“Kick-Ass” is the over the top, ultra-violent Icon comic book by superstar writer Mark Millar and legendary comic book artist John Romita, Jr., and has now been made in to a feature film directed by Matthew Vaughn (“Stardust”) and staring Nicolas Cage. The film, which was made without a studio’s help and funded by Vaughn using his own money, has recently been picked up for distribution by Lionsgate and will be released sometime next year.
“Kick-Ass” centers on David, an ordinary teenager who decides to put on a costume and become a real-life super-hero. After getting his ass kicked by a local gang, David takes on the persona of Kick-Ass, and quickly becomes the darling of the media. As David begins to navigate his way through the superhero community, as well as High School, he meets three fellow costumed heroes. He briefly teams up with Red Mist, played by Christopher Mintz-Plasse (“Superbad”), who turns out to not be everything that he appears to be. Kick-Ass also comes across a father and daughter vigilante team, Big Daddy (Nicolas Cage) and Hit Girl, played by Chloe Moretz (“The Amityville Horror”). Clarke Duke (“Clark & Michael”) also stars as Marty, one of David’s comic book-reading friends.
CBR News had the opportunity to sit down with Chloe Moretz, Clark Duke and Christopher Mintz-Plasse at July’s Comic-Con International in San Diego. The three young actors spoke freely about the film’s production, adapting it from the comic book, working with Nicolas Cage, wearing superhero costumes and some of their favorite comic books.
CBR: To begin with, were any of you familiar with the “Kick-Ass” comic book before you got your roles?
CHLOE MORETZ: I didn’t know about the comic book until I read the script. About a month earlier -- seriously this is not a fake or a lie -- about a month before my agent and my manager got the script “Kick-Ass,” “Wanted” came out. It was on all the busses and me and my Mom were driving in the car and I literally said to my Mom, “Mom, I want a Angelina Jolie ’Wanted’ role.” Then a month later the “Kick-Ass” script came out and I was like, “Oh, my gosh.” So I read it and I was literally dying. I was like, “I have to have this role.” It’s insane. It’s probably one of the craziest roles of ever done. Well, not probably, definitely.
CHRISTOPHER MINTZ-PLASSE: I read the first issue before I read the script and then read the script and got the part. Then issue two and three came out and I’ve just been reading them ever since.
CLARK DUKE: I’ve read everything Mark Millar has done since he did “The Authority.”
Are any of you comic book fans yourselves?
MORETZ: Oh, I love comic books. My Dad actually used to collect comic books so he as all the old first copies and crazy stuff like that.
MINTZ-PLASSE: This guy [Clark Duke] is a huge fan. I’m not. My Dad’s a huge comic book fan.
DUKE: I’m a lifelong comic guy. I read “Final Crisis.” I’ve been out of the country, shooting for like three months, so I haven’t read anything in a little bit. Yesterday, I went and picked up a huge stack of stuff. I got the new Grant Morrison “Batmen & Robin.” It’s so great, man, and I’m finding that I really like Dick Grayson as Batman for some reason. I got the new Darwyn Cooke thing, “The Hunter.” I haven’t read it yet. I got David Mazzucchelli’s new hardcover. It’s a really beautiful book. I got the first three “Wednesday Comics.” I just got back in town, to L.A., like three days ago so I went to the comic store yesterday and bought literally a box of comics. I go to Comics Ink in Culver City a lot.
Were your families concerned at all about you starring in a film with so much violence in it?
MORETZ: Well, when we read the script we knew what we were doing. We knew that it would be huge and we knew that it would be an honor to work with Nicolas Cage and Matthew Vaughn. It’s probably one of the best casts I’ve ever worked with and I’ve been very fortunate to meet some of the nicest people in the business.
Was it fun wearing the superhero costumes?
MORETZ: It was amazing. I’ve never been able on any movie to do that and to just be able to put that costume on and say, “I’m a super-hero in ‘Kick-Ass’ playing Hit Girl” is an honor. It’s crazy.
MINTZ-PLASSE: At first it was awesome and then three months later it really started to wear on me. The cape tugs in the ass and it’s smelly.
Was there any chance to improvise on set?
MINTZ-PLASSE: Doing a movie like “Superbad” or “Sex Drive,” you’re freer to improvise because that’s kind of what the whole movie is. This one is very structured, this goes there and this goes here. But I did have some time to do some improv in there and so did Chloe.
DUKE: I had more probably because all my stuff is just dialogue. I don’t have any fight scenes. I’m more the non-superhero guy so I don’t have any fights or anything.
Finally, what was it like working with Nicolas Cage?
MORETZ: Well you always learn things from people like that especially Oscar winners. It’s insane because I got to work with him and I never in a million years thought I would be able to work with him. It was probably just the coolest thing that I’ve ever done in my life.
Actually, after I read the script, I went in for it and I booked the role. So I sat down with Matthew and we talked about the whole thing. We discussed what he wanted to do and what I wanted to do. I actually had a meeting with Matthew, Nic Cage and my Mom. We all met in this little cabin in the countryside of London and we just sat there and had tea, talked about the script, talked about what we wanted to do with our characters and basically bonded. That’s how the camera shoot got started between me and Nic. He’s an amazing guy.
DUKE: I never met him.
MINTZ-PLASSE: I worked with him for two hours. I made him laugh once so I felt good about myself for five minutes and then went back to shooting the movie.
DUKE: But the way you made him laugh was you said, “Do you want to get dinner later?” Right?
MINTZ-PLASSE: I said, “Hey, you seem like a sweet guy, do you want to get …” and then he laughed at me.
“Kick-Ass” busts into theatres next year.