Feb. 12, 2015 | 11:38 a.m.
Director Matthew Vaughn was having a pint with prolific comic book writer Mark Millar in a London pub when the two hit upon the idea of “Kingsman: The Secret Service.” The gleefully violent spy send-up/homage centers on the “Pygmalion”-style relationship between veteran agent Harry Hart (Colin Firth) and a new recruit from the wrong side of the tracks called “Eggsy” (Taron Egerton). “The good ideas happen very quickly,” Vaughn said late last month by phone from London. “When I’m inspired, they sort of write themselves, which this one did.” Several years and a limited-run series of comic books later, Vaughn is set to unveil the cinematic incarnation of “Kingsman” on Friday. It’s his second collaboration with Millar — they previously brought “Kick-Ass,” a profane tale of an unlikely superhero, to the screen — but it’s his third comic-book movie after […]
Feb. 05, 2015 | 5:00 a.m.
Mark Hamill might not have a lot of screen time in director Matthew Vaughn’s new film, “Kingsman: The Secret Service,” but what he has is certainly memorable. In the opening sequence, which arrives in theaters Feb. 13, Hamill watches an operatically violent tussle unfold inside the remote chalet where his character, a kidnapped professor, is being held. The blood-spattered action sets the tone for the gleefully violent R-rated sendup/love-letter to classic spy flicks. The scene likely will ring familiar to comic readers who know the Mark Millar-Dave Gibbons title that inspired the film (notably, the comic was co-created by Vaughn), though it does play out a bit differently on the big screen. Hamill is not, as he was in the comic, appearing as himself, nor is he listening to complaints about the inferior quality of the “Star Wars” prequels. In […]
Jan. 15, 2013 | 1:51 p.m.
Another day, another mystery about a director possibly signing on to be a part of the “Star Wars” universe. New York Magazine’s Vulture blog first reported that Zack Snyder had plans to make a “Seven Samurai”-inspired story set in a galaxy far, far away, but hours later, Snyder’s rep contradicted the story in The Hollywood Reporter, saying that the “Man of Steel” filmmaker had no such plans to develop a stand-alone Jedi epic for Lucasfilm loosely inspired by Akira Kurosawa’s 1954 classic. “While he is super-flattered because he is a huge fan, Zack is not involved in any way with the new ‘Star Wars,'” his rep told The Hollywood Reporter. “He is currently in post on his two films, ‘Man of Steel’ and ‘300: Battle of Artemisia.'” Vulture, however, has posted an update to its original story, stating that despite […]
Feb. 06, 2012 | 6:36 p.m.
BATFILMS OF THE FUTURE? The end is near — when the credits roll on “The Dark Knight Rises” this July, it will mark the end of Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy and the final adventure for Christian Bale as the caped crusader of Gotham City. Warner Bros. executives have made it clear they won’t leave the iconic property sitting on a shelf, however, and a new director and star tandem could be inhabiting Wayne Manor by 2014. But how on earth will any filmmaker follow the work of Nolan and company? Working together, Hero Complex lead writer Geoff Boucher and graphic artist Sean Hartter came up with 15 imaginary Batman reboots — and, yes, they did it with tongue in cheek. Matthew Vaughn’s “Batman: Mad City”: Maybe the future of Gotham is in the past? That approach worked in a big way for […]
Sept. 10, 2011 | 1:42 p.m.
“X-Men: First Class” just hit shelves on Blu-ray and DVD, a good reason for Hero Complex contributor Jevon Phillips to catch up with one of the top influences in the X-movies: producer Lauren Shuler Donner. Donner was excited about the release, mentioning that “every drawing and concept art and costume change” were saved to help fill out the release for fans. Alternate Blu-ray/DVD covers – ‘X-Men: First Class’ (Fox) Jevon Phillips: This installment was one of the best-reviewed films in the franchise, why do you think it connected so well with critics? Lauren Shuler Donner: It was a couple of factors. First, we grounded it with a real historical event, and didn’t skirt around the fact that this story would’ve taken place in the early ’60s. By basing it around the Cuban Missile Crisis, it gave it some credibility and took itself […]
June 05, 2011 | 7:23 a.m.
