Mark Millar

20th Century Fox

Over the course of director Matthew Vaughn‘s career his love for James Bond has rang loud and clear. In Vaughn’s debut feature, Layer Cake, the suave anti-hero, XXXX (Daniel Craig), wields an old-fashioned gun with an ultra-cool pose that, for anyone who saw the film before Casino Royale, made Craig seem like an obvious contender for Bond. In the audio commentary for Layer Cake Vaughn mentions how XXXX, during that scene, “wants to be Bond.” Not only does XXXX want to be Bond, but Matthew Vaughn clearly wants — or wanted — to direct Bond. Now Vaughn has gotten his way by making a film that’s about as close one can get to Ian Fleming’s English spy. With Kingsman: The Secret Service, Vaughn has basically directed his own Bond picture, except without any self-seriousness, an anguished hero, or other modern Bond staples.

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Mark Millar, the comic book writer responsible for Wanted and the Kick Ass series, is normally associated with gooey, gory mayhem and a dash of immaturity. Watching about fifteen seconds worth of Kick Ass could tell you that. But despite arming children with lethal weapons and strings of profanities, he also has a softer side. It’s the kinder, gentler Millar that created “Kindergarten Heroes,” a superhero-themed children’s book that’s now being adapted into a feature film. Deadline, which broke the story, has Carter Blanchard (who’s written the upcoming Glimmer and Spy Hunter) on screenwriting duties for Kindergarten Heroes, with plans to turn it into the latest kids’ movie franchise. And for those worried that Millar is only capable of writing child characters with an unquenchable thirst for killing, rest assured his film adaptations may all be (until now) bursting at the seams with fake blood, but Millar has plenty of kid-friendly comics under his belt. Kindergarten Heroes may just be a break before the burst of toilet humor and violent dismemberment. And who knows if a movie about knee-high superheroes will have any merit to it at all. It might be quickly forgotten fare, like Sky High. Or “I wish I could forget this but it’s been burned into my retinas forever” fare, like Superbabies: Baby Geniuses 2. So long as they keep the super-belches to a minimum, it should be okay.

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The Accused

The morning’s best writing from around the movie website-o-sphere. Just leave a tab open for us, will ya?

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kick-ass

When Kick-Ass hit theaters in 2010, it tainted comic book movies for me. Bringing a sense of gore and grit to escapism, it would come to color other caped members of the genre. The most recent example is Man of Steel which features a hefty, highly debated death toll, but doesn’t feature much time for reflection because, of course, they needed to have a female soldier comment on how hot Superman is at the end. In a different view on the same neighborhood, Joss Whedon actually showed people being saved amid the destructive aftermath to his battle in The Avengers. Captain America earns the thanks of a grateful group, but is it realistic that an entire alien army stormed through downtown New York City with several flying football fields, but everyone was evacuated in a few minutes? It’s difficult to shake the potential for a death toll when you fictionally destroy that many city blocks, but Kick-Ass made the loss of a single life seem grisly and as powerful as a steaming locomotive.

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Film Title: Kick-Ass 2

“So, tell me, Jeff, what’s it like to work with Jim Carrey?” I might as well just have started off with that question when interviewing Kick-Ass 2 ‘s writer and director, Jeff Wadlow. After seeing the film, how do you not ask about Carrey’s performance? He’s made fans with his more kid-driven pictures, which is fine, but in the past nine years, his only genuinely great performance to speak of is I Love You Phillip Morris. Now with Kick-Ass 2, Carrey has another new performance that can stand amongst his finest work. So discussing Wadlow’s collaboration with Carrey as Colonel Stars and Stripes is a given. He’s not the Big Daddy of the sequel; it’s a whole different burst of energy. The whole film feels that way. Wadlow kept in touch with the first film’s sensibility, but he takes certain elements to new extremes. Keep reading to see what else Wadlow had to say about the Kick-Ass 2:

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If there’s any lingering doubt that The Bechdel Test is hopelessly out of date and no longer the standard by which films with even the slightest feminist lean (or, at the very least, films with a basic respect for the complexities of female characters) should be judged, Jeff Wadlow’s Kick-Ass 2 handily puts the final nail in that critical coffin. This week’s follow-up to Matthew Vaughn’s 2010 adaptation of the Mark Millar and John Romita, Jr. comic book series is violent, vile, and ugly on its own, but the application of the so-called Bechdel test has the reverse effect that it should – the film passes, and it’s instantly even more violent, vile, and ugly. If you’re unfamiliar with the test, it’s simple enough to break down. First attributed to American cartoonist Alison Bechdel in 1985 via a character in her strip “Dykes to Watch Out For,” the Bechdel test originally had just three rules to determine whether or not a film (at the time, the test was only applied to the cinematic arts, though that’s changed over time) portrayed women in a diverse enough manner and didn’t possess a gender bias (which has often been interpreted as a test to see if a film has a feminist lean to it, though that was never its intent). Those rules are as such:  It has to have at least two women in it,  who talk to each other,  about something besides a man. The test now also regularly includes a fourth […]

