making a movie that expensive the studio has a real say in who you cast. So the studio was like, "You gotta make the villain a star. We want you to cast Nicolas Cage." So we thought, let's talk to him. And we do, and he tells us that he wants to do the movie, but he wants to play the character as, like, a white Bahamian or Jamaican. Which to us was a little worrisome.

While Nicolas Cage has been a popular film star for over 30 years, he's also known for frequently making... interesting acting choices, particularly in recent years (the Community episode "Introduction to Teaching" explores this). So I'm surprisingly unsurprised to hear from Seth Rogen that Cage was interested in portraying Bloodnofsky (or whatever the character was called then) as a white Bahamian or Jamaican in The Green Hornet, which definitely could have been racially problematic. Rogen realized this, but knowing Cage, he also correctly predicted that Cage was already working on the voice. The actor/writer continued:

Yeah, not that there aren't white Bahamians, but it seemed perhaps insensitive. So then we were going to have a big dinner with Nicolas Cage at Amy Pascal's house to talk about the movie. And I remember driving to the dinner with Evan and saying, 'If he does the white Bahamian thing at the dinner, I'm going to lose it.' [Laughs.] I was like, 'I can't deal with being face-to-face with Nicolas Cage as he's doing a Bahamian accent.' Within 20 minutes of getting to the dinner he's fully doing it.

Seth Rogen then added in his interview with Vulture that while Nicolas Cage's Bahamian accent was "good," the Face/Off star realized that the others didn't like the idea and he abruptly left the dinner, calling Rogen two days later to confirm his suspicion that they didn't want him in the movie. And that, kids, is how we missed out on Cage battling with Green Hornet and how Christoph Waltz secured the role instead. It's alright, though, because Cage ended up getting some superhero movie experience under his belt by playing Big Daddy in Kick-Ass, and 20 years after missing out on playing Superman in live action, he's finally getting to voice the Man of Steel in Teen Titans Go! to the Movies.

As for The Green Hornet, it was met with mixed reviews and only made close to $228 million worldwide off a $120 million budget. Since then, director Michel Gondry has swore off ever making another superhero movie. It was announced in November 2016 that Paramount Pictures and Chernin Entertainment, which now have the Green Hornet film rights, had tapped The Accountant director Gavin O'Connor to develop an "edgy" reboot, but there's been no word on its progress since then.

Adam Holmes
Senior Content Producer

Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.