Matthew Vaughn popped up on many a film geek’s radar after he turned the Kick-Ass comic book – written by Mark Millar – into a satirical take on the costumed hero cinematic sub-genre. He went on to direct another comic adaptation, in X-Men: First Class; however, after nearly taking the helm on the followup, X-Men: Days of Future Past, Vaughn ultimately stepped away from the world of mutants, to instead go make a movie about a different sort of superhero – the master spy, based on the archetype’s depiction in Millar’s comic, The Secret Servivce.
Vaugh’s adaptation – redubbed Kingsman: The Secret Service – stars Oscar-winner Colin Firth (The King’s Speech) as a master secret spy, who mentors an “unrefined but promising street kid” (played by relative newcomer Taron Egerton) in the art of protecting the globe from criminals and terrorist threats, covert-style. It reads as being a fairly stock buddy/teacher-student premise, set in a more old-fashioned espionage movie world (think 1960s/70s James Bond); that Vaughn will bring some of his now-trademark stylistic flourishes and cheekiness to the basic setup, is what makes Secret Service sound more intriguing than it might’ve otherwise.
You get a taste of that in the first Secret Service trailer, as included above (via Yahoo! Movies); in addition, this footage provides a sneak peek at what the refined Firth is like, when he flexes his action hero muscles with his tongue pressed against his cheek – though, perhaps not quite as firmly as, say, when Ralph Fiennes went secret agent in the campy Avengers TV show adaptation from the late 1990s. Firth told EW that he was surprised by how much he liked the combat training that he underwent for Secret Service, saying:
“I was afraid it was ridiculous. I think what’s brilliant about Matthew is that he takes people’s expectations and likes to mess with them… I don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed myself so much in my life. I realized that I’d made assumptions about myself that meant I had probably been neglecting something that I might have enjoyed for years if I’d got to it earlier.”
In that same interview, Firth touched on additional subjects concerning his preparation to star in Secret Service, such as the variety of martial arts specialists that he trained under – as well as the benefits he gained, in terms of his physical build. (“Well, I’ve got a one-pack. At 53, anything that isn’t just a kind of blob of mozzarella just hanging there is something of an achievement.”). So, be sure and read the whole EW interview, in addition to checking out the official teaser poster for Kingsman: The Secret Service below, courtesy of Coming Soon (click the image for the higher-resolution version).
Vaughn is coming off his highest-grossing film to date with X-Men: First Class (over $350 million worldwide), though Secret Service‘s box office performance is likely to be more on the level of his other non-X-Men film collaborations with screenwriter Jane Goldman, Stardust and Kick-Ass. We’ve yet to see Goldman and Vaughn turn a genre completely on its head. (Well, perhaps with Kick-Ass they did – depends on who you ask.) However, as Firth alluded to, the pair have proven to be quite adept at having fun with conventions; their venture into spy cinema territory, looks to be in keeping with that trend.
Rounding out the Secret Service cast are Samuel L. Jackson (Captain America: The Winter Soldier), Michael Caine (Now You See Me), Mark Strong (John Carter), Sofia Boutella (Monsters: Dark Continent), and Jack Davenport (Smash), among others.
Kingsman: The Secret Service opens in U.S. theaters on October 24th, 2014.