Over at the Nerd HQ stage at San Diego Comic-Con 2013, Shira Lazar and Ethan Newberry chat with John Leguizamo (Javier), Donald Faison (Doctor Gravity) and director Jeff Wadlow about joining the “Kick-Ass” team, training for the superhero fight scenes, and translating the comic to the big screen.
“I was a huge fan of the first film,” Faison says. “Just to get the opportunity to be a part of the second one, it’s a dream come true.”
Leguizamo offers a similar explanation for jumping into the project. “I watched the first film and it was incredibly violent and incredibly charming at the same time,” he says. “It was a beautiful coming of age story. And then when I read the second one it was even funnier.” He continues to say that it had “a lot of action and violence” and was “incredibly vulgar,” adding, “I’d sign on right away.”
Wadlow, as the director, had perhaps the most intimidating experience joining the “Kick Ass” team.
“It was a really interesting experience for me, being both the new guy and suddenly the head of the family,” he says. In terms of send his main character down the rabbit hole, he says, “We put him through a meat grinder of emotion and action and humor and just tried to put them in the most extreme situations possible and see what happens.”
Leguizamo also takes the time to give a shout out to his comedic counterpart in the film, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, who plays Chris D’Amico. “He and I were like Abbott and Costello. We had this odd couple relationship that was so fun to play.” Wadlow confirms that, for Mintz-Plasse, he created a character that wasn’t even in the comic book.
“Every actor on the planet dreams of being a superhero at some point,” Faison says. “That’s where it all starts.” He was so pumped, he whipped his own body into shape when he first found out about it. “I started taking martial arts and MMA when I found out I had to audition.” He admits that the training was fun but also very taxing on the body. “I pulled a butt muscle. I didn’t know you could do that!”
But the hard work paid off and even changed the course that his character took. Wadlow says, “He was too much of a badass so his story changed a little bit. Doctor Gravity became more of a proficient fighter very quickly.”
Wadlow continues to explain the unique structure of the film, by saying, “What’s interesting about the film is it’s really three different stories. It’s Dave’s story, Chris’s story, and Mindy’s story. They actually don’t cross over much until the final act of the film.” He points out that Faison and Leguizamo don’t even have a scene together in the movie.
While some fans may be looking for certain scenes in the film that they love in the comic, Wadlow makes the distinction that some scenes in the comic are so intense that they don’t translate well on film. He stresses that comic books and film are very different media. “In a movie, you’re dealing with real people, flesh and blood,” he says. “It changes your audience’s emotional response.”
Next up, Wadlow reveals that he’s working on an “X-Men” spinoff called “X-Force” for Fox. “The lineup is going to be Iron Man, Invisible Man, and De Niro. You heard it here first!”
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