LEV: God, how does a guy who is married to Claudia Schiffer — who is essentially super powered — flash on a property like this? How does he even identify with somebody like Kick-Ass?
MARK: The nice thing — one thing I’ve found as I’ve sort of adjusted from just doing comics to comics and films, you meet some pretty interesting people, and you realize that everyone is kind of geeky, you know? Matthew and I must have spent an hour of our first chat talking about The Incredibles and Star Wars.
There’s a kind of geek mafia in Hollywood right now, which is lovely, to the point where some people who aren’t geeks are pretending to be geeks. One of my friends, you know the guy Damon Lindelof, he works on Lost? Damon’s got a name for them; he calls them Ferds, which is fake nerds. It’s like, you know those agents who come in who try to bullshit the way they’ve been nerds, but they’re not really nerds, but they know where the money is right now? Matthew is just like the rest of us, he grew up liking Spider-man, Superman and Star Wars, and so all the reference points just all touched.
LEV: I’m 40 and I was really into comic books, but it was really shameful, there was a huge stigma associated with it. The idea that you could have a movie of The Lord of the Rings that would be a big hit, it was unthinkable.
MARK: The idea that someone could take someone now to a movie like Lord of the Rings and get laid afterwards is just insane. Growing up you would have been beaten to death going to see a movie like that. And I just turned 40 as well, so it’s exactly the same thing. I think it got cool around about 1999 to 2000 — I think it was the minute that respectable Hollywood guys like Brian Singer and Chris Nolan and Sam Raimi came in. Suddenly you thought, oh, these are all very worthwhile and authentic.
I mean, I used to be so ashamed of reading comics, I wouldn’t read them in public. You would read them inside newspapers if you were on a train. Hiding it inside pornography, that would be less shameful.
LEV: Let’s talk about the extreme-ness of the violence in Kick-Ass. Did you ever sort of think of something, block it out in your head, and then say no, no, no that’s too far, it’s too much, I can’t do that?
MARK: No, I’d say I go the opposite. I really love to start where other people draw the line. I get a lot of criticism for it. A lot of people will say, oh, you’re just trying to shock, and I just always think that’s the weirdest thing to say. It’s like saying, oh you’re just trying to entertain. Or you’re just trying to make someone laugh.
The conversation continues tomorrow…