‘Kick-Ass’ director: ‘This movie has broken every rule’

April 14, 2010 | 10:09 p.m.

Kickass

 

Nursing a nasty Jack Daniels hangover, director Matthew Vaughn spent Wednesday morning doing the same thing he’s been doing for weeks: defending “Kick-Ass,” his ultra-violent and deliriously profane superhero film, which opens Friday.

“Awkward conversations? Oh, yeah, are you joking? It’s every day. It’s every day. And, of course, the people that do complain, 99% of them haven’t seen the film. I tell them, ‘Go see the movie and then call me up after and I’ll chat as long as you want, I’d be interested in your opinion.’ And a lot of those people call up and tell me, ‘I don’t know how to say this, but I loved it.'”

Love it or hate it, “Kick-Ass” is one of the most audacious films of the year, a sort of loopy R-rated mash-up with the loser-turned-hero mythology of “Spider-Man,” the mayhem fetish of “Fight Club” and the high-school nihilism of “Heathers.”

Kickass comics

 The movie, which was written by Vaughn (he’s also the producer along with Brad Pitt) and Jane Goldman and based on the Marvel Comics series of the same name, asks the question, “What would happen if costumed crime fighters showed up on the streets of real-world New York instead of imaginary Gotham City?” The answer, of course, isn’t pretty.

The film is a black comedy but there’s a dash of the creepy vigilante fantasy of Travis Bickle and “Taxi Driver,” and like that 1976 film, this new movie is stirring controversy because of a young female actress presented in a lurid role. In the Martin Scorsese urban-loner classic, it was a 13-year-old Jodie Foster playing a young hooker; in “Kick-Ass,” it’s 13-year-old Chloë Moretz as Hit Girl, a whirling martial-arts killer with a shockingly salty mouth.

The movie has already attained a certain amount of infamy for the word that Moretz growls with her first line in the film — it’s a particularly blistering bit of dialogue. Moretz has been telling interviewers that if she ever uttered that particular word beyond the movie set she would be “grounded for life.” It’s a cute line but the creative team behind “Kick-Ass” is bracing for a barrage of criticism when the film opens wide. “It’s not something we did as a stunt or something, it is provocative but it fits the character and the story and spirit of the comic book and the film,” said Goldman, who was the co-writer of the 2007 film “Stardust” and is married to British television personality Jonathan Ross.

Goldman added that as a parent herself she didn’t take the issue lightly.  “Everything that happens in the film is true to the characters. But as you can probably tell, there weren’t lines we weren’t going to cross.”

By all accounts, Moretz, who trained intensely with gymnasts and at a circus school, steals the film with her wild-child warrior. The youngster has a number of high-profile projects coming up, including the Scorsese adaptation of “The Invention of Hugo Cabret” and the vampire film “Let Me In.”

“The temperature just rises and rises as soon as she comes up on the screen,” Vaughn said. “I’m sitting there and in weird way I’m just counting the minutes until she shows up because I know when Hit Girl is on the screen we have the audience, we’ve got them. And people that see her know what she’s accomplished. She wasn’t sexualized, it wasn’t gratuitous, it was fun and she comes off as a great, fully realized female heroine.”

At the center of the film is Dave Lizewski, portrayed by 19-year-old British actor Aaron Johnson, who will portray John Lennon in “Nowhere Boy,” slated for an October release. Lizewski is essentially Peter Parker without the good grades — or the super powers. Eager to see what would happen if he emulated his heroes in comic books, he gets himself a lime-colored wetsuit via mail order and goes into the do-gooder business, nearly getting himself killed in the process.

Lizewski calls himself Kick-Ass and becomes a YouTube sensation, but the film goes into a different gear when he crosses paths with the strange father-daughter hero team of Big Daddy, played by Nicolas Cage, and Hit Girl. They’re looking to take down a crime lord (Mark Strong from “Sherlock Holmes”) who has a son (Christopher Mintz-Plasse of “Superbad”) who dons a costume himself.

