"Kick-Ass" had a huge presence at WonderCon this year, with attendees unable to look anywhere without seeing one of the t-shirts given away at the flashy "Kick-Ass" booth. Even the WonderCon program book, given out to everyone, featured the movie on it's back cover.
The film's Saturday evening panel was packed, and the guest list was impressive. John Romita Jr. (penciller), Jane Goldman (screenwriter), Clark Duke (Marty), Aaron Johnson (Kick-Ass), Nicolas Cage (Big Daddy), Chloe Moretz (Hit-Girl) and Christopher Mintz-Plasse (Red Mist) all filed into the room t thunderous applause.
The moderator kicked things off by discussing with Romita Jr. the process of working on the comic and movie simultaneously. "In the production office, they had rough sketches because there were issues that still were in process, they weren't done yet. Red Mist, for example, hadn't even been introduced while they were in the middle of production."
"The costumes are completely different," replied Romita Jr. "Nothing close about it. I think they just kept the 'M' logo from mine, that was about it. It's really a completely different way of going with it, and it turned out great the way it is. I'm really very happy with the way they came out."
Then, the moderator asked Goldman to comment on the controversy that has been brewing about the preteen character Hit-Girl. "She is a non-sexualized, strong female character. It's almost unheard of in cinema. It's all sexy girls with guns, and that's supposedly a strong female character, and to me that's not actually a strong female character," Goldman said to cheers from the audience "We're so used to seeing women and children as victims of violence. When we suddenly see a child as the perpetrator of violence, surely that's less offensive."
Later, an audience member asked Chloe how her parents felt about the the role. "My mom read the script before I did. She thought it was a really awesome role, you know, its really unique. It's very different than what most kids play. She gave me the script, said, 'Read it, tell me what you think.' and I read it, and I was like, 'I have to be Hit-Girl, who wouldn't want to be Hit-Girl?'"
"She's amazing in that part." growled Nicolas Cage, who powered through his part of the panel despite battling a bout of laryngitis. Throughout the panel, the Hollywood veteran praised the young actress. "It was just like, immediately we start riffing and there wasn't any question in my mind that this was going to work."
Cage also discussed his influences for the role of Big Daddy, explaining that the evolution of the character from comic to film was influenced largely by Adam West. "Big Daddy being Batman from the 60s TV show is what got him the guts to clean up D'Amico's gang."
A clip of the movie was shown, where Big Daddy and Hit-Girl visit Kick-Ass at his home, having tracked the nascent hero via MySpace. It was immediately apparent that Nicolas Cage was channeling Adam West, much to the audience's vocal approval.
Post-clip, Cage talked about looking for a challenge when picking scripts, pointing out about "Kick-Ass," "I wanted to do this movie because, I didn't know how I was going to get around shooting a 12 year old girl in the chest. It made me really uncomfortable, and I thought, 'This is a challenge, so, that means I better do it.' But it was a real joy for me because I got to work with Aaron and with Chloe and these guys are as good as it gets."
When asked why he's so drawn to super hero roles, Cage replied, "It was how I learned to read, it was comic books. I started reading when I was four and five and six. I would read Stan Lee's stories, and the words were so interesting. I learned words like 'opaque' and 'inexorable' when I was six, so I've always had a fond spot in my heart for comic books."
An attendee wondered whether the sequel would also be worked on simultaneously with the comic as this first one was. "Hopefully, there's a second movie," replied John Romita Jr., "but we're going to work on the next arc immediately."
"These guys," Goldman motioned towards Romita Jr., "are working on the comic as we speak."
The cast was then asked whether they had been inspired by the movie to make their own comic books. Clark Duke replied, "Mark Millar keeps telling me I should. I got a couple ideas, I got an Iron Man idea I may send over to Mark."
As the panel began to wind down, Christopher Mintz-Plasse was asked what it was like to drive the Red Mist's car.
"I hated it." Christopher said to everyone's surprise. "I hating driving that car. It's a stick shift, and it's like 200 grand and I hadn't driven a stick shift before, so I learned on that car. My hands are getting clammy just remembering that time..."
"I gotta say, though," said Jonson, "Chloe drove it. The scene's not in [the movie], but she drifts it around a corner, and she really did drive it." Moretz simply beamed at this statement.
An audience member then closed out the panel, asking why such a new comic was chosen for a movie. Jane Goldman replied, "Its probably that exact fact. The movie industry has been plundAarong these characters that have been around for a very long time. Matthew, the director, and I were very excited by the idea of these completely new characters and [exploring] the superhero genre at a different angle."
"Kick-Ass" hits theaters April 16, 2010.