Matthew Vaughn’s agents return to M6.
The sixth channel takes advantage of going to the cinema of The King’s Man: First Mission to rebroadcast Kingsman: Secret Service, the spy comedy of Matthew vaughn which hit the movies in 2015. At the time, First had been pleasantly surprised by this parody of James bond filled with great ideas and had met the team to talk about its creation. Colin firth had even made the cover of the magazine. Here is his interview, published in issue 456.
Kingsman review: These English are really strong!
First: They finally managed to enlist you in the action comic book movie theater. It was getting hard to escape it, right?
Colin Firth: May be. But I never think in terms of what I’ve done or what I haven’t done yet. I do not attach a narrative function to my career. No one had asked me until now to do one of those comic book movies, or even a Bond … Matthew vaughn told me about Kingsman one year before filming: “Does something like that interest you?” Physical training, that sort of thing? “… The angle “Spy movie” immediately won me over. I have always loved spy stories, like any good Englishman who respects himself. Of all the archetypes of cinema, it is for me the one that retains the greatest share of mystique. There are several versions: the spy drugged in extreme action, the version ” truth ” and low-tech way John Le Carre (where we see fewer guns), or the American dependence of the “Gumshoe”, from detective to Raymond Chandler… A kind of romantic loneliness is often associated with the spy figure. An aura to which I am sensitive.
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The romanticism of lost illusions was at the heart of The mole…
And yet the film itself was not, romantic! The characters of The mole are disappointed romantics, all of them. That was of course the subject… What I love about this movie! Many people have misinterpreted it, telling me for example that they do not understand the final resolution. But that has nothing to do with that… It was the portrait of isolated men forced to face their romantic disillusionments with their country, with the very idea of loyalty and, in Smiley’s case, with towards his wife. My character, the traitor, develops a romance with the Soviet system, because he is disappointed with the ideologies of the West …
If we add to it Another Country (1984, from Marek Kanievska), your very first film in front of the camera, that makes you a regular in the genre …
(Suddenly nostalgic) Oh yes, it’s true, I almost forgot … Another Country told the student life of Guy Burgess (Rupert everett, ndr), one of “Five of Cambridge” (group of academics gone to the East, seduced by the communist ideal, ndr). The film was trying to show how you create spies. Burgess and his comrades represented the elite of England, the ruling class, students at Cambridge University… Why betray the system, since they were its products? Some of them were gay and the film makes that connection clearly. The need to permanently hide, to manipulate those around them etc …
The comic from which is taken Kingsman, “The Secret Service”, is a mise en abyme of pop culture in the broad sense: it begins with the kidnapping of Mark Hamill and ends on the steps of the Cannes Film Festival … The film itself takes place in a world of “augmented” cinema.
Yes very “Self-conscious”. A film that takes place in the world of films. That’s what I love about Matthew: it starts with the familiar. He’s not trying to reinvent the wheel. He uses the iconography of the genre in a way that becomes entirely his own. You watch the trailer and say to yourself: “Here, that is very Bondien …”. It’s on purpose. In the end, yes, the film is very Bondian, very Ipcress, Immediate Danger, very Men in Black, but once all that is digested on the screen, it comes out like a pure Vaughnian creation. Behind his sophistication, Matthew has an incredible ability to put himself in the shoes of the kid who wants to be entertained. ‘What do I want to see? What is exciting? Energizing? ‘… Like an artist who finds objects lost in the street, familiar objects, and, from them, creates an original and specific work.
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You like Kick ass ?
I love Kick ass ! This is my favorite Matthew movie. I like the way he subverts expectations. In Stardust, Robert De Niro is a menacing and terrifying pirate king… who turns out to be a nice madwoman wearing feminine underwear! Outrageous … It’s kind of what he does with me. You take the guy from Bridget jones and Mamma mia, and you make him an action hero …
The class system is very marked in England. “The lords and the beggars”, as told Kingsman…
Yes, the rich and the poor are constantly exposed to each other. I come from a middle class family: academic education, strong language etc… And I went to school with kids who weren’t like me. It was not a very comfortable time. I hid my origins, I especially did not want to make waves… I have been able to observe this juxtaposition for a long time. It’s deeply English, yes.
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A starting point like any other for a fun and colorful action film …
The film uses the class system as a dramatic element, more than it tries to think about it… All the countries that I know have the same class problems. But I believe in England there’s this idea that if you’re privileged, or if you’re from the East End, it’s something that’s deep, genetically, embedded in you. Nothing to do with your economic situation, or the circumstances that built you: it comes from you, that’s all. It’s absurd, but that’s how it is with us. And Harry Hart, my character, protests against that idea.
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In cinema, today you represent the epitome of British distinction and elegance. Does it suit you ?
It is just as absurd. Believe me, this is not an image that I cultivate. He’s more of a movie avatar… If I show myself in public, being the boy from a good family that I am, I dress well, yes, I try to be polite. But not to perpetuate an image of a gentleman… I don’t reject the idea. I don’t care, actually. I know that it is linked to the roles that I play… And that serves me perfectly on a film like Kingsman. But it becomes difficult to dissociate myself from it. It is not tomorrow that I will be made to play a worker in a mine in South Africa.
Interview Benjamin Rozovas