The movie represents a unique moment in comic-book films; it’s not an adaptation, per se, because the script for the film was being written as the comics series by Mark Millar and John Romita Jr. was still being created. The property was scooped up before the first issue was published and then the film team and the comics creators collaborated.

Hit Girl

 

“This movie has broken every rule,” the director said. “The way it was made, the way it was written, the way it was financed, the way it was directed. We didn’t do anything by the book. Maybe that’s why it feels so fresh,” said Vaughn, who financed the reported $30-million film himself.

The modern superhero cinema began with Bryan Singer’sX-Men” a decade ago and reached a zenith in 2008 with the bright charm of “Iron Man” and the grim gravity of “The Dark Knight.” The film premiered at the South by Southwest conference in Austin, Texas, and has been a sensation with fanboy audiences, such as the one last weekend at WonderCon in San Francisco, which cheered wildly for the cast.

The tracking for the film looks strong although it has a built-in challenge with its R-rating and the fact that some of its most eager consumers might not be able to get past the ticket window. Still, the appeal of a punk-rock take on the Peter Parker story (“No power, no responsibility,” as Goldman put it) may be irresistible to a generation raised on cape films.

Clark Duke, one of the co-stars of “Kick-Ass,” said that after this film, Hollywood may have a hard time finding a young audience willing to sit in the dark with stiff, conventional superhero movies. “I think every genre superhero movie after this will have to be reactionary,” Duke said. “I don’t see how you make, like, ‘Spider-Man 3’ or ‘Fantastic Four’ after you see this.”

— Geoff Boucher

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PHOTOS: Lionsgate

Comments


36 Responses to ‘Kick-Ass’ director: ‘This movie has broken every rule’

  1. Diane says:

    Thanks for ruining comic books for their intended audience…kids. Pitt, Johnson and Vaughn should be arrested for the corruption of a child, Miss Moretz, not to mention her greedy parents. This movie is revolting both in its premise, a father teaching his little girl the art of murder, and its dialogue which contains language beyond the pale for a sailor, much less a little girl. And Hollywood wonders why it gets no respect.

    • chelsea says:

      ohh shut up it was a great movie, and the girl was acting. you saint.

    • Mike says:

      Society will get what it reaps.

    • Kacie says:

      What are you a sailor? How do you know what is beyond a sailor's reach? The children's comic books are intended for children but they are absolutely not intended for kids. They aren't even really intended for Americans. They come from Japan and without their powerhouse, we wouldn't even be able to have Marvel. Moretz signed on to do the movie, they did not hold her down and force her to do it, and you do not know her parents. Hollywood may not get any respect but they sure do know how to make money. Did you even see the movie or are you just rattling your trap, Diane?

  2. Sam says:

    Yawn. No desire to see it. Seen everything in clips. Just over-sensationalized mayhem for over-desensitized teens. Thought there was a story at first about what it takes to become more of a hero in a gritty "real" world (and what that really means to the person taking that path) but then the scenes of Hit Girl completely turns it into an geek idiot's wet-dream. Ten year old girl that fights like Bruce Lee, chops men up like Arnold in Conan and shoots people like a John Woo character, breaking every rule it set with the young "Kick-Ass" being affected by the laws of physics and human anatomy. Says volumes about how action cinema and comic books have been turned into cartoon parodies of their forms with no regard for anything but piling on sick jokes upon sick jokes.

  3. everett says:

    HUGE!!!

  4. troy says:

    I'm a 40 something red-blooded man, but even I don't like what movies stand for today. With all the violence, nudity of men and women, and horrid language, I very rarely go see movies anymore.
    But I'm sure the theaters will be full of "parents" towing their young ones to see this trash.

  5. Brian says:

    So I assume everyone commenting here has seen the movie. Beyond that, sometimes the idea of justice is pristine nor is the means by which it is attained. I know everyone wants a white Jesus but sadly, or not, history is filled with actions in which the ends DID justify the means for the sake of good. I look forward to seeing this movie so I can understand it and then offer an educated opinion.

