In the nearly three years since he made his screen debut in Superbad, Christopher Mintz-Plasse has yet to come across a role as instantly iconic and memorable as McLovin, the dweeby high schooler with way more confidence than he has any right to have. But this weekend, Mintz-Plasse may finally be changing that. As Red Mist in Kick-Ass, a teenager simultaneously aspiring to be a superhero and supervillain, Mintz-Plasse is both perfect casting and surprising-- the role requires him to be both dopey and potentially evil, especially as the son of horrible mob boss Frank D'Amico (Mark Strong). Even though the role existed in the comic book by Mark Millar, screenwriter Jane Goldman reshaped the character specifically for Mintz-Plasse, and he's perfect for it all the way through.
Last week we talked to Mintz-Plasse about playing a superhero with no super skills, being face-to-face with Nic Cage's Adam West impression, and whether or not he would kick Hit Girl in the face. The interview contains SPOILERS for the final act of Kick-Ass, but as a movie it's pretty hard to spoil, so don't be too afraid.
We understand you were surprised that you were asked to audition?
Yeah, well it's an action movie. I've never done anything action, I don't look like I should do anything action-oriented. So I was very honored when they sent me the script. Then I realized I was playing a kid that should not do any action in the movie.
Were you initially auditioning for Kick-Ass?
Yeah, I initially read for the role of Kick Ass, and I went in and [director Matthew Vaughn] just hated it, he hated everything I did in the audition. So he gave me the role of Red Mist right there.
How does your Red Mist compare to the one in the comic?
The one in the comic is much cooler than I am. They wanted my father to be a badass, and I've never been accepted by him. They wanted that instead of the cool guy who's always smoking weed and getting the girls.
But you get kind of intense and mean toward the end. What was it like playing that big switch?
That was a lot of fun. The first act is very relaxing, and then in the second and third it's more dramatic, more action packed. But once my father goes away, I realize that Kick-Ass betrayed me, I just get straight-up evil in the last 20 minutes. Matthew wanted me the evilest I could ever look.
What was the most surprising thing about working on the movie?
Nic Cage's Adam West character. When you work with him right in your face, it's very hard not to laugh. That's what he's going for. He wants it to be very funny. That was very surprising and very fun.
The ending sets it up for a sequel. Where would you like your character to go?
I don't really like talking about sequels because it's way in the future, who knows what's going to happen. But if there had to be a sequel, I'd want him to get very dark and very evil. I think that's where you can see it going from the end of this one.
We heard there was a scene you had to cut because Mark Strong wouldn't kick Chloe in the end.
He wanted in the ending fight for Chloe to be on the ground and for him to be kicking Chloe in the head repeatedly. We were like, she wouldn't have a face after that. And he refused to do that.
Were there any other moments like that?
He was kind of skeptical about the whole fight scene because he had two kids. He wasn't a fan of the whole ending fight scene but he went with it because it works so well for the movie.
Would you have that reaction?
I would have stomped her in the face. I love violence in the movies, so the more, the better.
What kind of conversations did you have with Matthew about keeping your performances with the tone of the film?
Jane [Goldman, the screenwriter] knew I was auditioning for the role, so she wrote Red Mist with me in mind. So that was really easy to take my character from the script. Then Matthew wanted us to research comics and get in that mode.