Before the release of Kick-Ass 2, Jim Carrey stirred some trouble when he withdrew support for the movie because of the harsh gun violence. Kick-Ass co-creator John Romita Jr. was, as an understatement, quite unhappy with this betrayal, and vows to never work with Carrey again. Romita was most upset because he felt Carrey could have played up his anti-gun agenda without hurting the movie, and hurting the crew that worked extremely hard to produce the film.
John Romita Jr. and Mark Millar sat down with Comic Book Resources a few months after the Carrey debacle to discuss the final comic book in the series (that the movies are based off of), Kick-Ass 3 #8. When the subject of Carrey and his disaffiliation came up, Romita jumped on the opportunity to share his thoughts:
As for Jim Carrey, I know I’ll never work with that bonehead again, so let me say this. I think Mark and I have talked about this before, but here’s a guy who could have capitalized on the character he played and played it toward his anti-gun stance. The character he played gave up weapons — gave up guns — and became a good guy. Anybody with three quarters of an education could have figured out how to fold that idea in with their anti-gun ideas. He’s not a smart enough guy to do that.
Ouch. Though Romita’s words seem a little harsh, I have to agree with him. Carrey did it all wrong. To stand up for your beliefs is one thing, but to hurt something that you signed up for, and made a commitment to, is just wrong. And Romita points out there was an easy way to express his anti-gun views with the character he was given. There’s no doubt that the Kick-Ass franchise is violence heavy, but Carrey could have expressed his views (if he wasn’t such a "bonehead") without complete disregard for the success of a movie that he'd previously made a commitment to. And that’s Romita’s biggest issue with the whole mess Carrey created.
Carrey might be an idiot in Romita’s eyes for not thinking of the easy solution and capitalizing on the character he played, but more importantly, Carrey screwed everyone he worked with. People that didn’t get to cash the surely hefty paycheck that Carrey received for his work. Romita continues:
[Carrey] cashed his check and took his money, and then he went and pulled a bunch of crap on our film. I say ‘our film,’ because a lot of people worked on that. He made people suffer that had jobs and needed every dime from this. I’m not talking about Mark and I. I’m talking about people in the offices and people behind the camera that worked their butts off for this. He took money out of their pockets, and he should be ashamed of himself. I’ve always wanted to say that, and I’ll stand on a chair and look him in the eye and tell him that’s what I think."
From the process of writing the screenplay to the release of the movie in theaters, many people worked tirelessly on that film. And Jim Carrey read the screenplay, he knew what he was getting into before it even started filming. You can stand tall for your political beliefs, but at the end of the day, Carrey took that paycheck no questions asked. And only after that decided to express his beliefs. That’s not really the way activism works.
And not to mention, Kick-Ass is completely fictionalized. Mark Millar put it best on his site, Millarworld, in response to Carrey’s words:
Ultimately, this is his decision, but I’ve never quite bought the notion that violence in fiction leads to violence in real-life any more than Harry Potter casting a spell creates more Boy Wizards in real-life. Our job as storytellers is to entertain and our toolbox can’t be sabotaged by curtailing the use of guns in an action-movie. Imagine a John Wayne picture where he wasn’t packing or a Rocky movie where Stallone wasn’t punching someone repeatedly in the face. Our audience is smart enough to know they’re all pretending and we should instead just sit back and enjoy the serotonin release of seeing bad guys meeting bad ends as much as we enjoyed seeing the Death Star exploding."
Though the comic book series is over, and a new movie is unconfirmed, the Kick-Ass series will continue to be a great way to enjoy that good old-fashioned serotonin release, and see some bad guys get their asses kicked.