Every movie started somewhere as a tiny shadow of an idea, a single-celled organism that evolved into a walking, talking, fighting, exploding, and complex being. And if we look at the DNA, if you will, of these organisms, we can trace their origins. Here is a breakdown of the primordial soup that brought Kingsman: The Secret Service to the big screen.
Director Matthew Vaughn has been clocking Kingsman for a long time now—starting with his love of spy cinema from the 1970s. While doing press for the movie Layer Cake all the way back in 2005, the director spoke to IGN FilmForce about his potential involvement with the 007 film Casino Royale, which he nearly directed, and has long been public about his desire to get in on the espionage game. He told Den of Geek last month “I’ve always loved Bond. There were two franchises that I would always have dropped everything to do as a director. Bond was one. Star Wars was other. And neither of them came my way, so…” So, Kingsman happened instead! And Vaughn was so set on the project he even walked away from X-Men: Days of Future Past to do it. Despite having the keys to the X kingdom after reviving the franchise with First Class, Vaughn felt Kingsman was ultimately more in line with his sensibilities.
And when we say “sensibilities” we mean Kick-Ass-meets-James-Bond-meets-Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, his first venture with fellow stylized crime enthusiast Guy Ritchie. Vaughn telegraphed his violent tendencies in Lock Stock and, with the exception of the criminally underappreciated Stardust from 2007, has stayed true to that aesthetic of cartoonishly charged brutality ever since. Fortunately for the director, he found a star-crossed companion in comics luminary and ultra-violence enthusiast, Mark Millar. Millar is the co-creator of both the Kick-Ass and The Secret Service series, making Kingsman their second collaboration. Together, the pair might be doing more work than anyone to counter-balance the dark superhero motif established by Christopher Nolan—a style that Vaughn himself has explicitly declared his boredom with. This is a man committed to putting asses in seats and delivering a helluva good time, and considering he counts Back to the Future, Reservoir Dogs, Rocky III, and Scarface as some of his most influential movies in a British Film Institute poll, it looks like the populists have found their Van Wilder in Matthew Vaughn.