Nicolas Cage came "really close" to playing the villain in 2011's The Green Hornet, a role that eventually went to Christoph Waltz.
In a lengthy interview with Vulture, co-writer and producer Seth 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."
Rogen mentioned that, although white Bahamians exist, the choice might have been "insensitive." The actor went with co-writer Evan Goldberg to have a dinner with Cage. Of course, Cage showed off his Bahamian accent "within 20 minutes of getting to the dinner" Rogen recalled that the accent was "good."
So why didn't Cage get cast? Well, according to Rogen, "I think he could so viscerally tell that we didn’t like the idea that he just left right in the middle of dinner. He was just like, 'I gotta go.' It was as if I just stood up right now with you and walked out. That’s how abrupt it was. Then he called me two days after that and said, 'I'm getting the sense that you don't want me in this movie.' That's what happened. But God bless Nicolas Cage. I'm a huge fan."
The Green Hornet originally made its debut as a serialized radio drama in the 1930s, and was later made into comics during ’40s. The series gained more popularity as a television show in the ’60s, which starred Van Williams as Britt Reid and Bruce Lee as Kato. Rogen's film adaptation released in 2011 to unfavorable reviews.
In 2016, Paramount Pictures announced that director Gavin O’Connor would helm a darker, grittier reboot. However, very little information about that film has materialized.