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Tarquin Pack: Kick Ass interview

Submitted by admin on August 4, 2010 – 9:54 pmNo Comment
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Kick Ass opened the collective eyes of the world to the amazing talent of director Matthew Vaughn, as well as newcomers Aaron Johnson (Kick Ass) and Chloe Grace Moretz (Hit Girl). That’s not to mention the engaging supporting turns by Nicolas Cage, Mark Strong or Christopher Mintz-Plasse, or the contributions of endless Chinese wire and UK stunt choreographers, nor the original concept taken from the comic book written by Mark Millar and John Romita Jr.

I would be the first one to preach against worshipping false super heroes but Kick Ass is no ordinary graphic novel to screen adaptation. Under Vaughn’s direction the story unfolds like a bold, sardonic wake-up slap across the face. Kick Ass pops opens a can of ass-whip on multiple movie conventions.

In his commentary on the DVD release, Vaughn mentions that the reason the film works so well is because they didn’t have the budget for everything envisioned in the script and that as a result they had to innovate how they shot the film, which looks at least a couple of times its $28-million budget.

Speaking to Free Press Houston by phone Kick Ass producer Tarquin Pack expanded on some of the events surrounding the film. “If you’ve got a good cast, it makes your life easy,” advises Pack. Indeed, before 2010 wears out your local multiplex will see Kick Ass himself Johnson appearing as the teen John Lennon in Nowhere Boy, and Moretz as the lead in the American remake of Let the Right One In titled Let Me In.

Pack started working with Vaughn on Swept Away (Vaughn produced with Guy Richie at the helm) and Layer Cake. The discussion here veers to Layer Cake’s star Daniel Craig. There can be little doubt that Craig was chosen as the current James Bond due to his role in Vaughn’s witty crime drama. (Kick Ass also abides by the dark ending Vaughn served up at the end of LC.) By Vaughn’s previous film, Stardust, Pack had elevated in responsibility to associate producer. Kick Ass marks his first film as producer, a job he gladly also performs on the upcoming The Debt (also produced by Vaughn) as well as Vaughn’s current project, the latest spin-off of the X-Men series; X-Men: First Class. In fact, while we talk on the phone Pack has just arrived (it’s 8 am. his time) at the pre-production offices of that film. “My director is waving a prop tail at me,” laughs Pack. There’s no way that the eventual studio mandated X-Men: First Class (20th Century Fox) will compare to the raw energy generated by the independently financed (Kick Ass was a pick-up distribution by Lionsgate) but that seems to be just the way this production team likes it.

You can stick labels on Kick Ass but no amount of introspection will prepare you for the audacious way KA resolves its various dilemmas. “There’s a certain energy to the way a film gets made,” explains Pack. In just one of many tight action sequences Hit Girl unleashes, we see Moretz enter a condominium high rise to the strains of “For A Few Dollars More” theme. Before her mayhem has concluded the body count has exceeded finger count and the soundtrack has run through “Bad Reputation,” and the Elvis Presley rendition of “Battle Hymn of the Republic.”

“The Elvis song we just got lucky on, it was within our budget and the Elvis people signed off on it,” Pack notes. And regarding the Joan Jett contribution Pack merely alludes that Hit Girl’s template was based on groundbreaker like Jett.

Kick Ass arrives on DVD this week with great extras, and extra extras on the Blu-Ray edition

- Michael Bergeron

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