What’s this talk that you wanted Big Daddy to be a paedophile?
This is bollocks, right. Where did this come from? Did Vaughn say this? He actually just doing this to piss me off! I never said that. What I suggested was I wanted Big Daddy to have a twist to it that wasn’t just as simple as him being a cop. One of the things I suggested was that he maybe kidnapped Cindy. But Vaughn has somehow turned that into making him a paedo. There’s absolutely no way I ever said this. I know from experience you do not want to make one of your leads a paedophile if you want to have a big action adventure movie.
Has your wicked sense of humour ever landed you in trouble in Hollywood?
Oh yes, constantly. And the funny thing is, I think of myself as a polite British gentleman. I’m always shocked. Like when I was on the set of Wanted, the producer came up to me just before I met Angelina Jolie for the first time and said, ‘Please don’t scare her, anger her or upset her…’ And I was like, ‘What??’
What first sparked the idea of Kick-Ass in your head?
Are you kidding me? That’s the easiest question in the world. It’s entirely autobiographical. Not even a little bit. Exactly like that. When I was 15, Frank Miller is a book called Batman: Year One. And it inspired me so much that and friend and I actually designed costumes, went to the gym, did karate, aikido, joined a Jeet Kune Do class. All because Batman did it. The thing we didn’t do was go through with it, but for six months that was the plan.
How about Hit Girl, where did she come from?
My daughter said to me two or three years ago, she was about eight, “I’d love to go and see one of your films. Why don’t you write something for me.” I thought, oh, why don’t I create a charming little superhero character? And within an hour, it had beome Hit Girl. I was like, “I’m really sorry. Maybe the next one.”
Did you make Hit Girl say the c-word just to provoke a reaction?
The extension of the toughest is the swearing. But the relationship I had for Big Daddy and Hit Girl was that there was no mother on the scene. So I was thinking about how a man would raise I child on his own. Especially a man who’s quite hardcore like Big Daddy, watches John Woo movies, watches Arnold Schwarzenegger movies. So she wouldn’t have grown up watching Bratz or Hannah Montana. She probably would have been watching an 18-rated action film twice a day and talked like Jean-Claude Van Damme or Stallone. All one-liners, that sort of thing. She was brought up in that really confused environment.
Was it weird auditioning girls to say that line?
Yeah. It was actually a bit of a moment. I remember just seeing kid after kid after kid saying that, over and over and over again. After the shock wore off, it just became really, really funny. Then maybe after a couple of hours of that, it became more of an existential horror. Where I was a bit like, ‘What has my life become? What have I contributed to the world?’
Is it true you told Vaughn you thought he’d made a chick-flick when you first saw it?
That’s right. When we saw the film it was like, ‘Fucking hell.’ Everybody was quite numb afterward. Because the film is like this weird juggernaut. And after the Hit Girl sequence, we just sat there shellshocked. And Matthew says, “Well, what do you think?” I said, “You the weird thing is, it’s actually quite charming.” And everybody looked around at me like I was mad. “Oh, it’s really harsh and all that. But I feel like the move is kinda like a chick-flick.” Which I stand by because it’s quite soft as well as being horrible. Aaron is a very gentle action lead and even the most bad-ass person in it is a 10-year-old girl. And Vaughn said, ‘Only a fucking Glasweigian could think that was like a chick-flick.”
What happens if Kick-Ass doesn’t do well at the box-office?
I remember reading this interview with Douglas Baader, the World War Two flying ace. And he said that the way he never got shot down was that he couldn’t imagine a world that didn’t have Douglas Baader in it. Where he’d been killed in action. I think it was that insane self-belief that kept him going. And to me, it’s never been an issue. Even when the studios said, “This is rubbish, we hate it”, I still thought, “This is going to be awesome.” And then Matthew said, ‘Right, I’m going to fund it myself.’ And I thought, ‘Of course!’ I’m mean, it’s Vaughn’s money so he’s obviously a bit more wary. I was like, “This is going to be great, don’t worry about it!” At every stage, I’ve had insane belief in this project.
Why do you think you and Vaughn get on so well?
It’s quite odd, isn’t it? We couldn’t not have been more distant. He’s from like this private-school-educated aristocratic family, literally. Had Butlers. Not just one butler, but three butlers. He’s married to a supermodel, multibillionaire or whatever. I grew up in a council house in Scotland and used to buy my clothes in Next. But the thing that united us above all was the geek gene. I think within five minutes of th call, we’d both said we thought The Incredibles was probably the best film of the last 10 years. We both utterly agreed that. We were just raving about it. Then we started talking about Star Wars… The brotherhood of the geek, you know.
Will you and Vaughn do another project together?
We’re looking at a few things. Vaughn and I are talking about doing a secret-agent project, that at the moment I haven’t done yet. It’s a book. I’m also doing two new superhero projects, one called Nemesis, that comes out soon. I thinking an evil Batman. If Batman was The Joker, basically.