The sleekest superhero film of the summer is “X-Men: First Class,” and Steven Zeitchik has an astute look at the business moves behind the mutant epic that has taken a proven franchise into new territory. Here’s an excerpt, but read the whole piece (With “X-Men: First Class,” Fox tries a new mutation), which ran on the front page of Saturday’s Business section. Although the fifth installment in the franchise about superhero mutants resembles many of Hollywood’s summer offerings — a big-budget action movie based on a popular comic book series — the latest “X-Men” is a vastly different creature that presents some unique marketing challenges. The movie, which cost News Corp.-owned Fox and its two financial partners $160 million to produce before tax breaks, replaces its most bankable star, Hugh Jackman, with an ensemble of less proven younger actors led […]
June 04, 2011 | 7:26 a.m.
The mighty mutants of the Marvel Universe are back on the screen with “X-Men: First Class,” which hit theaters this weekend. The retro adventure begins in World War II and tracks through to the Cuban Missile Crisis to tell the secret history of mutants and set the stage for adventures shown in previously released films. There are a lot of new faces — good and evil mutants such as Azazel (played by Jason Flemyng), Banshee (Caleb Landry Jones), Riptide (Álex González) and Darwin (Edi Gathegi) — but we’ve put together a photo gallery that explains some of the connections (and disconnects) between this throw-back adventure and the four previous Fox films. Just click “CAPTIONS ON” to read it but be warned there are some mild spoilers in there. — Jevon Phillips and Noelene Clark RECENT AND RELATED January Jones stressed by sexy suits Why is Kevin Bacon […]
June 02, 2011 | 3:56 p.m.
“X-Men: First Class” star James McAvoy was back at his home in London on Wednesday and waiting for the film’s opening weekend with the mix of anxiety and excitement you might expect. The film, directed by Matthew Vaughn, has been enjoying some stellar early reviews, and the actor who now plays Charles Xavier can’t help wondering if that means he will be losing his hair and his on-screen sense of humor in the months and years to come. The Fox film that opens Friday is a prequel to previous “X-Men” films — this one is set in the 1940s and 1960s — and Vaughn and producer Bryan Singer have talked about two more films that would follow this new story and add chapters that would fall, chronologically, in the decades leading up to the earlier movies. In those, Patrick Stewart portrayed Xavier as a serious man with big thoughts […]
June 01, 2011 | 4:20 p.m.
A couple of years ago, Kevin Bacon needed a few degrees of separation from his fame. He daydreamed of a crowded place where people didn’t tug at his sleeve to gush about “Footloose” or quote “Diner.” Finally, he went to a Hollywood makeup specialist and invested in a custom-made disguise that was weirdly simple but completely effective. He paid the $500 and then, with an anxious glee, he took his new rubber face to the Grove shopping center to experience an afternoon without autographs. “You wouldn’t have recognized me if I was standing next to you,” Bacon said with a faraway expression. “It was really bizarre and I didn’t really like it. I didn’t like it at all. People cut in front of you and when you’re at a check-out counter it’s just … different. People weren’t all that nice […]
May 26, 2011 | 10:20 a.m.
Matthew Vaughn can be a loose cannon in interviews, but according to veteran actor Kevin Bacon, the director of “X-Men: First Class” is more of a cruel sharpshooter on the set. “He’s not gentle in the way he directs, to say the least,” said Bacon, who stars in the June 3 release from Fox. “Matthew would sit by the monitor and shout something that’s borderline insulting. But every time he said something — or screamed something — it was right on the mark.” In the period film, Bacon portrays mutant mastermind Sebastian Shaw, a megalomaniacal villain who is hoping to escalate the JFK-era Cold War into a full-on nuclear firefight. The movie is the latest entry in Fox’s franchise based on the X-Men and their mutant melodrama, which became a signature publishing sensation for Marvel Comics, especially in the 1980s and 1990s. Vaughn’s entry […]