Colin Firth… action hero?
That's been the most intriguing prospect of Matthew Vaughn's 'Kingsman: The Secret Service,” based on another Mark Millar series, since Firth was first announced for the cast last year.
Now that we've got an actual trailer for the movie, I'm in. I find that Matthew Vaughn is an enormously divisive filmmaker, and I have peers who routinely lambast me for enjoying his work. I don't care. I like his sensibilities. I think he has a very dry subversive streak, a fondness for the rude, and he loves many of the same things I do about action movies in general. Hooking up with Mark Millar has led him down a very particular path, and I can see a sort of progression from “Kick-Ass,” where a kid decides he wants to try to be a real-life superhero with no powers, to this film, where a kid is recruited to go to what looks like a deadly Hogwarts for British spies.
By far, the best adult role in “Kick-Ass” was the one played by Nicholas Cage, and I think his Big Daddy is one of his most interesting characters. Now Firth is playing a guy who is essentially James Bond, looking to turn a troubled young English kid into a weapon that can be used. Millar's “Wanted” also involved someone realizing they had a role to play in something larger than they ever realized, so this is certainly an idea he's explored through the prisms of several different archetypes now.
Michael Caine continues his recent run as the coolest supporting actor who has to deliver massive amounts of exposition, and I'm really glad to see Mark Strong working with Vaughn again as well. I met Strong for the first time on the set of “Stardust,” where I spent an afternoon watching him throw himself around a witch's palace as if under the influence of a voodoo doll. He seems to have a great working relationship with Vaughn, and I like seeing Vaughn add to that rolling ensemble he's slowly building.
The person who's got to be most excited about this is Taron Egerton, who plays Gary, the troubled kid who Firth handpicks to become a Kingsman. If he makes a strong impression in the role, this could be huge for him, and so far, he's got a handful of TV credits to his name and little else. I laughed at the Samuel Jackson appearance in the trailer, and all of this is still without us getting a look at Mark Hamill, who evidently has some great moments. I read about half of an early draft by Vaughn and his constant collaborator, Jane Goldman, then realized I didn't want to know any more than I already did.
And, yes, based on what we see here, Colin Firth is indeed going to be revealed to be the big secret badass that we always suspected was lurking somewhere beneath that charming Mr. Darcy exterior. I love watching actors explode expectations about who they are and what they can, and it looks like Firth is having a blast here.
Can't wait. “Kingsman: The Secret Service” opens in the US on October 24, 2014.