  6. Jet Black says:

    The creator of the movie title knew well that this idea would cause controversy concerning young children speaking profanity each time they speak the name of the movie title. It may be a joke to the creator but it won't be a laughing matter for the future society he's helping to create. Good parents go out of their way trying to raise their children to have respect, good manners, and good morals, so they can grow up to be productive citizens being a help to society. With the latest assault enticing children to use profanity each time they speak movie titles along with all the other filth coming from tinseltown, Hollywood seem to purposely go out of their way making it very difficult for parents to accommblish their duty of raising productive citizens by targeting children with adult themes. When parents fail to do their job correctly concerning their children, do you know the potential of the type of future it will bring? I will tell you. Society will end up with a lot more Ted bundy, John Gacy, Green River killers, Ed Gein, Charles Manson, Mary Cotton, Mary Tinning, etc.. So if you truly want a future society where people like these will become the norm, continue to keep pushing the envolope and laughing about it.

    • Guy #2 says:

      So swearing equals no respect, bad manners, and bad morals? So yes I do want a society where people who use profanity will be become the norm. What's the big deal?

    • Kacie says:

      If its such a big freaking deal, LEAVE YOUR KIDS AT HOME! Take them to see Winnie-the-pooh or something. No matter how hard you try to "protect" them, they hear worse things than what is in this movie as they walk through their 5th grade classroom! And then, they WILL grow up someday and you won't be there to tell them they CAN'T go see something. All the people who try to protect their kids just end up over-sheltering them and that will ruin them for good.

  7. sean ikon says:

    Comics havent been for kids since about 1965.

  8. James Dawson says:

    Really enjoyed the article (and I love the movie, which I've seen twice now at pre-release screenings), but here is one small correction: The article says "The movie has already attained a certain amount of infamy for the word that Moretz growls with her first line in the film." Actually, the "c" word is in the first line Moretz says when she is dressed as Hit Girl, but not her first line in the film. We see her earlier in regular clothes, getting shot by her dad to test her bullet-proof vest.

  9. CMC says:

    I think it looks like a lot of fun. Reading the comments from the detractors, I am reminded that many people apparently have no idea that some movies are just supposed to be ridiculous, silly fun. I will see it, though I don't know if I'll be able to convince my wife to go with me!

  10. David says:

    Have you read the comic or seen the film? The film is rated R for a reason. If you can not stand the violence and the language then DO NOT go see it or read any article about this film. Mark Millar and Romita are fantasic writers and should be able to create comics aimed for mature audiences and not just for children. I for one am going to see this movie opening day. I enjoyed the first comic arc and looking forward to the next one. By the way, I am also going to be 21 years old so comics just are not for kids.
    Bottom Line: If you think it is wrong DO NOT click on a article about it and DO NOT take yourself or your children to go see!

  11. Arcadian says:

    People, people, no need to go overboard with your hatred, If you have forgotten "ITS JUST A MOVIE!!!" if you cannot grasp that notion, then maybe you should stay indoors and dont come out into the world. Its look funny Who care if it was intended for kids. kids today are wearing their pant to the ground and nobody saying anything about that. So bring on the humor, Violence or non-violence, who cares. We need some fresh movies instead of all these REMAKES of every old movie out there. Lets hope KICK ASS does well if not It'll be DVD with three weeks after release in theaters.
    Hasta la VISTA BABY!!!

  12. Mike says:

    Guys, I've seen this twice now and is a fantastic film. the violence isn't the violence you would expect and it is easily shrugged off with a variety of distractions. The film was made for fans of the Kick-Ass comics who are mainly adults and they will all love it. I'd never heard of Kick-Ass but am quite happy to go watch it again. Best film I've seen since Dark Knight.
    Enjoy the film anyone going to see it.

  13. Ely says:

    kids are exposed to far worse in everyday life or even on the nightly news. how many of these self-righteous "parents" have bought their kid a toy gun for xmas?

  14. Dr. Wcmillionairre says:

    "kids are exposed to far worse in everyday life or even on the nightly news. how many of these self-righteous "parents" have bought their kid a toy gun for xmas?"
    Actually, I bought my daughter a REAL gun, and thought her how to shoot.
    She is now a heart surgeon at Johns Hopkins…

  15. wayne says:

    'Thanks for ruining comic books for their intended audience…kids. Pitt, Johnson and Vaughn should be arrested for the corruption of a child, Miss Moretz, not to mention her greedy parents. This movie is revolting both in its premise, a father teaching his little girl the art of murder, and its dialogue which contains language beyond the pale for a sailor, much less a little girl. And Hollywood wonders why it gets no respect.'
    Kick-Ass the comic is not aimed at children and the foul language in the movie is lifted directly from the source. If Ms Moretz's parents should be arrested, they had better round up the parents of Jodie Foster, Kirsten Dunst, Natalie Portman, Brooke Shields and bunch of other child actresses that have been 'exploited'. Oh, and Hollywood had nothing to do with Kickass, it's almost entirely a British production with very little American involvement. Vaughn touted the project to every major American studio but they all rejected it, safe in the knowledge that the ignorant masses will always lap up the latest 3d franchise crapfest. I'm betting you've not even seen the movie. . .

    • Amanda says:

      Accidentaly downvoted becaused I thought the idiot who posted what you were quoting had posted his comment twice. So right!

  16. Gene says:

    Well, I can see all the self-righteous people are out in full force on this one. First off, it is not a movie for children, check the rating. Second of all, if parents are concerned about what their children are watching then that issue should have been addressed years ago, way before this movie was made. I've not seen the movie, however I plan to. As a 40-year old man I've been a fan of comics since my own childhood and I have read each issue of this series. If you have a problem with it, don't see it.

  17. Eldobear says:

    What's next from him? A porn movie with a 10-year-old on her back?
    What has happened to society in America, any morality left here?
    This is plain sick, and people who take their kids to see it are very sick.
    And we ask ourselves why kids today cuss like a drunken sailor, or worse, kill other kids?
    PS: I am not a religious nut, in fact, I am an atheist. I just believe that there is a limit to everything, and this movie has gone beyond one of them, with a kid killing people with no sign of guilt or regret.

  18. The Bell says:

    If you find the corruption, compromise and graft which are ubiquitous in American society more tolerable than a bit of earthy language, you may be in for a shock when you finally see Kick Ass instead of being vicariously shocked by the lemon-faced whining of craven pundits.
    If you believe karaoke culture a la American Idol, Fame and Glee are the epitome of human accomplishment you may not like this film, but that's just because it sucks being you.
    Everybody else, go see it. You'll be pleasantly surprised.

  19. Kenyon says:

    You want to know why this movie is a hit? Why it is the redemption of the comic book genre instead of its gruesome demise? Because it is a fantasy that this generation can finally believe in. We are too wise to believe that anyone can get justice without getting hurt or blood on their own hands, or that it will be completely satisfactory. The heroes are not cheery or wholesome, and they cannot save the world – they have a hard enough time taking down a rather un-fantastic megalomaniacal kingpin. The world feels real, and the fantasy is that an individual or two can walk in and fix it – that with the right training and motivation even an eleven year old girl can walk in and "kick their ass".
    This is not for kids not just because of the language and violence, this is a movie for adults because kids are not cynical enough to appreciate it.

  20. John G says:

    Gaaaa!!!! I feel like a 13 year old listening to all these people talk about this movie in such a politically correct sort of way. GAAA! I'm glad I don't live anywhere near all these politically correct old farts! Great movie! I loved it. Cool beyond compare! Original! Hollywood hates it! I think the little girl will do just fine. Its "Don't take any chances Hollywood" and the boring PC crowd who forgot what it was like to be young, I fear for. They are sooo… booooooring… Makes me won't to plug my ears with all the the non stop, we know better than you, we are the establishment B.S. Gaaa!!!! Hollywood needs its own version of The Sex Pistols to shake things up a bit and this is a start.

  21. Joe says:

    I haven't seen this movie yet. But based on what I've seen from the trailers, it strikes me as a modern exploitation film with budget. And as a huge fan of 70's and 80's exploitation cinema, I'm looking forward to seeing it. I'm getting really tired of seeing great older movies being being butchered and remade into substandard clones thirty years later by studios who prefer mediocrity to originality. Kick-Ass looks cool, slick, and fresh. This movie is obviously for people who grew up reading comics and have grown into adults who still like comics. If you're worried about the movie having a negative effect on your kids, then don't take them to see it. Simple as that.

  22. PubbyPab says:

    Well, I've finally lived long enough to hear someone say "comic books have been turned into cartoon parodies of their forms" without irony.
    Speaking of irony, I love the folks who are getting all upset about an 11-year-old girl exhibiting the same wanton violence that Bruce Willis and the like have been dishing out for years now. It's one of K-A's best jokes.

  23. cali says:

    Instead of waiting in line, order your Kick-Ass tickets at <a href="http://www.kickass-themovie.com” target=”_blank”>www.kickass-themovie.com!

  24. Roland says:

    First of all, this is NOT a kid's movie. I wouldn't even take a teen to see it. They wouldn't get a lot of what's between the lines.
    I'm 38 and I was curious about the film, so I dragged my wife to see it. She wasn't very enthused. I'm not a fanboy and I had no idea it was a comic series before I read this article.
    I loved the film. It was a great, great movie. My wife laughed the loudest and admits that it was a great experience. It is smart and fresh and different and well made. It doesn't feel like Hollywood. It feels real in a fantastic way. I felt something that I rarely feel after leaving a theater. I felt better than when I went in. I felt full and satsfied with the experience. I never see movies twice, but I'd sit through this again if it means I can share it with a sceptic.
    So, don't take your kid to see it. Take your mom, take your aunt, take your minister, take your best friend. Then, watch them laugh and cheer as a tiny, vulerable child beats the crap out of everyone without being a victim.

  25. Sam says:

    I really wish you adults would just lighten up. I am an average 17 year old kid exposed to much worse than hearing a little 13 year old utter the "c" word everyday at school. Personally, I absolutely loved this movie! The idea is fresh and true to the comic and the concept of a little girl kicking everyone's butt is pretty awesome within itself but back to the main point. As many of you have already posted, if you can't handle a little imaginative and outlandish entertainment, stay home and watch something that you can handle. As it does have an R rating with the warnings of gratuitous violence and language, it's not a kids movie. After I saw this movie, I thought the critics and blogs would be raving about it instead of this useless banter about a little kid cussing. SO WHAT!? I know I busted out laughing at that line and I'm sure all of you adults have said and or done much worse than the "c" word as kids. If you can't face that this is just the way society is in that kids cuss up a storm and do things that older folks will never understand, then you all need a serious reality check! This is the cycle of things! It's truly sad these days that people can't handle a little unorthodox comedy. GROW UP!

  26. chris says:

    I never tought adult people have such ignorant and inmature opinions about a this movie ! come on people its the year 2010 , do you know that kids now a days learn more about drugs,bad words,sex, on school,streets and on other movies and tv series worst than Kick Ass,Us adults we should learn from our kids, come on open your eyes to reality and stop the ignorance. its the year 2010 for God sake.

  27. […] why it feels so fresh,” said Vaughn, who financed the reported $30-million film himself. <source> […]

  28. Notlikeyou says:

    Prudes.

    This film is fun. Shut up and keep your kids in your own house. Lock the door and throw away the key.

  29. asfgg says:

    90% of this film's audience are kids or teens. I'm almost certain of that because of all the easy to access movie streaming on the internet.

  30. JzJg says:

    EVERY KID I KNOW CUSSES. IF YOU SAY YOURS DOESN’T THEN I SAY “YA RIGHT”! THIS LITTLE GIRL WAS AWESOME! LIKE MANY COMMENTS BEFORE MINE- IF YOU DON’T WANT TI SEE IT THEN DON’T, IF YOU DON’T WANT YOUR KIDS TO SEE VIOLENCE LET ALONE HEAR CUSSING THEN LOCK THEM UP IN YOUR HOMES BECAUSE VIOLENCE IS OUT THERE AND SO IS PROFANITY! :*

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