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Kingsman: The Secret Service - Matthew Vaughn interview

Kingsman: The Secret Service

Compiled by Jack Foley

MATTHEW Vaughn talks about the making of Kingsman: The Secret Service, including reuniting with Mark Millar, working with Colin Firth and his inspiration for the film.

He also discusses his unique approach to the film’s violent but stunning action sequences and how he went about attracting Samuel L Jackson to the role of the film’s main villain. Kingsman: The Secret Service is out on Digital HD on May 24, 2015, and on Blu-ray and DVD on June 8, 2015, from Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment.

Q. What was your inspiration for the film?
Matthew Vaughn: I came up with idea over a pint of Guinness with the lovely Mark Millar. Mark and I were lamenting about how serious spy movies have become and what happened to that feeling that I had and he had when we watched these Bond movies and, you know, James Coburn as Flint. We just thought, let’s do a crazy, post-modern love letter to every spy movie ever made.

Q. How did the Tottenham Riots come to play a part in the film?
Matthew Vaughn: Actually, it was born from the Tottenham Riots when I generally was sort of getting annoyed with all of these buffoons, sort of UK wannabe’s back then probably, of saying these people are dreadful and lock them up and throw them away. And then I started listening to the kids saying, ‘we’re not rioting because we like it, we’re rioting because we’ve got no choice, no one’s listening to us, we’ve got no opportunity’. And I just thought: “Wow, that’s an interesting dynamic of that sort of old school gentleman spies and the young kid, lets throw them together and see what happens.”

Q. How was collaborating again with comic writer Mark Millar?
Matthew Vaughn: Well, we plotted it together. Well, we didn’t really plot it, we were just two nerds talking about spy movies and then Millar went and wrote the thing and then sent it to me and I thought: “What the fuck?” I was like: “Really? Okay, wow, all right!” And then I read it and went: “This was great. I think I’ll write a script.” And then when I wrote the script realising there are huge mistakes in the comic. But Mark being Mark was desperate for a bit of cash and went ahead and printed the thing. So, I changed it for the film. And now he’s going to change the comic because of the movie. So, we have a pretty funky relationship that seems to work pretty well.

Kingsman: The Secret Service

Q. How was working with Colin Firth?
Matthew Vaughn: I had David Niven in my mind when I wrote Harry Hart, and once I finished writing Harry Hart I thought I’ve got to find a modern day David Niven – and Colin Firth is that… a better actor. I mean, I love and respect David Niven, but he was pretty limited. He said it himself, David did, may he rest in peace. But Colin’s a modern day Niven for me.

Q. In what way does Harry Hart pay homage to the gentleman spies of the past?
Matthew Vaughn: He’s an amalgamation of all the great spies put together with a spruce of true gentlemanly moments put on top.

Q. What did you see in Taron Egerton?
Matthew Vaughn: I was looking for Eggsy, and he walked through the door and after about 15, 20 seconds of him literally reading the sides I was like: “My God! This is him.” And I didn’t have a doubt in my mind.

Q. How did you come to cast Samuel L. Jackson as Valentine?
Matthew Vaughn: I’m a huge Sam Jackson fan, so I’ve always wanted to work with him. We actually wrote the character as a young, tech guy – sort of a Zuckerberg, you know the Google guys. But then I kept reading these speeches thinking I needed someone who really knows how to take some pretty expeditionary stuff and make it sound great. And Sam Jackson could read the Yellow Pages and you could be captivated. So, then I said I was going to make Valentine older. And they were like: “Oh you can’t make him older, all these tech billionaires are all young.”

But I was like, well if Steve Jobs was still alive I think he would be the number one tech billionaire in the world, you know, he’s it. They’re not all kids. I said the ones with real power and a real network, they’re actually older. You know, the people who are in the technology are… you know, the Larry Ellison’s, the Steve Jobs and I thought, you know, Bill Gates. I thought, imagine if those guys went crazy, we’d be in far more trouble than if Zuckerberg went nuts.

Q. Can you talk about your approach to the action sequences?
Matthew Vaughn: I look at action and storytelling. Ironically, I think action can be the dullest part of movies nowadays – and I love action movies! But when you see generic quick cutting, I actually fast forward now. I just tried watching a movie, which made a billion dollars last year, and it didn’t do it for me. I was just like, the bigger the sequence, the more bored I was, which is quite an achievement in a weird way. So, yeah, I try to do things differently and keep the audience on their toes.

Kingsman: The Secret Service is out on Digital HD on May 24, 2015, and on Blu-ray and DVD on June 8, 2015, from Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment.