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I've been on enough sets with Matthew Vaughn to know how much he loves actors. One of the great pleasures for him during the making of a film is seeing how actors enhance and evolve the scenes that have been playing in his head since he decided to make the film.
I have yet to catch up with "The Secret Service," one of the 47,378 series that Mark Millar is currently publishing, but when I was in London in November to visit the set of "Kick-Ass 2," there was already a sense that Vaughn's next film would be "The Secret Service," and that he was in a hurry to get it started because he was worried someone would try to make a similar movie if he didn't do it soon.
According to a report tonight on Latino Review, Colin Firth is the first name cast in the film, and he'll be playing a superspy working for MI6 who becomes a mentor to his young slacker nephew. The spy, known as Uncle Jack, wants to usher his nephew into the same life that he leads, but he's not sure it's going to work. Mark Millar has described the series as "James Bond meets 'My Fair Lady,'" and that certainly seems like a high concept that could kickstart a series if done correctly.
Matthew and his longtime collaborator Jane Goldman co-wrote the script, and that is certainly reason to be optimistic. Looking at how Goldman and Vaughn handled "Kick-Ass," I trust them to take whatever liberties they have to while maintaining the flavor that drew them to the project in the first place.
The most intriguing thing about the art for "The Secret Service" is how specifically Uncle Jack was drawn to resemble Jason Isaacs. I have no idea if that was intentional, but looking at the character design by Dave Gibbons, that's what I see every single time. I'm not sure if Isaacs was ever considered for the role, but he's a dead ringer, and he's certainly proven to be a formidable physical presence in films before. Think of his role in "Green Zone" in particular.
Still, you can't complain about the casting of Colin Firth, and what I'm most curious to see is how he handles himself in the physical side of things. I don't know that we've ever seen a badass Colin Firth before, and it sounds like he's stepping out of his comfort zone to play the role. Now they've got to nail the casting of his nephew, and it's a major star role, and if this turns into a franchise (which I'm sure is the goal), they're going to need someone who can grow with the role and who we want to see in further adventures. That's the scariest kind of casting, and when I look at a case like Chris Pine in "Star Trek," where they got it right in ways that they are probably still just learning themselves, it's a reminder of just how high these stakes are.
Current plans are to get "The Secret Service" in theaters for November of 2014. Hiring Firth seems like a good start. We'll have more as the film comes together.
In the meantime, remember that "Kick-Ass 2" is in theaters August, 2013.