Using real life historical figures like Grigori Rasputin in a movie like The King’s Man should always lead to a delicate balance between comedy and the truth. After all, the Kingsman Cinematic Universe has always been quick to cut its stylized violence with some randy humor here and there. It’s that balance in the light of actual historical events and figures being used that saw co-writer/director Matthew Vaughn cut about an hour of the film in the final edit, including a scene where Rhys Ifans’ Russian monk would have used a “very large penis” as a weapon.
The anatomical details are, believe it or not, based on what has been written in the history books. Even with that grounding present, Matthew Vaughn had mentioned in his interview with CinemaBlend that three “triple R” rated moments of Rasputin madness had to be cut. Armed with this knowledge, I set off to ask Mr. Ifans if he had a favorite from the bunch, which led to a conversation that broke co-star Djimon Honsou with laughter. Here’s the scene that was described:
Rhys Ifans is certainly the person you’d want to talk to when it comes to the real Grigori Rasputin, as The King’s Man’s press notes have Matthew Vaughn citing him as an obsessive. It made him a natural fit for the role, especially after Ifans put it out into the world that he wanted the part. So if anyone was going to wield that mythically-large organ, Mr. Ifans is the type of person you’d want on the other end.
When discussing those infamous Rasputin scenes, Matthew Vaughn had also mentioned that Rhys Ifans was a bit upset that those moments didn’t make the cut. While the may very well resurface, as Vaughn has mentioned in the past that he'd like to potentially assemble extended versions of Kingman Cinematic Universe entries, Ifans does see why those scenes were cut. Further elaborating on how accurate The King’s Man was in its handling of Rasputin, the actor had this to say:
The balance between over-the-top energy and more period appropriate tones was something that Matthew Vaughn pursued constantly, right down to the soundtrack. During the press conference for The King’s Man that took place the same day as these interviews, the director admitted that he had another musical cue in mind for Rasputin’s big dance battle with Orlando (Ralph Fiennes), Shola (Djimon Honsou), and Conrad (Harris Dickinson); which is featured as a centerpiece of the trailers and commercials in the overall marketing campaign. What was eventually used was a sort of Tchikovsky mixtape, including segments of Swan Lake and The 1812 Overture. However, if he had gone with his original, anachronistic instincts, the Boney M. disco hit “Rasputin” would have been the cue of choice.
Another decision of historical accuracy over crazy theatrics won out, with the final sequence playing out rather beautifully. But Matthew Vaughn’s decision process must have filtered through to the marketing department, as a fun promo centered around Rhys Ifans’ Rasputin was cut using that very song. It may not be anywhere near as wild as destroying a massage table with a penis, but the concept shown in the ad below is a rather inspired “what if” scenario in the world of Kingsman:
There’s a fine line between messy shootouts with exploding wheels of cheese and letting a historical figure do some damage with his dong. Manners certainly made this movie what it is, as the line between filth and fun is a firm one in the King’s Man branch of the franchise. As this installment ends on a note that sees another infamous figure joining the great game, that sort of approach will need to be kept in play should The King’s Man 2 become a reality. It’s in the plans for sure, and if the fans want to see it happen, Matthew Vaughn will gladly step up to the bar and make it so. In which case, one has to wonder what horrifically funny scenes he’ll dream up, only to keep hidden away for another day.
It all depends on how The King’s Man fares at the box office, as the film is currently open for business. If you’ve already seen the movie and want to catch up on some of the other movies that will close out the year, head over to the 2021 release schedule. You’d be surprised what’s waiting for you at a theater near you, especially in this crowded week.
CinemaBlend's James Bond (expert). Also versed in Large Scale Aggressors, time travel, and Guillermo del Toro. He fights for The User.
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