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Kick-Ass 2

There have only been three adaptations of Mark Millar’s comic books thus far, but it’s impressive how faithful they’ve all been. Wanted drifts from the page a bit, but it still captures Millar’s often mean-spirited characters and worlds with reverence. Kick-Ass and Kick-Ass 2, while having their share of deviations as well, also hew closely to Millar’s intentions of showing a geeky teenager thrust into a violent world while wearing a goofy set of pajamas. There are violent consequences to Dave Lizewski (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) taking a crack at the life of a crime fighter, something few caped men face in modern superhero films even as whole city blocks are leveled. Both of the Kick-Ass films confront certain superhero tropes, but for Millar, it’s not done as satire. It springs from a far more genuine place. It’s also a bloody place, so when we spoke with the comic book creator, we got to talk about expanding expectations for a second outing and the danger of glorifying all the hits.

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Hit-Girl proves that she’d rather be dead than red in this new featurette from the creators of Kick-Ass 2, which goes behind the scenes of the teen superhero’s final battle with the imposing Mother Russia, Red Mist’s bodyguard. The (very NSFW) featurette chronicles the anatomy of a fight scene, which is particularly interesting when one opponent is a tiny sixteen-year-old girl, and the other is a 6’2” Russian bodybuilder. Hit-Girl (the charming Chloe Moretz) is under the common teenage delusion that she is unstoppable, even when faced with a daunting enemy like Mother Russia (newcomer and real-life bodybuilder Olga Kurkulina). Moretz speaks about this with a wisdom beyond her 16 years – her character doesn’t understand why the enemy won’t “ughh just die already.” All in all, it looks like it’s going to be a fun battle to witness on the big screen; Hit-Girl throws knives that Mother Russia simply pulls out of her arm like splinters. That’s pretty hardcore. But this seems like a climactic part of the movie, no? Maybe we could have kept this particular battle a secret for the time being. Check out the featurette after the break.

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Mark Millar

A few years ago comic book writer Mark Millar was gearing up to helm his directorial debut, Miracle Park. The project saw plenty of coverage back in 2009, but since then, there has been little heard about it. The film was described as a dark superhero story about a pack of animal rights activists who break into a laboratory set in modern day Scotland. Most likely, those hippies ended up getting into some sort of a freak accident, turning them into superheroes.

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Mark Millar

It’s amazing Mark Millar has been appointed the coveted position of handling Fox’s Marvel adaptations and has yet brag about it or give us exaggerated news stories to scoff at. Millar actually seems to be taking this gig rather seriously. Based on his still slightly cryptic plans, we can see why. Considering Millar just signed on for the job, there isn’t a whole lot of news in what he had to say about the future for Fox’s Marvel properties. If there’s anything newsworthy in what Millar had to say about the future it’s regarding the obvious spinoffs from the X-Men franchise, “Fox are thinking, ‘We’re sitting on some really awesome things here. There is another side of the Marvel Universe. Let’s try and get some cohesiveness going.’ So they brought me in to oversee that really, so to meet with the writers and directors to suggest new ways we could take this stuff and maybe new properties that could spin out of it, because the X-Men alone feels like a universe of itself; there’re so many characters, there’re so many great potential spin-off characters.” The X-Men world is currently the only universe Fox has set up, but could Daredevil work in an X-Men world? The rumor was Fox wanted an unsurprisingly “gritty” take on the man without fear, and after the tone Matthew Vaughn established with X-Men: First Class, would the two styles mesh together well?

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Mark Millar

Fox hasn’t always been the most successful studio, as far as adapting Marvel comic books is concerned. Though their 2000 film version of X-Men is largely responsible for launching the current comic book movie boom, their more recent mutant movies haven’t been all that hot, and their takes on the Marvel-created Daredevil and Fantastic Four franchises haven’t been able to produce anything remotely up to snuff. Their treatment of their superhero movies has gone so far off the rails that they’re even set to lose the rights to the Daredevil property, as their attempts to get a new film together haven’t kept pace with the end of their contract. That doesn’t mean that Fox’s days of making Marvel movies are over, though. They’ve still got two more X-Men movies in the works in James Mangold’s The Wolverine and Matthew Vaughn’s  X-Men: Days of Future Past, and they’ve made a new commitment to taking another crack at the Fantastic Four franchise by bringing Chronicle director Josh Trank on for a reboot. That’s some powerhouse talent paired with some potentially lucrative material. And today Fox announced their next step toward getting their Marvel properties back under control: they’ve hired veteran comic book creator Mark Millar to come on as a creative consultant for all of the House of Ideas characters that are still under their control.

