Interview with ‘Kick-Ass’ creator Mark Millar: ‘Hit-Girl is one of the most objectionable characters in Daily Mail history’
Why do you think Hit-Girl has been so popular?
I think number one was the big gap in the market at the time. It was really quite odd. When my daughter was about four or five she got into superheroes and she really liked movies but there was no one for her to dress up as or draw. I hadn’t been aware of it as a boy growing up. There’s only really Wonder Woman and she’s not really that cool. I just wanted to create something for my daughter and Hit-Girl started off as a sweet little character that I created for her but then manifested itself into one of the most objectionable characters in Daily Mail history. I think she caught on just because there was nothing like it at the time. The weekend after Kick-Ass opened four or five projects with badass female heroines that had been hanging around for a few months got the green light and I think everyone thought ‘oh, that might be quite interesting’. Suddenly there was a whole movement.
What is it about her character that makes her so appealing?
I think people like revenge movies. People like revenge stories but they get objectionable when Charles Bronson’s cutting someone’s testicles off or something like that. But whenever it’s a 10-year-old girl doing it, it’s […] impossible to get upset by it. So even if you saw Hit-Girl in the first one crushing people inside car crushers it still felt quite bright and fun. I think you juxtapose the horror with the cuteness and then it’s somehow alright.
How did you come up with the storyline for the Hit-Girl comic?
She’s obviously a very tiny, capable badass and you can only do that joke once really. If you’re doing a sequel or you’re doing the character again you have to find a new angle on it. It’s not just enough to have her be small and violent and swearing, you have to add an extra dimension. So what I realised is that she had been trained by her father into being a killing machine. It meant that she could dispatch gangsters and triads and all this kind of thing. But how would she handle social problems? Like if she’s in a school and someone says: ‘I hate your hair, it looks s***’, she can’t stab them. She has to build up a toughness that she’s never needed to have before and I thought that might be quite interesting. I’ve just watched the movie, it’s all shot now and being edited and it’s actually quite moving when you see that stuff happening to a real kid. When you see someone who you’re so used to being dangerous suddenly quite helpless, you really root for her and it makes you love her all over again.
I think what’s quite interesting about the concept of the superhero, a realistic superhero, is that it has to have a bad end. I think that Spider-man and Superman and all these people, who have got super powers, they get shot they’re kind of alright. But what I’ve always said is that Kick-Ass 3 is my last one. I won’t say whether it’s going to be a happy ending or a sad ending but it’s a definite conclusion.
What did you think of Chloe Moretz’s performance as Hit-Girl?
It’s an exceptional performance. It’s like when you first see Jodie Foster as a young kid, it’s like adult eyes looking out from a tiny button-nosed face, how can this kid be pulling off these scenes? But she’s three years older in the next one which meant that she had to play it slightly differently. It’s not enough to just be cute and violent, she’s had to make it a slightly more complex character. If you’re looking for a teenage girl as a lead in your movie, the first person everyone calls is Chloe. This is the equivalent of having Robert De Niro in your film. She’s the 15-year-old girl version of Robert De Niro.
Do you think Hit-Girl has opened the door for female superheroes?
Without a question. One thing that I do think is fascinating is that there’s seldom been a big mainstream adult female action hero. I don’t know what it is, audiences seems to accept very, very young girls like 13 or 14-years-old. But Aeon Flux and Catwoman and all those kind of movies starring adult superheroines tend to not reach the same wide audience and I have no idea why that is. On the one hand they’re not very good movies, so it could just be coincidental but I do think there is a gap in the market for a great adult female superhero.
Would you consider creating an adult female superhero to fill this gap?
I’ve no agenda. I always think it’s a bit weird when a guy comes along and says ‘I’ve got a feminist agenda’. I just look at it as a writer and I like playing around with all the different archetypes so I don’t like to say ‘that door is closed’. You should always try new things and my next project that I have coming up in April, it’s the biggest project I’ve ever worked on, it’s called Jupiter’s Legacy. It’s about an 18-year-old girl whose mum is the world’s greatest superhero and whose dad is the world’s greatest male superhero and she can’t possibly live up to their expectations.
What else do you have coming out this year?
I have a book coming out called The Secret Service and Matthew Vaughn and Jane Goldman are turning that into a movie in the early part of the summer. It’s going to be a spy movie based on the book that I’ve done. It’s like Pygmalion meets James Bond which is all about a young London rioter who gets mentored by a James Bond figure and turns into one of the greatest secret service agents. He’s told to get rid of his JJB sports clothing, things like that and taught about food and fine wine and how to be like James Bond. It’s Pretty Woman for boys essentially. At the end of the year I’m doing a movie called Nemesis for Fox based on a book I did last year like what if Batman was a bad guy? Like a billionaire who does terrible things in a costume. It’s non-stop.
Hit-Girl will be published later this monthTagged in: Chloe Moretz, comic books, Hit-Girl, Jupiter's Legacy, Kick-Ass, Mark Millar, Nemesis
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