I’m still anxiously awaiting the day I get to see Kick-Ass, and be as cool as our SXSW team that caught its Austin premiere. (Be sure to check out Shannon Hood’s review.) But at least I could content myself with Mark Millar’s Kick-Ass: Creating the Comic, Making the Movie which the gang at Titan Books was kind enough to let me review.
Anyone who viewed the trailer knows that Kick-Ass is going to be a unique movie. One look at Chloe Moretz’s Hit Girl can tell you that much. But I hadn’t realized just how unusual its page-to-screen transition was. Millar was still in the process of sketching the book out when he approached Matthew Vaughn (licking his wounds after leaving Thor) about directing.
The movie took shape as the comic did, with Millar running back and forth between the production offices and his own keyboard, incorporating ideas from Vaughn and screenwriter Jane Goldman as he went. Characters who were meant to be minor players such as Red Mist took on a life of their own after they were cast, and ended up becoming major players in Kick-Ass’ story arc. If there’s a sequel to Kick-Ass, it may be entirely due to Christopher Mintz-Plasse single-handedly rewriting his character.
This organic back-and-forth between Miller, Vaughn, Goldman, and John Romita Jr. is a pretty engaging read, and spins such a fairy tale of filmmaking that a lot of wannabe writers and directors could read it and dream. It’s certainly a rare, dreamy kind of collaboration.
You also have to admire Vaughn’s moxie in funding the film himself, and Millar for knowing how to use fans, social networking, and viral marketing in ways Marvel and DC can’t even figure out. Those of you who grow loathe Millar’s hyperbole may be surprised at the restrained Scot within these pages. He’ s so geekily enthusiastic about his comic being adapted that you’d swear it had never happened to him before.
As is usual with such books, there’s lots of great photos, sketches, and a few bits of screenplay tossed in for color. There’s not much from the actors themselves which is unfortunate. Nicolas Cage talks a bit about choosing to imitate Adam West’s voice, but never addresses his public reservations about the film’s violence.
Moretz’s blog is quoted, and she’s as irrepressibly awesome as you’d expect Hit Girl to be. But I actually would have liked to have heard from her parents or her agent about whether they hesitated to let her take such a risky role. Instead, everyone else is talking about how shocking it will be to hear her utter The C Word. Considering her career skyrocketed before she’d even left the set, she may have simply been unavailable for comment!
Will you need this book? If you end up loving Kick-Ass and needing every scrap of information on it, yes. If you plan on dressing as Kick-Ass, Hit Girl, or Red Mist for a convention, yes, you’ll need the photos. But this is ultimately a book for the die hard fan of the comic and the film. (Don’t even think of reading it beforehand if you’re unfamiliar with the comic. It’s full of spoilers.)
You’ll have to wait until April 16th to find out if you meet such a dedicated criteria!