Based on the R-rated comic book series by writer Mark Millar and artist John Romita, Jr., Kick-Ass is an R-rated witty, ironic and, yes, very violent film shot while the comics were still being released. Offered to major studios, it was turned down, made independently, and directed by Matthew Vaughn, then was picked up by Lionsgate and already looks like it’s going to be a smash, with talk of a sequel already rumbling just as the movie hits theaters.
The film’s main characters are teenage kids who decide to become real-life superheroes, such as the title character played by Aaron Johnson and Christopher Mintz-Plasse (McLovin in Superbad) as Red Mist, along with Nicolas Cage as adult very dark, dark knight Batman-ish Big Daddy, and Chloe Moretz (who shined in the family-friendly Diary of the Wimpy Kid) in a break-out star turn as the foul-mouthed, gun-toting daughter, Hit Girl.
Buzzine took part in a press roundtable for Kick-Ass and spoke with Chris and Chloe:
Darryl Morden: It’s one thing to get a part; it’s another thing to get a part with a cool costume. Did that help explain the role, and did it not matter as long as you’re wearing a cool outfit?
Christopher Minz-Plasse: You’ll play the role either way, but when you’re playing a kid who loves comic books so much, he’s loved it his whole life and now he has a chance to be a superhero…my character has a lot of money so he can make the really sweet costumes, and he did. It was incredible. I kind of felt like that character. I’ve never worn anything that bad-ass before, so I felt really cool wearing it.
Chloe Moretz: And look at him now, he’s so not…
CMP: I know…
CM: It really helps getting in character.
DM: Chloe, your character has some language from the comic book in the movie. Did you or your parents ever hesitate for a second?
CM: Everything I said or did in the movie was in the script, and my mom read the script before I did. We knew it was a very unique role — a role that was challenging and it was a role of a lifetime that most kids wouldn’t play.
CMP: I remember on the set, there was one word, the key word, that your mom was kind of skeptical about, and they did like nine takes.
DM: What did you think of the character of Hit Girl when you were told about it?
CM: You never know. You read the script, you connect with the character, you never really know where it’s going to go.
CMP: I could tell Hit Girl was going to be the best character — one of them that’s good, so bad-ass. It really is — you steal every scene you’re in.
CM: Aw, little Chrissy-boo…
CMP: It’s all jealousy…
DM: Were you aware of the comic before you got the movie script?
CMP: When I got the script, only issue one was out, and my dad had it ‘cause he’s a massive comic book fan and he collects everything. So he had issue one and I read it and I loved it. Once I got the part, Mark Millar started emailing me every issue because he wanted us to be on the up-and-up with the comic.
DM: What does your dad think about it, since he’s a comic collector?
CMP: He’s the biggest John Romita and Mark Millar fan. He drew a mural of Iron Man on my brother’s wall when he was eight, and it’s a copy of John Romita’s Iron Man. So when he came to the set, he brought that picture, and Johnny and Mark autographed it and seven different copies of the comics; he was such a nerd. But he’s seen the movie and loved it and can’t wait to see it again.
DM: Chloe, had you ever handled that much firepower before in movies or real life?
CM: I’ve shot a gun before because my dad said, in self-defense, you should know just how to shoot one. I’ve only shot one once, a real one. But other than that, in the movie, it’s all fake. The kickback is like nothing. You’re in costume and cartridges pop out, it’s fun. But yeah, it’s very dangerous, something could malfunction. If a cartridge pops out while you’re running, it can hit you in the face, you never know.
DM: How did you like working with Nicolas Cage?
CM: It was really cool. He’s such as amazing actor.
DM: Chris, in public, you’ve been recognized one way for Superbad. You think that might change a little bit?
CMP: Possibly. I’d prefer it if people went, “Hey Chris,” instead of “Red Mist!” But I’m most grateful for that – I love the roles. As long as I keep working, whatever they yell at me, it’s okay. People recognize me in the street when they drive by and yell, “McLuvin’” How they see me that quickly, I don’t know.
DM: Would you like to do more comic book movies?
CMP: I would love to, but it’s hard – it requires strength and superpowers, and I don’t have strength. The only reason I got this one was they are regular kids pretending to be superheroes, and that’s something I could nail. Jane Goldman, who wrote the script, sort of loosely wrote the character around me because she knew I was auditioning, so it was all right there. The humor in the first act and then he gets all dark — that was all Jane.
DM: Chloe, you’ve had quite a year already with a rave performance in Diary of a Wimpy Kid and now more raves for Kick-Ass (plus she’s going to be working with Martin Scorsese among her upcoming projects). These are two markedly different films – one for the family, the other clearly for adults and older teens, but certainly not younger kids…
CM: Parents could take their kids to see Diary of a Wimpy Kid, whereas adults might go see Kick-Ass and say, “Woa, is that the same girl? My kids loved her.” Yeah, it’s two different audiences, but it’s fun. I like having a bunch of different types of fans.