“Kick-Ass” has given Nicolas Cage one of the quirkier films roles of his career — and that’s saying something — but the 46-year-old actor brought plenty of his own to the part of Big Daddy, including the idea of imitating Adam West and his stiff, staccato version of superhero speak.
Cage plays a revenge-crazed ex-cop whose life is destroyed when a local crime lord frames him for a crime that leads to hard time. After his release from the penitentiary, he dons a mask and costume and goes after the mob boss with a young sidekick — Hit Girl (Chloë Grace Moretz), a sweet-looking 11-year-old who talks like a longshoreman and fights like a ninja.
Cage arrived on the set of “Kick-Ass” with a plan to imitate the kooky diction of West, the star of “Batman,” the ABC series that practically defined 1960s camp. But he didn’t bother to tell anyone before the cameras started rolling, which left director Matthew Vaughn, Moretz and costar Aaron Johnson momentarily baffled.
“It was totally his idea. and I didn’t know it was coming,” Vaughn said. “The first day around, he started in with that and I’m thinking, ‘This guy can’t act!’ What the hell is happening? I started freaking out. And after about 30 seconds, the panic in my brain calmed down, and I realized exactly what he was doing.”
The 39-year-old Vaughn grew up with reruns of the old Gotham City farce, of course, but the same could not be said of the younger members of his cast.
“Poor Chloë and Aaron are looking at me. … So I say, ‘OK, get it, Nic. I get what you’re doing, brilliant idea, continue.’ Then of course I had to explain it all to Chloë who of course had no idea who Adam West was. I think they all thought Nic was just nuts and, you know, that’s not so bad for the movie.”
— Geoff Boucher
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Photos: “Kick-Ass” images. Credit: Lionsgate. Adam West as Batman. Credit: Los Angeles Times