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Every superhero story has an Evil Genius, and this is no exception. This particular Evil Genius, however, doesn't wear a cape, or live in a hollowed-out volcano, or plan appalling atrocities that will bring society to its knees. What he does, instead, is write compulsively readable, often perversely funny and deeply twisted comic books. From his radical reinvention of Superman's origin, Red Son, to his re-imagination of Marvel's premier superhero team The Avengers into The Ultimates, to Wanted, the villains-as-heroes punk-tinged series that led to a hit film in 2008, starring James McAvoy, Morgan Freeman and Angelina Jolie, the Evil Genius in this case is Mark Millar. 

And one day he had an idea that would not only become Kick-Ass the comic book, but KICK-ASS, the Major Motion Picture. "I'll draw something and then work out the story organically around it,” says Millar. "I had a drawing of two superheroes – a young girl dressed like Robin and a big guy dressed like Batman. I loved those characters and decided to put them into something, but I thought they were too out there to be the leads. 

"Then I started to do autobiographical stuff – I had this notion when I was fourteen, of becoming a crime fighter in Glasgow. I thought it would be interesting to tell the story of that, had it happened. So then I had a drawing of a superhero going out on his first night, and getting stabbed and run over by a cab. Then I realized the two projects belonged together.”

And lo, Kick-Ass – in which Millar asks the question, ‘why does nobody ever try to become a superhero?' and answers it with a barrage of extraordinary violence, bizarre characters and insanely quotable dialogue – was born. He started to work on the creator-owned comic with artist, John S. Romita Jr. but then, buoyed by the success of WANTED, decided to explore the possibility of bringing his new baby to the big screen before barely a panel had been drawn.

So he picked up the phone and called his old pal, the TV presenter and comic book nut Jonathan Ross, about his idea. Ross, in turn, then told his wife, Jane Goldman, the co-writer of STARDUST. 

"I think that Mark has had millions of brilliant ideas, but I could see why he was particularly excited and I shared his excitement,” says Goldman. "It is one of those ideas that makes you ask ‘God, has nobody done that? That's insane!' The very basic story of someone who loves superheroes deciding to give it a try without having any powers simply hadn't been done before.”

From there, Goldman tipped off her writing partner and STARDUST director Matthew Vaughn, who was already looking for his next movie, and KICK-ASS seemed to fit the bill.

"I was a fan of Mark's work,” says Vaughn. "We got on really well. He pitched it to me and the concept was great. He came down to my house – all the best creative meetings for me take place there – and we sat down over an afternoon and plotted the whole movie. That same day I told him ‘I'm in!'”

And that, as they say, was that. KICK-ASS had its Evil Genius, and now it had its Hero.

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