‘Kick-Ass 2’: Aaron Taylor-Johnson returns, ‘Avengers’ rumors swirl

Aug. 14, 2013 | 6:00 a.m.
kickass2 8 ‘Kick Ass 2’: Aaron Taylor Johnson returns, Avengers rumors swirl

Chloe Grace Moretz, left, Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Christopher Mintz-Plasse star in "Kick-Ass 2." (Universal Pictures)

kickass2 5 ‘Kick Ass 2’: Aaron Taylor Johnson returns, Avengers rumors swirl

Aaron Taylor-Johnson, left, Chloe Grace Moretz and director Jeff Wadlow on the set of "Kick-Ass 2." (Universal Pictures)

kickass2 4 ‘Kick Ass 2’: Aaron Taylor Johnson returns, Avengers rumors swirl

Director Jeff Wadlow, left, and star Aaron Taylor-Johnson on the set of "Kick-Ass 2." (Universal Pictures)

aarontaylorjohnson 4 ‘Kick Ass 2’: Aaron Taylor Johnson returns, Avengers rumors swirl

Aaron Taylor-Johnson is rumored to be close to signing on to play Quicksilver in “The Avengers: Age of Ultron.” (Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times)

aarontaylorjohnson 1 ‘Kick Ass 2’: Aaron Taylor Johnson returns, Avengers rumors swirl

“I go into a whole other mind-set when I’m in character,” says Aaron Taylor-Johnson. (Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times)

aarontaylorjohnson 3 ‘Kick Ass 2’: Aaron Taylor Johnson returns, Avengers rumors swirl

Aaron Taylor-Johnson shepherds his "Kick-Ass 2" character from boy to manhood. (Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times)

aarontaylorjohnson 2 ‘Kick Ass 2’: Aaron Taylor Johnson returns, Avengers rumors swirl

“Jeff [Wadlow] delivered a screenplay that took the characters to a whole new place and on a journey that was emotional,” says Aaron Taylor-Johnson of the "Kick-Ass 2" director. (Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times)

In the three years since he first slipped into green Lycra to portray Kick-Ass — an awkward teen turned wannabe superhero — much has changed for English actor Aaron Taylor-Johnson. He jumped from British TV heartthrob to American movie stardom, became a father and began to pop up in casting conversations about one of Hollywood’s juiciest roles: Christian Grey in the adaptation of E.L. James’ erotic bestseller “Fifty Shades of Grey” (which, not incidentally, will be directed by his wife, Sam Taylor-Wood).

When “Kick-Ass” was released in 2010, Taylor-Johnson was more indie film darling than caped crusader, having starred in the romantic drama “The Greatest” and “Nowhere Boy,” a John Lennon biopic, both of which played at Sundance. “Kick-Ass” initially didn’t look like a breakthrough role; the movie took in a fair $96 million worldwide on a $30-million production budget.

But “Kick-Ass” developed a cult following upon its DVD release and exposed Taylor-Johnson to a mainstream stateside audience. He went on to claim several more coveted parts last year, including a spiritual marijuana dealer-turned-gangster in Oliver Stone’s “Savages” and as Count Vronsky in director Joe Wright’s impressionistic adaptation of “Anna Karenina.”

Aaron Taylor-Johnson is photographed on Aug. 6, 2013. (Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times)

Aaron Taylor-Johnson is rumored to be close to signing on to play Quicksilver in “The Avengers: Age of Ultron.”  (Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times)

Now, if widespread reports in fanboy circles are to be believed, the 23-year-old is close to signing on to portray Quicksilver in “The Avengers: Age of Ultron,” sequel to last year’s superhero blockbuster “The Avengers,” the third highest-grossing film of all time. (Taylor-Johnson said if he’s hired, filming is set to begin in February.)

First, though, Taylor-Johnson is shepherding the Kick-Ass character through his own transformation from boy to manhood as “Kick-Ass 2” arrives in theaters this week.

Dressed in dark jeans and a muscle-hugging denim shirt, slouching at an outdoor table at Chateau Marmont, Taylor-Johnson appears relaxed about reprising the soft-spoken, tongue-tied hero Dave Lizewski, who couldn’t be more different from his own self-assured and talkative off-screen persona. “I go into a whole other mind-set when I’m in character,” he said. “I’m not me.”

In “Kick-Ass 2,” Dave bulks up and improves his crime-fighting skills with a new faction of costumed vigilantes after his partner, Hit-Girl (Chloë Grace Moretz), decides to hang up her cape. In short, Taylor-Johnson must transform into a new Kick-Ass while staying true to his earlier performance.

