Director Matthew Vaughn’s adaptation of the comic Kick-Ass was pleasant surprise when it first opened in theaters, and now director Jeff Wadlow takes the helm of the incredibly R-rated sequel Kick-Ass 2. Again based on the comics by Mark Millar, the follow-up picks up with Aaron Taylor-Johnson’s Kick Ass and Chloë Grace Moretz’s Hit Girl years after the first film, as they must once again team up to take on Christopher Mintz-Plasse’s supervillain The Motherfucker and his team of badass antagonists. A new trailer for the pic has been unveiled, and at the Comic-Con panel for the film earlier today, Wadlow and his cast teased jam-packed arcs for all of the principal characters, a considerably dark tone, brutal fight sequences, new cast additions, and much more.
Hit the jump to read my full recap of the Comic-Con panel for Kick-Ass 2.
Check out the newly-released red-band trailer for Kick-Ass 2 followed by the panel recap:
Moderator Drew McWeeny began by teasing that we were in for a “very R-rated panel.” He then introduced director Jeff Wadlow and comics creators Mark Millar and John Romita Jr.
- Wadlow said he feels like he won the fanboy lottery. He saw the first film in the theater and was blown away, and he was later introduced to Matthew Vaughn who asked him for a pitch and script for Kick-Ass 2.
How did Millar and Romita feel about Wadlow taking the helm?
- Millar said he’s already seen it and it’s awesome. Vaughn asked him to trust him with the choice of Wadlow, and Millar said he couldn’t be happier with the final result.
- Romita had seen Wadlow’s work beforehand and when he heard he was going to do Kick-Ass 2, he was elated.
McWeeny then introduced Aaron Taylor-Johnson whose appearance was preceded by a brief bit of footage that teased his very in-shape return as Kick-Ass. Taylor-Johnson looks absolutely ripped in the footage, and we also saw some more great humor between his character and Clark Duke.
- When Taylor-Johnson came out he was visibly flustered by the enormous crowd. I believe this is his first appearance at Comic-Con.
- Johnson said when he first read Wadlow’s script it was a page-turner, full of laughter and emotion, and “it brought these characters to a whole new level.” He said it’s fully packed, as the film doesn’t leave any room for the characters to do more. Their arcs are full of great stuff.
Christopher Mintz-Plasse was then introduced, again preceded by some footage. In the clip, he calls John Leguizamo’s character “the Alfred to my evil Bruce Wayne,” much to Leguizamo’s disdain.
- Mintz-Plasse loved the script as well, but he was scared to do something this intense and nerve-wracking with The Motherfucker.
- He described his costume as “a gimp outfit.”
- With regards to the film’s dark tone, Mintz-Plasse said they took out him killing a dog and raping someone, but almost everything else from the comic is still in the movie.
Chloë Grace Moretz was not at the panel, but they showed a clip of footage that was really, really great, teasing a more mature and more brutal Hit Girl. Moretz then popped up onscreen via satellite to answer some questions.
- Moretz said Mindy’s high school portion of the story was a big, interesting arc that Wadlow decided to put in the movie. Moretz’s character gives up being Hit Girl to lead a normal life, but realizes that she has to enact justice when she sees some troublesome things in high school. The arc touches on what teenagers are going through in real life. The character soon understands that Mindy and Hit-Girl are one and the same.
- In Kick-Ass 2 we meet Hit Girl years after she lost her father, and really her only friend is Dave. He comes to Hit Girl because he wants to be trained by her, and they develop a bond built on the foundation of what they went through in the first film.
- Moretz says Big Daddy’s (Nicolas Cage) presence in the movie is still very strong.
- Moretz said she likes to play characters who are very different from how she is in real life, which is why she was drawn to Kick-Ass 2 and Carrie.
- It was important for Moretz to show that underneath Hit Girl’s surface, there’s a little girl who has lost her dad and has no idea who she is.
McWeeny then introduced new cast members Lindy Booth (Night Bitch), Donald Faison (Dr. Gravity), and John Leguizamo (Javier), after which Wadlow intro’d the aforementioned new trailer. Based on what we saw, Wadlow seems to have a really good handle on the Kick-Ass world while also expanding its scope.
- Wadlow talked about Mother Russia, saying they did a global search to cast the role.
- Mintz-Plasse said he didn’t have much time to fully prepare for the fights because he was filming a TV show at the same time, but we would fly into London and learn the choreography the day before filming.
- Taylor-Johnson said they trained every day on set with the stunt team.
- Mintz-Plasse said Wadlow made them do the big fight scene between The Motherfucker and Kick Ass “probably 45 times.”
- Leguizamo was excited about the prospect of playing “a super bad ass hero,” but Wadlow then told him that he actually wanted him to play himself.
- Faison said he had a fight scene with Taylor-Johnson where they got to fight a lot of people, and the next day he slept “for 24 hours,” but Taylor-Johnson had to go back and do more. “The one-armed push-up shit, that’s real,” said Faison.
Will Wadlow return for Kick-Ass 3 or would he feel comfortable handing the reins over to another filmmaker?
- Wadlow said he’s been so focused on Kick-Ass 2 that he hasn’t thought about Kick-Ass 3 yet. He wanted to push the characters as far as possible in this sequel and put them “through the meat grinder,” so he hasn’t even thought about what they would do for the next film.
Overall, Kick-Ass 2 really feels like a continuation of the first film on a larger scale, and with a slightly darker tone. I was particularly impressed with the evolution of Hit Girl, and I can’t wait to see Mintz-Plasse go nuts as his own supervillain.
Click here for all our Comic-Con coverage. Kick-Ass 2 opens August 16th.