The Green Hornet | 2011
So what went wrong? Maybe the plot points have become all too predictable (playboy overshadowed by memory of a dead parent, sidekick who comes up with brilliant toys, stalwart friend of the family who turns out to be treacherous in the last act…) or casting Seth Rogen against type just didn’t work. Individual set pieces and the visual flourishes are striking, though.
The headquarters of Stark Industries… no, Wayne Enterprises… no, wait a minute – the Daily Sentinel, where James Reid (Tom Wilkinson) rules over his newspaper empire, is 2000 Avenue of the Stars, Century City, the home of Creative Artists Agency. The building’s seen a lot of action recently – did you recognise it standing in for a futuristic ‘San Francisco’ during the foot chase in Star Trek Into Darkness?)
Meanwhile, young Britt Reid (Seth Rogen) is partying, trashing his room and following the time-honoured rich kid tradition of throwing television sets out of the window, at the classy Standard Hotel, 8300 West Sunset Boulevard, West Hollywood.
If it weren’t for the extravagant size, you could be forgiven for thinking that the vast Reid family estate was a purpose-built set. It has the slightly creepy look of a classical style building with no sign of age – which is because, at the time of filming, it was less than ten years old and barely lived in.
It’s the Fleur de Lys estate, 350 North Carolwood Drive in the über-posh enclave of Holmby Hills. It was built by a Texan gajillionaire for his wife, who promptly got it in a divorce settlement. In 2008, it held the title of most expensive house on the market, at $125 million.
The design is supposedly based on France’s Vaux-le-Vicomte (though the resemblance is pretty vague), which you might remember as the home of Bond villain Hugo Drax in Moonraker. You won’t be surprised to hear that there’s not a lot of Fleur de Lys visible from the road.
The cemetery, where Reid and Cato (Jay Chou) decapitate the statue of Reid Sr is one of Hollywood’s grand old institutions. It’s the Hollywood Forever Cemetery, 6000 Santa Monica Boulevard. Among its permanent residents are such cinematic luminaries as Cecil B De Mille, John Huston, Tyrone Power, both Douglas Fairbanks, Peter Finch, Fay Wray, Hattie McDaniel and, of course, there’s the crypt of Rudolph Valentino. It’s also the last resting place of Virginia Rappe (the woman whose death sparked the Fatty Arbuckle scandal), Marion Davies (partner of William Randolph Hearst and the inspiration for Susan Alexander in Citizen Kane) and Hollywood’s original movie star, Florence Lawrence (the first screen actor to be known by name). You can see the cemetery again in Robert Altman’s The Player. If you’re planning to visit, there’s a useful interactive map.
DA Scanlon (David Harbour) assures the press that the Green Hornet no more than a prank when he’s questioned by the press as he exits Los Angeles City Hall.
The imposing Fifties carwash, where Reid and Cato take out the traffic camera, is the Lennox Car Wash, 10709 Hawthorne Boulevard at Lennox Boulevard in Inglewood, which you’ll find just east of LAX.
Reid and Scanlon meet up at since-closed Japanese restaurant Gonpachi, which stood at 134 North La Cienega Boulevard in Beverly Hills. The Japanese chain spent millions importing 300-year-old wooden houses to transform the old Ed Debevic's into its first American outpost – but to no avail, it seems. It was a Gonpachi restaurant in Japan, by the way, which inspired the ‘Crazy 88’ scene in Kill Bill Vol 1.
The furious road chase starts out on the real streets of LA, but soon switches to the quarter-mile long parking structure atop the currently closed Hawthorne Plaza, 12124 Hawthorne Boulevard, Hawthorne, south Los Angeles. A stretch of K-rail cleverly turned the Mall’s roof into a stretch of easily controlled freeway without the need to hold up traffic for the elaborate stunts. You can see the Mall itself in Steven Spielberg’s Minority Report, in David Fincher's Gone Girl and also in Ivan Reitman’s Evolution. As of 2016, there are plans finally to demolish the empty mall.
The chase ends in the print room of the LA Times, 202 West 1st Street at Spring Street, downtown (which was unsurprisingly recreated digitally for the shot where Black Beauty actually crashes through the printing press).
The LA Times Building has also been seen in classic 1950 noir D.O.A., Dreamgirls and Lions For Lambs. If you’re fascinated by hard-copy publishing, there are (free) one-hour tours of its historic building and printing facility, twice a month.