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KICK-ASS

Hit Girl Attacks
It's the moment that defines Kick-Ass' attitude, the line that will assure the film its place in the zeitgeist. When Kick-Ass is overwhelmed by goons following an ill-advised trip to a drug den to warn a thug off his would-be girlfriend, he is given a surprising reprieve when his attacker is speared through the stomach by a samurai sword. As he drops out of frame, we see Hit Girl—for the first time in her full costume, replete with purple Clara Bow wig—assume battle pose and deliver a line including a word that begins with C. We won't repeat it here, but suffice to say it's very rude. It's a show-stopping moment, adapted precisely from the comic, but one that nearly didn't happen.

"The script didn't say the C word,” Vaughn reveals. "It was in the comic. There had been some fanboy speculation and advance complaints that the film would shy away from reproducing that memorable line. Yet I still thought, ‘You know what? This is too far. I can't do it.' But we did all these takes and it just wasn't having any impact. I was with Chloë's mother, Teri, who had read the comic, and understood the singular impact the word made. She and Chloë agreed that it made sense to shoot one take with the word included.” Vaughn recounts Teri reminding everyone ‘It's Hit Girl saying it, not my daughter,” a boundary that Chloë certainly also understands all too well, adding "Of course I'd heard that word, but if I ever said it outside of this role, my Mom and Dad would ground me for the rest of my life!” 

Besides, Hit Girl should not be defined by her way with a choice invective every now and again. This, after all, is the girl who puts the kick-ass in KICK-ASS. "By the end of the filming,” admits Johnson, "she could take me and Chris on at once, and take us both down. She became a mini-Schwarzenegger!” In scene after scene, Hit Girl mows down scores of D'Amico's henchmen like an unstoppable squirrel that's armed to the teeth. There will be some who cry ‘irresponsible!' but it could be that they're simply missing the point. "Even my agent balked at it,” laughs Mark Strong. "I remember her saying to me, when I said I was interested, ‘it's got a twelve year old girl who kills people and gets away with it. Is that morally sound?' I thought, ‘I don't care, it looks like great fun!'.”

"But what Matthew's done, very cleverly, with the music is to reinforce that notion that it's otherworldly, that it's a comic book universe. The kind of violence you see in the film is 100% hyper-real,” a signature of the revenge-fantasy genre in which the film is solidly steeped. 

Unlike Johnson and his laissez-faire training regime, Moretz had to dedicate herself to getting in shape for the role. "I did a lot of training,” she says, already the mistress of understatement. "I did about four to five months of training before the movie started. It was crazy. I did a thousand crunches a night and like 70 push-ups and 70 pull-ups.” The training also involved getting to grips with Hit Girl's weapons, including her favorite method of death dealing, a butterfly knife. "It's like a third hand,” she says. "That took me about a month and a half to get down pat. And I can actually still do that – we have a fake one here and when I'm bored, I start flipping it around!”

Hit Girl is at the center of most of KICK-ASS' action scenes; scenes which Vaughn knew could define the film stylistically, from a strobe lit shoot-out that plays like a particularly brilliant videogame to the raucous scene at Rasul's and a climactic showdown at D'Amico's apartment. "I decided to make each action sequence different and unique,” says Vaughn. "Action-wise, I was bored of shaky cam and quick editing. Good action is about so much more than throwing the camera around. I like knowing who's doing what and where and how.”

"So, for the strobe sequence, that gave us a legitimate excuse to use slow-motion without it<

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