“I wanted it to feel like everyone around him has changed, except for Dave,” Taylor-Johnson said. “But you need to feel a similarity; he needs to feel familiar to you.”

Even in a summer filled with superhero sequels, prequels and reboots, “Kick-Ass 2” remains something of an outlier with the franchise’s continuing popularity resting squarely on Taylor-Johnson’s brawny shoulders.

Based on the Marvel Comics graphic novel by Mark Millar of the same name, the first “Kick-Ass” was distributed domestically by Lionsgate Films and directed by Matthew Vaughn (“X-Men: First Class,” “Layer Cake”).

With its alternately gritty and cartoonish violence and a hard-swearing turn by Moretz (who wasn’t yet a teenager when the film was shot), “Kick-Ass” wasn’t a stellar box-office success but went on to become the seventh most illegally downloaded film of all time, according to TorrentFreak. So when Lionsgate passed on the chance to develop a sequel, “Kick-Ass’” international distributor Universal Pictures stepped in and is putting out “Kick-Ass 2” both domestically and globally.

WATCH: Why Lionsgate passed on ‘Kick-Ass 2′

Whereas the first film found Hit-Girl and Kick-Ass navigating the pressures of school and costumed vigilantism, “Kick-Ass 2” follows Dave as he takes up with a new group of would-be Avengers battling a group of violent villains led by Chris D’Amico (Christopher Mintz-Plasse reprising his role as a character with a hilariously vulgar name that’s unprintable in a family newspaper).

Chloe Grace Moretz, left, Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Christopher Mintz-Plasse star in "Kick-Ass 2." (Universal Pictures)

Chloe Grace Moretz, left, Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Christopher Mintz-Plasse star in “Kick-Ass 2.” (Universal Pictures)

Grabbing the franchise reins from Vaughn, writer-director Jeff Wadlow (the 2005 horror-mystery “Cry Wolf,” 2008′s MMA drama “Never Back Down”) took “Kick-Ass 2” in a different direction. “Jeff delivered a screenplay that took the characters to a whole new place and on a journey that was emotional,” Taylor-Johnson said. “He brought humor back to it.”

Wadlow said he appreciated Taylor-Johnson’s lack of pretense and insistence on wearing the same glasses, baggy jeans and ratty T-shirts he wore in the first “Kick-Ass.” “He looks like a huge dork,” Wadlow said. “A lot of actors want to look cool, but Aaron was adamant that he look the same.”

Despite his ability to channel a high school dork, Taylor-Johnson is a family man these days, having married his “Nowhere Boy” director Taylor-Wood, 46, in 2012 and incorporated her Taylor into his last name. They have two children together.

Since June, when Taylor-Wood was hired to direct “Fifty Shades,” fans have speculated whether Taylor-Johnson might take on the role of the kinky male protagonist. But he waves off the discussion, pointing out he’s a bit young to portray the 27-year-old character.

As for a third “Kick-Ass,” he’s not ruling out the possibility. “We have to see how this one pans out,” the actor said. “There’s no rush with them. It needs to have time to sit and digest. We’ll come back when we’re ready.”

– DiAngelea Millar

Follow us on Twitter: @LATherocomplex

RECENT AND RELATED

KICKASS_2_3_CoverComic-Con: ‘Kick-Ass 2′ panel packed with action

Mark Millar’s rape comments: Comics world responds

‘Kick-Ass 2′ trailer: Hit Girl and Kick-Ass return

‘Kick-Ass’: Mark Millar knows exactly how it will all end

Image Expo: New projects from Brubaker, Millar, more

‘Guardians of the Galaxy’: Vin Diesel talks Groot role

Angelina Jolie unveils ‘Maleficent’ at D23

‘Thor: The Dark World’ takes Natalie Portman to Asgard

‘Hunger Games: Catching Fire’ trailer: Jennifer Lawrence back in action

Comments


One Response to ‘Kick-Ass 2’: Aaron Taylor-Johnson returns, ‘Avengers’ rumors swirl

  1. Garfield says:

    Gamers need to find a way to stay ahead of the pack.

    GTA V has developed an incredible alternative option to the Call

    of Duty series. Heres my speculation, they saved features from the original

    game to attract more buyers to the content.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title="" rel=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <pre> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Close
E-mail It
Powered by ShareThis