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kick-ass-poster-1 Film Gecko Correspondent Lindsay Long was at SXSW and sent along this report on ‘Kick-Ass,’ which premiered at the festival March 12, but opens in theaters for the  rest of us on April 16, 2010.

And it looks, well, kick ass! Lindsay writes:

On Friday, ‘Kick-Ass’ premiered at SXSW Film in Austin, TX. The line to get into the Paramount theatre wrapped around the block as movie fans waited to see if they would be one of the lucky few to screen ‘Kick-Ass’ a month before its theatrical release.

When director Matthew Vaughn last visited Austin a few months ago, he screened a rough cut of the film. When he screened ‘Kick-Ass’ this weekend at SXSW, less than a week had passed since he completed the film. The SXSW audience was the first to see the film in its final form, and seemed to agree that waiting in the long line was worthwhile.

‘Kick-Ass’ is a comic book adaptation about Dave Lizewski (played by Aaron Johnson), your basic high school comic nerd who, against his better judgment, decides to become a super hero. After his mail-order super hero costume arrives, Dave takes to the streets and also the Internet, becoming a the latest online sensation, complete with his own MySpace page. While beating up the bad guys and righting wrongs, Dave accidentally involves himself with a professional group of bad guys and bumps into a duo of vigilantes, Hit Girl (played by newcomer Chloe Moretz) and Big Daddy (played by Nicolas Cage).

The movie is everything the trailers and teasers set you up for. It’s funny and action packed and keeps you rooting for Kick-Ass, the unlikely superhero, as he discovers you don’t need super powers to be a hero.

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John Romita Jr. (Illustrator), Mark Millar (comic writer), Matthew Vaughn (director), Aaron Johnson (Dave/Kick Ass), Christopher Mintz-Plasse (Chris D’Amico / Red Mist), and Clark Duke (Marty); Photo: Lindsay Long

During the SXSW Q&A session this past weekend, the writer, director, and cast shed some light on not just the movie but the comic book’s origins. Writer Mark Millar was inspired by his own attempt to become a superhero at age 15, when he and his friends decided to skip studying to plan out their new super occupation and costumes. Eventually, Millar says, "We came to our f***ing senses." So in a way, ‘Kick-Ass’ explores what might have happened if Millar had strapped on the cape and taken to the streets.

Chloe Moretz is amazing as Hit Girl – adorable, funny, and deadly. Which begged the question from the audience: where did you find this girl? Funny enough, they said finding Moretz didn’t take long at all. She was the second person to read for the part and was cast without ever doing a screen test.

The inspiration for the character of Hit Girl came when Millar’s daughter wasn’t old enough to go see an action movie starring Angelina Jolie. His daughter came to him and asked him to create a tough little girl character for her. Initially intending for this project to be all-ages appropriate, Millar started working on Hit Girl. And then, he jokingly says, "It all went horribly wrong." ‘Kick-Ass’ ended up with an R rating, and the filmmakers admit they wouldn’t have it any other way. Several audience members at SXSW agreed, saying they wouldn’t have wanted a PG-13 version of the movie either.

Moving on in the Q&A, when asked by the audience if there had been any injuries while filming the stellar fight scenes, Christopher Mintz-Plasse (who plays Chris D’Amico / Red Mist and is best known for his role as McLovin in ‘SuperBad’), says only one injury occurred. Mintz-Plasse knocked himself out with a set of nunchucks. One other casualty on set was Red Mist’s awesome Red Mustang. It was the first time that Mintz-Plasse had ever driven a stick shift, and he expressed concern about what his inexperience might have done to the car’s transmission.

All in all, I think Vaughn sums it up quite nicely, "This movie is about being brave."

Thanks for the great report, Lindsay!

Trailer 1:

Trailer 2:

Images: Lindsay Long; Lionsgate

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