Kick-Ass 2 returns us to the twisted world of comic book creators Mark Millar and John Romita Jr.’s imagination, in which an ordinary boy named Dave Lizewski (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) decides to don a costume and become a real-life superhero vigilante. After taking down crime boss Frank D’Amico at the end of the first film, Dave and the now-orphaned Mindy Macready (Chloe Grace Moretz) try to settle into their lives as high schoolers, leaving their superhero antics as Kick-Ass and Hit-Girl behind.
Of course “retirement” doesn’t last very long, and soon the two would-be heroes are back on the streets and attracting friends like Col. Stars and Stripes (Jim Carrey) and Night Bitch (Lindy booth). However, Frank D’Amico’s son Chris (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) is still scheming on how get even for his father’s death – and that answer comes in the form of a super-villain alter-ego, and a team of marauders who wreak havoc all across the city.
With a new writer/director at the helm, some controversial source material, and a cast of actors who are not known for re-treading the same ground (read: sequels), there was plenty to talk about at the Kick-Ass 2 press conference in New York. In attendance were writer/director Jeff Wadlow (the X-Force movie) and stars Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Chloe Moretz, and Christopher Mintz-Plasse.
On the surface, one would think that hopping back into the zany characters and world of Kick-Ass would be a relatively simple task for the cast; however, according to the actors, that was simply NOT the case:
Christopher Mintz-Plasse: It was hard; I think we both have really cool different arcs in this one. Obviously now I am a different character; I’m much more dark and twisted and Hit-Girl is trying to find out [who she is] she’s like a little lady now; she’s starting to get emotions for boys and going to high school… I feel like we both had to take on a few little different character traits than our first movie so it was a little easier.
Chloe Grace Moretz: Yea it was interesting trying to find the reason to even come back to her. Trying to find why, what did you see in the first film that you would want to see in the second film, what is that? I think that was the main struggle with her because you saw so much Hit-Girl you never saw Mindy Macready. You never saw the girl behind the mask.
That’s what we wanted to show that whether she’s wearing a designer outfit going head to head with a bad girl or she’s wearing her wig and her mask she’s a superhero in her heart. I think that’s what we really wanna show that these superheroes are coming from inside. They don’t need to be Kick-Ass, they don’t need to be Hit-Girl, they need to be who they are to be the true superhero.
Aaron Taylor-Johnson: Yeah, it’s taken me a lot longer than [Chloe and Chris]. I’ll be honest, I think it was a challenge for sure and I think that’s when me and Jeff were working alongside right in the beginning to kind of develop that again. It’s really hard for me because….I go to a character and then I erase it and I just jump to something else. I find that a lot easier. But to go back to something and then try to make it feel like the same person is actually a lot harder than it seems, I feel.
Christopher Mintz-Plasse: Especially after like 4 years
Aaron Taylor-Johnson: Right, also for me… I’m very particular about things. If I saw the first one again I’d think, ‘Aw man I wish I did this or did that’ so I actually would want to take the character to a whole new level and it wouldn’t be the same character again. There was this documentary that came out in between ‘Kick-Ass’ and it was called ‘Superheroes’
Jeff Wadlow: An HBO documentary.
Aaron Taylor-Johnson: and I loved that cause these are the real characters and there were some really quirky guys in there and I’d do impersonations of them and go ‘Aw wouldn’t it be great if in ‘Kick-Ass 2′ Dave was a bit more like this’ and [Jeff] would go yea that’s funny but that’s not Dave. You can’t do that.
Christopher Mintz-Plasse: You can’t substitute who he was in the first one.
Aaron Taylor-Johnson: And I’d think ‘dammit, dammit’ I wish I could have redid it again and that would just play in my head and it was totally wrong and luckily Jeff kind of was like, ‘Dude that is not what it’s about, that’s just the crap on the surface. Dave is just getting back to that personality and the real soul of—the essence of the character.’ It did mess with my head a little bit.
Jeff Wadlow: But you’re such a fantastic actor I was struck by two things working with you. One was, when we first started there was this question because it had been a few years, and you have a family now and the roles you were playing had grown up and some people were like ‘is it going to be weird seeing Aaron slip back into Dave?’ but you were so into the details; the shoes and the jacket and I think Sammy saved the glasses for you, and as soon as you got your hair back there you were, Dave again, immediately.
And the other thing that I was struck by was how you transformed Dave over the course of the movie. One thing we talked about was that he really had to change in this movie to become the superhero he wanted to be. You guys saw the film and you saw how Aaron did that. I just thought it was amazing to see you become the end product, this fully realized man… They’re all trying to answer that question who are they really? And I think the answer for Chloe’s character is Hit Girl tries to be a normal teenager.
Chloe Grace Moretz: With the van sequence it shows that, we never saw that in the first film. This girl with her blonde hair flowing in the wind being Hit Girl. I think that is what you want, you want to see that. You want to see a human doing it.
Jeff Wadlow: Yea it doesn’t matter if she has a purple wig on, that’s who she is.
Chloe Grace Moretz: She’s a superhero yea, totally.
While it may have been difficult to get back into the old Kick-Ass routine, the cast was definitely cognizant of how this franchise has changed both their careers and their lives:
Chloe Grace Moretz: I think Hit-Girl is that character that really did put me in a different light. I think it’s the character that I would say is my breakout role. It put me in the minds of people in this business and it’s an amazing role because it was something that was poppy and fun and the revisit was so fun. It’s just one of those characters that I definitely think changed me as an actor for sure.
Christopher Mintz-Plasse: I think it was just good for people [to see me differently]. I did a bunch of comedies before ‘Kick-Ass’ and this, so I think it was cool for people to see me do something a little darker, more action involved.
Aaron Taylor-Johnson: For me I think it definitely made an impact. I think it took me a little bit longer to come around because most people thought I was just a teenaged comic book fan boy. I’m far from the character.