Kick Ass - Aaron Johnson, Chloe Moretz and Nicholas Cag
Kick Ass (Aaron Johnson) Mindy Macready / Hit-Girl (Chloe Moretz) and Damon Macready / Big Daddy (Nicholas Cage) © Lionsgate

Dave Lizewski (Aaron Johnson) is an ordinary New York teenager and rabid comic-book geek who is so inspired by the reading material he dons a green-and-yellow internet-bought wetsuit to become the no-nonsense vigilante, Kick-Ass. He quickly becomes a phenomenon, capturing the imagination of the public as he fights crime, well, the best he can.

However, he’s not the only superhero out on the streets. A highly-trained father-daughter duo, Big Daddy (Nicolas Cage) and Hit-Girl (Chloe Grace Moretz) have been taking down the criminal of a local Mafia, headed by Frank D’Amico (Mark Strong). Kick-Ass gets drawn into their battle and the stage is set for the final showdown between the forces of good and evil.

Famous for being a comic-book aficionado, Nicolas Cage is no stranger to being a superhero either, starring in 2007’s Ghost Rider. But as Damon Macready, aka Big Daddy, he walks the fine-line of portraying a loving father and heavily-armed vigilante.

Can you describe your character of Damon Macready/Big Daddy?

Kick Ass - Teaser art
Kick Ass - Teaser art, Big Daddy (Nicholas Cage) © Lionsgate

Big Daddy is, I guess you could say, the superhero version of Damon. I’m a loving father as Damon but the character is also quite disturbed.

In a lot of ways I think there are many parents who think they’re doing the best for their children and they are actually doing the worst for their children. This is sort of an extreme example of that. This is an extreme take on a father who thinks he’s actually protecting his child by teaching her how to be a vigilante, but it’s actually the worst thing he could really do

I’ve trained my daughter, Mindy, to be this superhero vigilante.  Kick-Ass is a character that sort of comes into the loop because he’s aware of our presence and doesn’t talk about it, he doesn’t give us up so I see that he’s okay, And he becomes someone that my daughter has a crush on, so on top of that I have to tolerate him. But he gets us into a world of trouble.

What attracted you to this project?

I’ve been on this path lately where I’ve been trying to think more globally in terms of who I want to work with and in this case I got to make a movie in England, and to work with an all English crew and an English filmmaker, Matthew Vaughn, and to me whenever I can step outside my comfort zone and work with people with a new point-of-view, a new direction, it always lends itself to some kind of spark.

How was it working with Director Matthew Vaughn

Kick Ass - Director Matthew Vaughn, Aaron Johnson and Chloe Moretz
Director Matthew Vaughn, Kick Ass (Aaron Johnson) and Hit-Girl (Chloe Moretz) © Lionsgate

Matthew’s very enthusiastic, he loves movies and he loves music and he’s a truly artistic individual and you know it right away when you meet him, that creative energy, you can see it very clearly and it just comes out of him.  He’s very interested in doing original, artistic work and he likes similar artists that I like. He likes Andy Warhol, and so I got this feeling like we were going to do some sort of pop art movie.

What was it like acting with Chloe Moretz, who plays your daughter Mindy in this?

First of all I adore Chloe, I think she’s a great actress, she’s a very nice person and I know we’re going to be seeing a lot of her for a very long time. You don’t have to think about it, it just happens; there’s such an inherent charm and appeal and pleasantness to her that you just automatically love her. I gave her a little starfish from Tiffany when we wrapped, because real stars are nice people, and that’s what she is.

When the costumes are off, how would you describe his relationship with Mindy?

Kick Ass - Nicholas Cage
Damon Macready (Nicholas Cage) © Lionsgate

I would say that he’s a man who genuinely loves his daughter but he’s misguided. He’s been confused by anger and vengeance and has actually lost his mind thinking of ways to protect his daughter by putting her into violent situations. He feels that if she gets a dog that might get her killed. But if he gets her a butterfly knife, that might actually save her life.

But I wanted Damon to be the nicest father in the world. So that it would be a counterpoint to the things that they were up to as Big Daddy and Hit Girl.

Why do you feel superheroes are so popular in society?

This has been going on for thousands of years, in the old days it was Greek myths or Arthurian myths, and now it’s Batman, Superman and Iron Man, all the comics are what empower people. I know people who are paramedics, who are in the ambulance with a Superman t-shirt on underneath their uniform. These people exist.

The comic book movie to me is a perfect form of entertainment. They’re like the modern Western in some ways. I thought Big Daddy was where the heart was, in the relationship between Big Daddy and Hit Girl. I thought that’s where the emotion could be.

Did you base the character of Damon Macready/Big Daddy on anyone?

Big Daddy is my ode to Adam West who, for me, is the only Batman. I grew up watching Adam West and he still has yet to be topped, in my opinion. He had this odd rhythm to his delivery, and I just wanted to tip my hat a little bit to actors like him and William Shatner, who I think really started the whole cultural movement.

Did you have any input into the costume he wears?

Kick Ass - Poster Art
Kick Ass - Poster Art © Lionsgate

Matthew wanted me to have a yellow belt. It looked very much like the original belt from the Batman TV show that I thought, well, why don’t we just go the whole way and have Damon channeling Adam West because that’s his Jungian muse, to help him accomplish the things that he accomplishes.

Judy Sloane

Judy is Film Review Online's regular Los Angeles based reporter.