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Mark Strong On His Kick-Ass Character and How Violent It Will Be

by
November 6, 2008

Kick-Ass

There hasn't been a big Kick-Ass update in a while, which is a bit unfortunate considering how excited I am. So I thought I'd break the silence and bring you an update on the production. Last week we talked with actor Mark Strong, one of the finest English actors currently working. He just finished up roles in Body of Lies and RocknRolla and in addition to playing the villain in Guy Ritchie's Sherlock Holmes (more on that in the future), he's playing the head villain in Matthew Vaughn's Kick-Ass. Not only does he give us a full breakdown of his character, who hasn't showed up in the comics yet, but reveals some interest details surrounding the production, including that it wasn't really the excessive violence that studios disliked.

Strong plays a character named Frank D'Amico, described as "a New York gangster, quite a nasty piece of work. He's a fixer, a drug dealer. And his world starts to fall apart when he realizes that his organization is being brought to its knees by what appear to be teenage superheroes." He continues on about the character's arc throughout the film: "So he's got this dilemma of realizing that his organization is falling apart and he can't quite work out why. So the film starts with him basically questioning one his guys, who he believes has taken his money or his drugs. And that scene is the most together you ever see him, and then over the course of the film, he basically falls apart. He starts to basically lose his mind."

"I've been shouting a lot, snorting a lot of coke, drinking a lot of whiskey, and threatening people with guns," he adds. We all know that the movie is based on Mark Millar's comic, but there are only four issues currently out on shelves at the moment, and none of them have really focused on D'Amico yet. However, Strong reveals that the plan is to finish each series off with a total of eight issues and that they're hoping to have three series. That's great to hear considering I loved the first four and was already anxious to see where they'd take the story next. Millar's Wanted only lasted one full series and he never continued it any further. Unlike Wanted, however, Kick-Ass is a direct adaptation of the comic without any major changes.

Getting back to the gritty side of things, back in August we reported that Matthew Vaughn was having trouble negotiating with Hollywood studios because the script was apparently way too violent for any of them to get into. He subsequently funded the entire production, rumored to have a budget upwards of $70 million, on his own. However, Strong, who has already been shooting the film with Vaughn, says he had a conversation with him that disproved those claims and somewhat clarified the whole situation.

"I'm not sure how true that is, in actual fact. Because I did mention that to Matthew. I said, 'What is the demographic for this movie? What age group and everything? Because if it's obviously as violent as the comics are, don't you lose your audience?'"

"I said, 'Isn't that the problem, that the studios all felt it was too violent?' He said, 'Well, if you choose to believe what you read on the internet, yes. But that wasn't actually the case.' He seemed to imply that it was just something that he wanted to do. And because he financed basically Lock, Stock and Snatch himself, he also financed Layer Cake himself. Stardust was a departure, in that Paramount was the distributor who also put money into it. But he still raised some of the money himself. He's just one of those guys who -- he has backers. But I think he likes having control over the movies that he makes. So he looked at Kick-Ass, loved the idea of it, and basically didn't particularly want anybody else to get involved. 'I'll make the film, and I'll make the film that I want to make. And then if other people like it, they can pick it up and distribute it.' I think that's close to the truth."

So does that mean it won't be as violent as originally thought? "Oh no, it's pretty violent," Strong says. "I just saw today the sequence at the end where Hit Girl comes in and takes out basically Frank and his goons, his nasty army. And it's one of the most incredible things I've ever seen. And this is just the set up that the stunt guys and the fight arrangers have filmed. And it's absolutely astonishing. It's going to be incredibly cool." That definitely sounds like it should be pretty awesome. The violence in the comic includes an 11-year-old girl slicing bodies open and cutting heads in half with her ninja swords. I expect the violence in this to be at an acceptable R rated level, but not gory enough to be classified as horror.

While we've seen plenty of on set photos from the film, nothing official has been released just yet. We'll be anxiously awaiting any other big news we hear on this and will be sure to bring you any other cool photos we find, whether they're official or not. Mark Strong's character sounds like one hell of a nasty guy and I can't wait to see him both in the comics and in the movie once it's finished up - so stay tuned!

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  • dave
    thats cool. I cant wait to read more about the movie
  • Darunia
    It's a low budget action movie. Gonna bomb.
  • nelson
    70million damn low budget lol
  • Darunia
    It's not 70 million. It's 30 million.
  • nelson
    wow that still sounds like a straight to dvd budget LOLOL
  • Al
    since when is 70 million a low budget? Cloverfield was done on 25 mil. and weather its a film you like or hate, that was pretty impressive for just 25k. now triple that...i think this will look great.
  • Zach
    The budget is $30M, and $25K is $25,000.
  • Marcus
    I cant believe some of you are shitting on this already. It sounds an amaizing premise and also sounds that its going to look fantastic. Just because its going to be made from only $30m doesnt mean it will be shit. Its how the money is used! Give it a goddam chance. Trust me, if every thing that has been said is to be believed, then the film is going to be fantasic!
  • Darunia
    I said the movie was going to bomb. Max Payne was done with 35 million $. They weren't able to put either many special effects nor action sequences. Wanted had a 70 million $ budget, and for example Bad Boys 2 had a 110 million $ budget.
  • Frank D'Amico died on June 1, 2008, I hope this story is not about him. Where did you get the idea for this story? Why is the gangster name Frank D'Amico? I'm interested to find out where this premise came from, tell us more about the story.
  • nick
    i went to school with Chris Mintz-Plasse (who plays Red Mist in the film) and bump into him once in a while at random parties and what not when he's in town. he said this is the most work he's ever done in a movie thus far. expect some crazy hardcore action and sum car stunts he was involved in 😉 he's in england right now i guess workin' his ass off shootin' this bad boy. personally im really stocked for this film and am glade to see him break out of the "McLOVIN" character persona. =P
  • The budget is $70 million USD you bunch of clownshoes.
  • john
    this is too violent especially when you have a minor slicing people up how on earth they could put someone so young in a film like this and use as a violent puppet cant see her fans supporting this because they wont be old enough to watch this and most of them will have grown up around her movies and will be her age i cannot for the life of me see who will support her in this i watched an interview with this actress well it was a video blog she says she isn't allowed to watch family guy and she cant listen to all of lady ga ga's music because of the content and yet its okay for her to do a movie like this and behave like some depraved psychotic polly pocket i am going to have a hell of a time trying to tell my daughter who is chloe moretz's age why i am not going to let her watch this and its really sad because she is a fan of chloe moretz i saw a clip of hit girl on you tube it was shown at comic con and i was shocked by the violence i'm up for violence in movies but i do not want to see some 11 year old behaving in this way and just for some miracle kids do find a way of watching this movie we all know what kids are like for emulating stuff they have seen from what i heard the director had to fund it himself because no-one was interested in funding it due to its violent nature probably due to having an 11 year old in it one studio suggested we think you should use an older actress make hit girl older this is bound to cause some controversy especially in the UK
  • alison
    err excuse me john but i find your comment rather insulting and what you said about chloe my daughter is a huge fan of hers chloe grace does movie's for an older audience aswell and yes my daughter will see this on dvd when it comes out on dvd she saw the comic con clips herself and i haven't seen her laugh as much in ages the martial arts she was impressed as my daughter goes to Tae Kwon Do which she was 5 when she started and now is nearly 13 and kids do not always emulate what they see as most children are intelligent enough to know the difference in a movie and real life there are a few mind you but only a small number so kick ass has got my support and so does chloe grace moretz my daughter adores her.

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