Mark Millar on Kick-Ass
By Fred Topel | Image property of Lionsgate
When Scottish comic book author Mark Millar created Kick-Ass, he only had to answer to readers. Now it’s a major movie that will play around the world. It’s violent, profane and R-rated. Even Millar thought some details would be too much, like 11-year-old Hit Girl calling bad guys c***s. Director Matthew Vaughn insisted on staying faithful to Millar’s writing.
Mark Millar Gives us Kick-Ass
“The rationale for using it in the book, because the editor said, ‘Americans don’t say this,’ and I said, ‘Look, at the end of Star Wars when the Death Star explodes, you shouldn’t hear sound in space. But it’s cool.’” Millar explained at a press conference at the South by Southwest film festival. “That was rationale enough to let us do it.”
Drawing Hit Girl doing crazy stuff is one thing. Seeing her take a bullet as her father trains her with a Kevlar vest is quite another thing. “The only thing that freaks me out when I see that, that was the first day of shooting and I remember the stunt child do that fall. I remember thinking what kind of parent allows their 11-year-old [be a stunt woman?]”
The story of Kick-Ass is faithful to Millar’s series with a few tweaks. A teen becomes a costumed crime fighter, almost gets killed but inspires a wave of costumed do gooders.
“It’s funny, a lot of people think it’s quite a violent, dark, cynical film. Yet you look at the poster is all bright colors. In a way, I think it’s the most naïve and idealistic movie I’ve seen in years because it’s about a wee guy who every night could get killed. Spider-Man’s probably going to be all right. Superman’s fine. The movie sucked but he’s fine. Kick-Ass at any moment, even just one guy giving him a bad punch and he’s dead. It’s so hard when I was when I was watching it last night when he was fighting those three characters. There was something so nice about the fact that he was just waiting until the cops arrived. I see it as quite a sweet movie.”
Hollywood wasn’t quite all it was cracked up to be for the comic book artist though. “I remember thinking, ‘How Hollywood, this is going to be awesome. We’re off to film. Nic Cage is in the scene. This is going to be great. It’ll be helicopters bringing in food for everyone. It’s going to be so cool.’ It was literally a sewage plant in east London that we were filming it and the stench of human feces.”
As for the changes, movies are just different from comic books. “As adaptations go, this is probably the most literal one I’ve seen outside of maybe 300, or Watchmen. Where it had to be changed, we were cool with it. It’s just a case of trusting the team that’s developing it. Luckily we all knew each other quite well and we got to know each other more and just knew it was in good hands, so it was quite relaxed. If anything was being changed, it was discussed and followed through easily. I’d say probably 90% of the movie is what we wanted. I realized the episodic nature of comics meant I had to have an 8 act story, and perhaps reveals and twists and things that would have messed up the structure of the movie. So things like Big Daddy’s reveal would have been awful in the movie if I had gone that way. Likewise, the jetpack scene wouldn’t have worked in the comic. In the movie, we’re building up so much stuff that we needed some Luke Skywalker blowing up the Death Star moment. It was only two or three real diversions it took but it was just necessary. We’ve all seen whenever somebody slavishly adapts a graphic novel, it can be tedious.”
Kick-Ass opens to theaters on April 16.
For stills, posters, trailers and more movie info, go to the Kick-Ass Movie Page.
Sources: Image property of Lionsgate
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