Already one of the most anticipated comic-based movies this spring is Matthew Vaughn’s Kick-Ass, a darkly funny take on the graphic novel by Mark Millar and John Romita Jr. that might actually cross over to people who haven’t read a single superhero comic.
British actor Aaron Johnson plays Dave Lizewski, a high school loser who never gets any attention until he dons a home-made superhero costume and goes out to fight crime… badly. In fact, his first attempt at crime fighting leaves Dave in the hospital where he undergoes extensive surgery for months that actually makes him more durable for future endeavors. Once Dave hits the streets again, this time with the superhero name “Kick-Ass,” he starts to meet others like him, including the father-daughter team of Big Daddy and Hit Girl (Nicolas Cage and Chloe Moretz) and Red Mist (Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Superbad), all whom have their own reasons for fighting crime.
Part of the fun of the comic and the movie is the interaction between Kick-Ass and Red Mist, two comic geeks who basically approach crime fighting from a similar angle only with different motives. They quickly team-up and become friends, making some of the scenes between Johnson and Mintz-Plasse very amusing indeed.
At this year’s South by SouthWest Film Festival, where Kick-Ass premiered, SuperHeroHype had a chance to sit down with the two actors to talk, albeit briefly, about their new movie.
SuperHeroHype: When you signed on to be in “Kick-Ass,” had the comics come out at all and did you know anything about it and what was going on in them?
Aaron Johnson: It was only out from issue 1 to 3 of “Kick-Ass” at the time, but I came into the casting process quite late, so I didn’t really know about the comic book before casting for the film…
Christopher Mintz-Plasse: My dad is a huge comic book fan, so he has comics all over the house. I got the script “Kick-Ass” and I remember seeing that somewhere and I flipped through my dad’s comics and he had issue 1 of “Kick-Ass” so I read that. It was super-violent, super-bloody, and I was like, “Okay, if that’s how issue 1 is, that’s how the movie is,” and I read the script, I loved the script…
SHH: In issue 1, your character hadn’t even been introduced yet.
Mintz-Plasse: Nothing, yeah, we didn’t get him until issue 3 or 4 I think..
Johnson: Or issue 5.
Mintz-Plasse: Yeah, it’s way late.
SHH: What was your impression then? Did you have any reference of the comic to go by or did you just go by the character and the script?
Johnson: Yeah, well obviously the script was all there, but that’s what I did. Issue 1 to 3 was out and I tried to portray that sort of character obviously, big blonde bushy hair and glasses…
Mintz-Plasse: Didn’t they try to make you blonde in the beginning?
Johnson: Well, actually I said, I’ll try to replicate as much as I can. I went to Matthew and said, “Will I have to have blonde hair?” and he said, “Aw, f*ck off, ’cause have you ever seen f*cking Alexander?” And I said, “Yeah, exactly.”
Mintz-Plasse: That makes so much sense.
Johnson: That’s what he said, so then it was like okay… and then he didn’t want me with glasses or anything like that. And Dave Lizewski was just this really sensitive kid who was a nobody at school, and then he creates this other persona, which is Kick-Ass, and I sort of went by that really. It’s this guy looking for an escape route, and that’s where the character sort of came from.
SHH: Had you filmed the John Lennon movie, “Nowhere Boy,” at that point?
Johnson: John Lennon was after “Kick-Ass.”
Mintz-Plasse: You got the part during “Kick-Ass,” ’cause I remember…
Johnson: Yeah, I was trying to do an American accent and then in my lunch…
Mintz-Plasse: And then in his lunch breaks…
Johnson: I’d have YouTube up trying to look at old footage of Lennon and trying to copy his accent.
SHH: So that’s going from the coolest guy, Lennon, to the uncoolest guy, Dave Lizewski, but trying to do them at the same time?
Mintz-Plasse: It’s insane! It’s like those two movies that are coming out, this Liverpool accent and an American accent, and none of it is in his regular accent. I like that.
Johnson: Acting. Because I’m a man behind a mask, you know?
SHH: Usually, you’d be playing that sort of character, Chris, and this time, you’re going a bit tougher as a mobster’s son.
Mintz-Plasse: Oh, he’s not that tough, but thank you for thinking that! He’s trying to be tougher, yeah. I think he’s still a nerdy comic book fan as well in the movie, but near the end, he sort of becomes a little tough.
Johnson: He wants to be with his dad…
Mintz-Plasse: Yeah, he wants to work with his dad in the mob business, try and do all that, cocaine and drug deals and all that.
Johnson: He doesn’t know about that though.
Mintz-Plasse: He knows nothing about it. (Laughs)
SHH: What did you guys think about the costumes you had to wear? It’s so funny because the movie deals with superheroes in the real world, where they don’t exist, but is it strange putting on those costumes and walking around or do you get used to it?
Mintz-Plasse: You definitely get used to it, and at some points, you forget that you’re wearing it, because you’ve worn it for almost two months now and you’re kinda walking the streets in Toronto and London and people are staring at you and you don’t realize why, but the costumes are amazing. Sammy, who did them all, whose done “Hellboy”…
Johnson: and “Stardust”…
Mintz-Plasse: Yeah, she’s incredible. She made the best costumes for these.
Johnson: I wish I could know her surname.
Johnson: We know her as “Sammy” but she was the costume designer.
SHH: What about training? Obviously, in the movie you’re not the best…
Mintz-Plasse: We’re not the bad-asses.
SHH: Right, you can’t be that good for these roles.
Johnson: Matthew didn’t want us to train, no.
Mintz-Plasse: This dude, he’s a stud, he’s very muscular and ripped, and Matthew told him not to go to the gym at the beginning of this movie because he’s way too good looking.
Johnson: And I’ve never been back since so… I mean, Chloe was training like she was going to be a f*cking Marine or something. She was doing chin-ups, press-ups. She was working really tight with Jackie Chan’s stunt crew and Jet Li’s stunt double and she had this whole National Gymnastics team and parkour and…
Mintz-Plasse: Everything cool pretty much Chloe did in this movie.
SHH: And you guys just stood to the side and watched as she trained?
Mintz-Plasse: Yeah, we just watched.
Johnson: Every now and again we’d get pulled in to see some stunt that they’ve choreographed over the week and just sit back and watch and go “Oh, sh*t. We better be really good in this movie or this is going to be bad. She’s going to show us up.”
Mintz-Plasse: And she did show us up, big time.
Johnson: She did.
SHH: But that’s kind of the point of her character. Do you have any idea what they might have planned for a sequel since the second volume hasn’t been written yet?
Mintz-Plasse: Yeah! Well, last night at the Q&A, someone asked Johnny if they’re going to have some stuff from “Kick-Ass 2” at Comic-Con and he said “yes” which means they’re going to get started on it, which is exciting. That’s very exciting.
Johnson: Matthew and Mark throw a lot of ideas to each other, and I think they work quite tightly.
Mintz-Plasse: I met up with Mark a few months ago in Scotland. We had a couple drinks and he told me…
SHH: Only a couple of drinks with Mark? I can’t imagine that.
Mintz-Plasse: (laughs) Well, for this interview, we only had a couple drinks. He wants it to be very, very dark is what he’s thinking, to get very very dark.
Johnson: Mark had been thinking that if he could get any more dark than “Kick-Ass” is right now, Mark had even darker ideas.
Mintz-Plasse: Oh, yes.
Johnson: Matthew went with absolutely everything, but there were some things that he was like, “That’s not possible, Mark.”
Mintz-Plasse: It’s way too much, yeah.
Johnson: “We’re not going to be able to film that, because no one’s going to see it, it’s too disgusting.”
Kick-Ass opens nationwide on Friday, April 16.
Source: Edward Douglas