One of the things I heard repeatedly while I was on the set of “Kick-Ass 2” was just how eager Matthew Vaughn was to get started on his adaptation of “The Secret Service,” another Mark Millar comic book. This was not long after Vaughn had officially left “X-Men: Days Of Future Past,” and the rumor mill was in overdrive that Vaughn was going to be the guy who took the helm of “Star Wars: Episode VII.”
I was told repeatedly during my visit that the “Star Wars” rumor wasn’t true, and that Vaughn’s full attention was on getting “The Secret Service” up and running. One of the reasons they wanted to move quickly was because both Millar and Vaughn were concerned that someone would take the basic premise of the series and make a movie that would beat them to the punch. This is a series that Millar has been thinking about since he was in his early 20s, and it only recently came to fruition with Dave Gibbons, his dream artist, handling the visual side of things.
When Millar first started talking about the premise for the series, he said this incarnation began life a few years ago in a pub when he and Vaughn were discussing “Casino Royale” and wondering why they didn’t start with the actual training of James Bond if they were planning to fully reboot the character. They discussed the way Terence Young helped transform the rough-around-the-edges Sean Connery into the refined James Bond that we met onscreen in “Dr. No,” and they talked about a fictional version of that process. Millar described it as a counter-terrorism spin on “My Fair Lady,” which is definitely a high concept hook.
Hoodies, as they’re known in the UK, have been at the heart of a number of pop culture projects in recent years, like “Attack The Block,” and taking a hoodie and turning him into James Bond, with plenty of family baggage piled on, is what drives “The Secret Service,” and it feels like a very English idea overall. Today’s announcement of the deal that Fox made for worldwide distribution rights to “The Secret Service” shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone paying attention. After all, both Millar and Vaughn have been playing fairly high profile roles in Fox’s overall comic book development during the last year, and one of the things Fox is working to do during a transitional time at the studio is shore up certain relationships with filmmakers. Vaughn is someone they want to be in business with overall, so they’re working to keep him happy, and how they handle this film is going to be a big part of defining that relationship.
I’m sure we’ll hear more in the near future. It sounds like Vaughn and his screenwriting partner Jane Goldman have already finished the script, and that means shooting should start sometime this summer.
In the meantime, “Kick-Ass 2” arrives in theaters August 16, 2013.