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From Page to Screen? Not Quite
From the beginning, KICK-ASS was different from previous comic book movies given that it wasn't based on a long-time property – in fact, the movie was in development at the same time as the comic. By the time the movie started filming, Kick-Ass issue 3 had come out. By the time filming ended, issue 5 was on the stands. And the final issue – issue 8 – was released only a couple of months ago, as Vaughn put the finishing touches on the film. 

This meant that the line between the comic and the movie blurred more than any on previous effort, as Vaughn and Goldman worked closely with Millar and his artist, John S. Romita Jr. - who also drew an animated comic book sequence in the movie which explains the origin of Big Daddy and Hit Girl - to craft not only the plot of both, but also to make sure that the look crossed over. Kick-Ass' costume looks virtually identical in both iterations, for example, because of the way these two teams collaborated from the beginning. "In a weird way, I found it quite exhilarating because lots of good ideas and experiments were happening at the same time,” says Vaughn. "It lifted the script and I think it lifted the comic – it was like a great game of tennis.” 

But Vaughn and Goldman were also keen that their movie wouldn't simply be a carbon copy of Millar's book. Handily, by the time they started writing the script, Millar had only plotted up to issue 3, giving the screenwriters a chance to take their KICK-ASS in a different direction. So the back-story of Nicolas Cage's Big Daddy is markedly different from the comic book version, to name but one example, while the climax of Vaughn's film is more explosive. 

Once Vaughn had committed to the idea of writing KICK-ASS, he and Goldman got a script together very quickly, with Vaughn writing a first draft focusing on structure and story before Goldman added the dialogue and characterization. "I love writing with Jane,” says Vaughn. "I'm the guy who draws the blueprint of the house and she comes along and goes, ‘that's a pretty good house, but I can make it a lot better. She turns it into a proper home. I'd be pretty lost without her.”

And now, with script in hand, it was time for KICK-ASS to kick some ass. There was just one problem, though: nobody wanted to take a chance on it. Like Wanted, Kick-Ass was an independent, creator-owned and controlled comic that basically gave Millar carte blanche to do what he wanted, and Vaughn was determined to apply the same ideas to his movie version, even if that meant including scenes where an eleven year-old girl mows down scores of heavily armed men with a plethora of weaponry and scores of middle-digit attitude. Hollywood's major studios, however, saw things differently. 

"They all said no,” recalls Vaughn. "To their credit, most of them were just a straight no, bloody quickly, which doesn't normally happen. Normally, they procrastinate. And most of them said they liked the concept, but only if it was done in a PG-13 manner… with no Hit Girl.”

More determined than ever, Vaughn decided to fund KICK-ASS independently. The money was quickly raised, and KICK-ASS started filming in September 2008, at Elstree Studios, London, and various locations in Toronto (doubling for New York). From there, Vaughn labored away at the film, finessing it with additional photography, including a beefed-up climax. He brought incredibly crowd-pleasing clips to the San Diego Comic-Con in July of last year, and again to Empire magazine's Movie-Con in London last August, which set chat sites ablaze and fanboys' tongues wagging. "But there was still a time when I thought we might not get distribution,” he admits.

With the movie in the can, Vaughn started showing the finished product to studios. With its colorful fight scenes, punkish attitude and incessant stream of great jokes brought to life, two studios – Lionsgate in the

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