Teen geek and comic book fanatic Dave Lizewski (Aaron Johnson) makes a totally bizarre but brave decision--- he is going under disguise as a superhero, minus the superpowers. And he’s going to be known as Kick-Ass. Donned in a green and yellow wetsuit bought online, he prowls the city to fight crime. However, he’s not the only superhero out there. The fearless and highly-trained father-daughter crime-fighting duo Big Daddy (Nicolas Cage) and Hit Girl (Chloë Grace Moretz) have been slowly but surely taking down the criminal empire of local Mafioso Frank D’Amico (Mark Strong). Another fledgling superhero joins them by the name of Red Mist (Christopher Mintz-Plasse), who happens to be Frank’s son.
KICK-ASS is based on the comic book of the same name written by Mark Millar and illustrated by John Romita, Jr. When Mark pitched his story to Matthew Vaughn, director of the blockbuster film Stardust, the latter was impressed and immediately agreed to direct the movie and write the screenplay with Jane Goldman, also his co-writer of Stardust. Vaughn and Goldman were keen that their movie wouldn’t simply be a carbon copy of Millar’s book hence the back-story of Nicolas Cage’s character Big Daddy.
Cage was offered the choice of playing Frank D’Amico or Damon Macready, a.k.a. Big Daddy, and responded strongly to the latter. He says, “I thought that was where the heart was, in the relationship between Big Daddy and Hit Girl. I thought that’s where the emotion could be.”
While Cage got his role easily, it took time before Aaron Johnson landed the role of Dave/Kick-Ass. Vaughn had turned down his audition tape without viewing it, but when the director finally watched it, he was certain Johnson was perfect for the role. “My take on it was he was a young lad, a comic book fan, who was shy with girls. He doesn’t have a whole lot going for him, so he tries to stand out from the crowd by becoming a superhero, and that’s when he becomes interesting,” Johnson says. “It’s teenage high-school humor mixed with dark, messed-up violence,” he adds.
The Red Mist character went to Christopher Mintz-Plasse after he read for the role of Dave. “I guess I had too much energy and charisma!” he laughs. Red Mist is a rich, but lame kid who desperately wants to garner the affection of his father. He may not be superhero-material, but Red Mist definitely makes a grand entrance with his red Ford Mustang, which he uses to cruise the streets of New York. One of the movie’s funniest scenes had Kick-Ass and Red Mist drive along while dancing. “We were just messing around with it,” says Johnson, “Sitting there and doing a ridiculous dance. It was hilarious. Matthew was like, ‘I might actually use that’. And he did!”
For Chloë Grace Moretz, the role of Hit Girl was something of a gift. “I was screaming for three days straight when I got the role because I was so much looking forward to doing a fantasy movie and wearing a superhero costume.” Everyone agrees that Hit Girl is the superhero who puts the kick-ass in KICK-ASS. Scene after scene, Hit Girl mows down scores of D’Amico’s henchmen like an unstoppable squirrel that’s armed to the teeth. “I did about four to five months of training before the movie started. It was crazy. I did a thousand crunches a night and like 70 push-ups and 70 pull-ups.” The training also involved getting to grips with Hit Girl’s weapons, including her favorite, a butterfly knife. “It’s like a third hand,” she says. “By the end of the filming,” admits Johnson, “she could take me and Chris on at once, and take us both down. She became a mini-Schwarzenegger!”
See the cool gang of four do some nasty stunts in KICK-ASS as it hits theaters on April 16. Released by Viva International Pictures.