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The Green Hornet – How Cameron Diaz gets no action but does does beat two men over the head with an umbrella

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The Green Hornet - Cameron Diaz and Seth Rogen
Lenore Case (Cameron Diaz) and Britt Reid (Seth Rogen) © 2011 Columbia Pictures

Unlike her role in Charlie’s Angels, in The Green Hornet Cameron Diaz isn’t a kick-ass crime fighter, she leaves that to Seth Rogen and Jay Chou. In the movie she portrays Lenore, Britt Reid’s (Rogen) secretary.

Reid has taken over his father’s newspaper but, behind the scenes, he has turned himself into ‘The Green Hornet,’ a vigilante crime fighter, along with his assistant, Kato (Chou).

Lenore isn’t aware that she is the brains behind ‘The Green Hornet,’ supplying Britt and Kato information that she believes is for the newspaper, but is used in bringing down the bad guys.

How did you get involved with this project?

The Green Hornet - Cameron Diaz and Seth Rogen
Lenore Case (Cameron Diaz) and Britt Reid (Seth Rogen) © 2011 Columbia Pictures

I was in New York and got a call that Seth Rogen and [director] Michel Gondry were doing The Green Hornet. Those two names separately were incredibly interesting to me. But hearing those names together? It made the project completely irresistible.

When I thought of those two minds together, I didn’t care what it was. I just had to be a part of it.

How is your Lenore different than when the character different from when she was first created in 1930s?

She’s smarter than both Britt and Kato put together. They have no idea what they’re doing, whether it’s running a newspaper or being vigilante crime-fighters.

Lenore is passionate about journalism and she’s obsessed with criminology and forensics.

What was it like to work with Seth and Michel?

It’s really a great partnership and a lot of fun working with them. You’ll be on set and Michel comes in and gives the direction. Then Seth and Evan hear that and talk to Michel about a new line of dialogue.

All of a sudden there’s this synergistic thing that happens – the set is a blender, all these ingredients are being poured in, you push a button, and out comes the perfect pina colada!

Did you miss the fact that you don’t get to do any action sequence in this?

The Green Hornet - Seth Rogen and Cameron Diaz
Britt Reid (Seth Rogen) and Lenore Case (Cameron Diaz) © 2011 Columbia Pictures

I didn’t realize that it was such a huge action movie because I came in the first week of shooting and the last week of shooting and all of my bits, there was no action. So I went away to be in another movie with a lot of action, and I came back and when I saw what they’d done I was like, ‘Wait a second. How did this happen?

Why did I not know this?’ Before we started also I went out and I took the Black Beauty [‘The Green Hornet’s car] for a spin. So I should’ve put two and two together and realized!

You do beat up two men in the film. How was that to do? Was there a lot of rehearsal and did your own experience help that?

We actually had a lot of fun with that scene. I can clearly beat up both of them in real life. So we had to kind of gauge how capable Lenore was and whether or not she had any moves.

We thought that she’d know self-defense a little bit, so we just had fun with that. Basically, I got to beat them over the head with an umbrella for nearly half a day.

You don’t have a romance in this film, did that surprise you?

It just relieved the whole movie of that burden which I think we really fall into a lot, especially with movies like this. It just felt really outdated, like they always end up with the girl. So what is the girl there for but just to serve them?

She actually is an integral part of how they accomplish what they accomplish, of course, unbeknownst to her. But nonetheless that’s the purpose of her in the story rather than just being arm candy and having to wrap that up is so boring.

Can you talk about working with Jay Chou?

The Green Hornet - Seth Rogen, Cameron Diaz and Jay Chou
Britt Reid (Seth Rogen), Lenore Case (Cameron Diaz) and Kato (Jay Chou) © 2011 Columbia Pictures

Jay is actually a phenomenal magician. So he entertained us a lot with his magic, with cards and sleight of hand. That was something that we were all very impressed with and I think also adds to the whole grace of Kato and the mystery of Kato.

It’s what Jay brought to that, and we were all just floored that he didn’t speak a word of English before he started. He worked about a month leading up to filming, but he still did his lines phonetically for the first week or so. Then all of a sudden he’s just speaking English and it happened so fast.

And then just his ability as a dancer, as a performer, the way that he learned choreography for the fights was [wonderful]. As a magician he’d come up with things on set where there’s this one moment when he flicks a pen off of the top of the briefcase with the latch and it flips over.

He could actually get it to do that. So there were all these things that his talent as a performer, as a dancer, magician really leant so much to this part and gave so much to this part. And then he just looks really cool. So we were all very impressed by him.