While he is known to the masses as confident nerd McLovin from the teen comedy Superbad, Christopher Mintz-Plasse has moved beyond that. He recently contributed voice work to the animated film How To Train Your Dragon and the upcoming Marmaduke, and he plays quasi-super hero Red Mist in the controversial and action-packed new movie Kick-Ass. He’s an amiable character with a good sense of humor, as ADD discovered when chatting with at the recent NYC press junket for the film. (For more from Mintz-Plasse, check out my Movies.com interview with the three young Kick-Ass stars.)
So is true that you’re going to become the Motherfucker?
Ooooh, that’s way too far in the future. I think that [comic writer] Mark [Millar] is writing Kick-Ass 2 in a couple of weeks, and he wants to change Red Mist’s name to the Motherfucker, which I think is hilarious. If they make the movie that would be very uncomfortable because people would be like, “Aren’t you the Motherfucker?” Those are fighting words, man! Don’t be doing that! So we’ll see what happens.
Your co-star Aaron Johnson said that the entire premise of the name change is just so people can stop calling you McLovin.
Mark is a genius like that.
Would you be glad if you lose McLovin?
It doesn’t matter to me. Hopefully people will remember me for that character because that was my first movie ever. It put me on the map, and I got to do Kick-Ass, Role Models and all of these movies, so I’ll forever be grateful for that.
Red Mist is different here than in the comic book.
He’s tough and more of the bad boy [in the comic]. I think Matthew wanted to change that because he wanted my father to be the main bad guy, so he wanted me to be the son that his father never wanted him to be. He [the son, Chris D’Amico] always wants to be in the family business, and he creates Red Mist to lure Kick-Ass to him. I think it’s very genius.
Was it interesting to do a role in an action movie where you might not normally be considered?
That’s why I got excited that they sent me the script. Then I read it, and I was like, “Oh, my part doesn’t really do any action.” To be a part of something like this is amazing because these are my favorite kind of movies — very well done action movies.
Do worry about getting stereotyped as an actor?
Not yet. Superbad was kind of a nerdy character, and Role Models was kind of a nerdy character, but they were polar opposites. McLovin was very confident, and in Role Models he just had no friends. In Kick-Ass he’s not really a nerd, so I’m not too worried yet.
Do you worry about people imitating this movie?
You have to be pretty stupid to imitate what happens in this movie. There are not going to be any eleven year-old girls going out and trying to murder people, I know that.
It’s funny because a lot of people are worried about the cursing, but I find the violence more shocking.
That’s the thing. People keep talking about the swearing, but what about the violence? I’m glad you’re saying that because people are always worrying about the swearing, but she [Chloë] murders people.
What was it like on set watching her do that stuff?
It was awesome. It was so cool to witness it backstage and see it right there. It was very cool, it was very exciting for her.
Were there a lot of pranks played on the set?
There were more pranks on Role Models. There weren’t any pranks on this set.
What was the vibe like?
Very relaxed and very fun. [Director] Matthew [Vaughn] had the same crew he worked on for Stardust and Layer Cake. He always works with the same people, so you come in there and it’s already a family. They just accepted me, Chloë [Moretz] and Aaron right away, and it was amazing. He can’t do any wrong yet, Matthew. He’s on a roll.
What was it like to work with Mark Strong?
He’s amazing, and he always plays the villain in a movie. He’s just the sweetest, down-to-earth guy. He’s always got his family on set — his two little kids and his wife. Not on the violent days — he wouldn’t have them be there. He didn’t want them to see them beat the shit out of a girl. You don’t want to witness your dad doing that. He’s a very amazing, talented actor, and I was excited to work with him.
How much improv was there in this movie?
A little bit. It was not like Superbad or Role Models, which was improv pretty much every scene. This movie was very straight to the script because you have to keep action movies going. You can’t improv an action scene because that won’t work. For the scenes where Aaron and I were driving in the Mist Mobile, there was a little improv in there.
I heard your grooving in the car was improvised?
It was. There was no choreography. If there was choreography I would be embarrassed. Matthew just put on 15 minutes of music like Gnarls Barkley and a band that this girl I was dating was in. He would fuck with me and throw her band on while we were trying to dance. And a bunch of other music, and we just grooved and danced.