Matthew Vaughn’s adaptation of the Mark Millar comic series The Secret Service is perhaps most interesting because Vaughn left his directing job on X-Men: Days of Future Past in order to ensure that The Secret Service wouldn’t be delayed. That was the story according to Millar, at least, who said that a number of copycat scripts began cropping up in Hollywood once the project had been announced, and that he and Vaughn didn’t want to be beaten out by a rip-off.
Whatever the reason, The Secret Service has been fast-tracked into production and is set for release next fall, thanks to a distribution deal with Twentieth Century Fox. Michael Caine, a long-time veteran of British thrillers, has been cast as the leader of the secret organization at the center of the film’s plot, and another big name has just been added to the roster.
Variety reports that Samuel L. Jackson has been cast as the main villain of The Secret Service, going up the young protagonist Gary, a nobody living in poverty on a housing estate, who is recruited for training as a super-spy by his Uncle Jack (Colin Firth). Young newcomer Taron Egerton is more or less locked for the part of Gary, and it will be interesting to see what this unknown actor did to impress Vaughn during auditions.
The villain Jackson will be playing is currently unclear, since he’s physically a lot different from the overarching villain of the comics, Dr. James Arnold. Having said that, the somewhat nerdy motivations of the villain are definitely not out of Jackson’s range; the actor previously played a memorable role as an obsessive comic book fan in M. Night Shyamalan’s sci-fi thriller, Unbreakable.
Since the plot of The Secret Service comics involved actors from science fiction franchises being kidnapped, they featured a number of celebrity cameos, including Mark Hamill, but if any of them have agreed to make an appearance in the movie then so far it’s been kept under wraps. It might be argued that having Colin Firth and Samuel L. Jackson in major roles will lessen the impact of celebrity appearances in the plot (especially since Jackson also appeared in Star Wars, albeit in the prequels), but it’s always fun to see actors playing versions of themselves.
Whatever character he might be playing, Samuel L. Jackson in a villain role is definitely a good thing, and The Secret Service is starting to look more and more appealing with each new casting reveal. If you consider yourself a fan of Millar and Vaughn’s last collaboration, Kick-Ass, this is definitely one to watch.
The Secret Service is out in theaters on November 14, 2014.