Matthew Vaughn's comic book fantasy Kick-Ass premiered to a delighted geek contingent Friday night at SXSW (read Todd Gilchrist's review here). As Vaughn walked the red carpet with Kick-Ass creators Mark Millar and John Romita and stars Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Aaron Johnson, and Clark Duke, Cinematical put the truly pressing questions to the cast and crew: namely, when can we expect the next Kick-Ass story from Millar and Romita and which member of the cast wants to become the War Machine of Kick-Ass 2? (More importantly, was Chris Mintz-Plasse's Red Mist designed to resemble the look of a certain American Idol contestant?)
Kick-Ass comic creators Mark Millar and John S. Romita arrived at the premiere beaming like two proud parents, both happy with the film's faithfulness to their source material and excited to be debuting the film version of Kick-Ass at a film festival uniquely suited to the project. "You cannot imagine how exciting it is," gushed Romita.
"The comic is absolutely honored by the movie, in the sense that it's pretty much scene for scene," added Millar. "There's no greater compliment than that, for us."
Kick-Ass, about an average high school comic book nerd (Aaron Johnson) who transforms into a self-styled superhero to exact vigilante justice upon the streets of New York City, is just one of many superhero stories and comic books that have been made or adapted for the screen in recent years. The rise in demand for comic book movies has changed the dynamic for comics writers in Hollywood in particular, says Millar. "You can have a meeting with Steven Spielberg if you work in comics. You can set it up tomorrow. It's crazy; years ago you used to have to be Tom Wolfe, now you just have to be drawing fantastic work."
Produced independently, Kick-Ass will be distributed by Lionsgate on March 26 in the U.K. and April 16 in the U.S. The film's script, by Jane Goldman (Stardust), is based on Millar and Romita's eight-issue comic book, but the writer and illustrator already have a timeline to produce the next story arc in the series – and they promise you'll see "loads more characters."
"I'm going to start writing in April and Johnny will hopefully have it out by September, to cash in on that DVD," Millar told Cinematical with a wink. "We'll definitely see more of Hit Girl. I think we've stumbled onto the new Han Solo, there's just something about this character that, from the minute she appears, we just went insane for her. We just loved her."
"You'll see at the end of the film, we know there aren't many characters left," explained Romita, who added that there could be as many as two or three more installments in the franchise.
And what familiar faces might get to take up the superhero mantle in Kick-Ass 2? Nobody's saying yet, but co-star Clark Duke has already put in his bid. "I've already gotten multiple promises from all of them - Matthew and Mark and John, all the apostles -- that I get a costume."
Would that make him the James Rhodes/War Machine of the Kick-Ass universe? Duke considered the comparison. "You know," he replied, "I have a lot in common with Don Cheadle. So that would be very appropriate."
Meanwhile, Kick-Ass stars Aaron Johnson and Christopher Mintz-Plasse made the rounds paired together, cracking playful jokes every step of the way. (One of the lessons Johnson learned from filming Kick-Ass: "Superheroes always stick together, like bros."). In the film, Johnson spends the majority of the film in head-to-toe green spandex; meanwhile, Mintz-Plasse's character develops his own alter ego named Red Mist, whose signature style involves red and black leather, a lightning bolt-shaped mask, and a streak of red in his hair. We snuck in the single most burning question we had after watching Kick-Ass: Are we the only ones who think Red Mist looks like the superhero version of Adam Lambert?
The erstwhile McLovin was crestfallen. "That's not what I want to hear! I was thinking he looked more like David Bowie, with his hair from the '80s."
"Actually," co-star Johnson volunteered, "He looks more like Rihanna."
"Yeah, more like Rihanna," Mintz-Plasse agreed. "But don't give me Adam Lambert. You're breaking my heart!"
Check back for more of Cinematical's ongoing SXSW coverage throughout the week.