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Kick-Ass 2: Balls to the Wall

Earlier this summer, we learned that a Kick-Ass sequel called Kick-Ass 2: Balls to the Wall was likely to go into development and was likely to be written and directed by a guy named Jeff Wadlow. Well, turns out that not only is all of that coming to fruition, but a bunch of casting has already been taken care of, so now the film is looking (surprisingly enough) super official. First off, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Chloe Moretz, and Christopher Mintz-Plasse were all rumored to be negotiating to come back and resume their roles from the first film, and that has indeed happened – but they’re not the only names that have officially come on board. The storyline in Mark Millar and John Romita Jr.’s “Kick-Ass 2” comic revolves around Kick-Ass joining a newly formed crew of crime fighters called Justice Forever, which means that this new movie sequel is going to need to cast a lot of new actors in a lot of new superhero roles.

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Wanted Movie

A Wanted 2 has been kicking around ever since the first film’s 2008 release. Even after becoming a surprising R-rated success and Mark Millar talking up the project every chance he gets, the likelihood of Wanted 2 seemed dimmer year after year. When Angelina Jolie passed on the sequel, it was publicized as the death knell of the project. Now, with director Timur Bekmambetov making the press rounds for Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, he’s remarked the project is now picking up steam, thanks to a “great” and “shocking” idea he came up with. The Playlist got an update from Bekmambetov, who explained the bright future for the project, “An unbelievable thing happened three weeks ago. Because we stopped, we didn’t know what to do for three or four years. Three weeks ago I came up with a great idea and I pitched this idea and everybody fell in love with it. And now I think we’re on track. Right now the writer is working on the script, and it will be shocking.” As we all know, not too many characters made it out of Wanted still breathing, except, of course, Wesley Gibson. Bekmambetov confirmed it would pick up where the first film left off, “It’s a continuation of the story, with Wesley Gibson… Other people are dead, you know, we can’t bring them back. The story is the same character, same mythology, but it’s got a great twist.”

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There’s no director set. No cast. And Lionsgate wasn’t just thrilled about getting another Kick Ass out into the streets. Apparently none of that matters because comic creator Mark Millar is boasting a summer shooting schedule for a movie that has appeared dead since early last year. Of course, this comes after the last time Millar claimed Kick Ass 2: Balls to the Wall would be moving forward, and the time before that. In his latest interview with the Daily Record, Millar upped the ante by stating that the sequel to the Matthew Vaughn-directed ode to violence would start shooting this summer in addition to a film version of his comic “American Jesus.” A movie he first announced three years ago. He also claimed that he was responsible for Marvel’s success and the hype surrounding The Avengers, that he turns down tons of huge projects, and that he refuses to move to LA because he has major Hollywood players coming to him anyway. Seriously. The interview feature is a must-read simply for how bodacious it is. His newest sci-fi book will be the biggest franchise since Star Wars? This guy has brass bollocks. It’s a shame not even half the stuff he says publicly comes to pass.  

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Joe Carnahan

The first reaction of anyone coming out of The Grey probably won’t be, “I bet the director of The A-Team, Smokin’ Aces, and that BMW short Ticker made this!” Joe Carnahan prefers it to be that way. The director’s fifth feature film isn’t a full-blown action romp, but is instead a thrilling meditation on life, death, and survival. (Check out our review here.) Similar to Carnahan’s breakout feature, Narc, The Grey shows all the trappings of a true personal project — the kind of story that a filmmaker had to tell. And, after speaking with Carnahan for 25 minutes, that was clearly the case. From White Jazz to Killing Pablo, when the personable man finds a story that comes from his core, he’s got to get it made. Here’s what Joe Carnahan had to say about the life and death themes of The Grey, writing and portraying real men, and why he never wants to become a “one for them, one for me” filmmaker:

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s all about movies, and television, and comics, and literature, and photos of hot women. Such as Miss Piggy, yo. We begin tonight with perhaps the most interesting twist of the fall movie season. In recent interviews, the likes of Frank Oz and other original puppeteers and writers from the Jim Henson school are speaking out about how The Muppets might not respect the characters they helped create. “I wasn’t happy with the script,” Oz told Metro. “I don’t think they respected the characters. But I don’t want to go on about it like a sourpuss and hurt the movie.”

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There’s something incredibly lacking in the announcement by Mark Millar that there will be a sequel to Kick-Ass. For one, it comes slightly unexpectedly considering the less-than-explosive showing at the box office and the unnecessary nature of continuing the story. For two, the comic book writer whose work is being adapted announcing that they want more of his work to adapt (and doing it on British radio show) seems more like wishful thinking than a genuine announcement.

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Chloe Moretz in Kick-Ass

Mark Millar is at it again. Talking, that is. Don’t get me wrong, as much as we love the guy for all of the subversively brilliant work he does with his comic writing, he does talk a lot about projects that may or may not ever happen.

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It’s not nearly as bad as everyone’s making it out to be, but it wasn’t nearly as huge as most fans seemed to expect.

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Matthew Vaughn Kick-Ass

With Kick-Ass, Matthew Vaughn wanted to go against the grain and against the studios, and it looks like he may have done just that.

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published: 12.19.2014
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published: 12.18.2014
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published: 12.17.2014
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