Interview: Kick-Ass Star Christopher Mintz-Plasse — "When I play drums, I'm the most free"
Thu, 08 Apr 2010 07:58:37
Christopher Mintz-Plasse Videos
There's something "super" about Christopher Mintz-Plasse.
Even though his character in Kick-Ass, Chris D'Amico/Red Mist, doesn't possess any "real" superpowers per se, Mintz pulls off a hilarious performance of heroic proportions. In real life, Mintz has got all kinds of traits that might just make him Justice League-worthy. He rips on the drums in his band The Young Rapscallions, and he can spout off tune knowledge about everyone from Iron Maiden and Rage Against the Machine to Fleet Foxes and Regina Spektor with ease. Plus, there's that whole fact that he's one sharply funny dude…
Christopher Mintz-Plasse sat down with ARTISTdirect.com editor and Dolor author Rick Florino for an exclusive interview about what makes Kick-Ass so super, why the film shares similarities with Iron Maiden, learning to drive stick shift on set and rocking out behind the kit.
Oh yeah, he hypothesizes Martin Scorsese's drumming style. Welcome to the most Kick-Ass interview EVER…
Have you been harboring dreams of becoming a superhero for a long time?
Since I was out of the womb, I was like, "I've got to be a superhero!" [Laughs] I think every kid wants to be a superhero when he or she is young, and I got to be one with no superpowers. It's fantastic [Laughs].
What's the attraction of the superhero mythos for kids? Do you feel like they need it in some ways?
Yeah, I think everyone's kind of bored and sick of their life and they want to see people with superpowers—something that you don't have, something you want to relate but can't and something you strive to be. People enjoy watching that.
It releases an innate need that we have to impress others. In Kick-Ass, Red Mist is really bombastic and cool…he's a manifestation of that need.
Thanks, man! Even though I do no ass-kicking in this movie…he's not that cool, but I appreciate that [Laughs]. The character, Chris D'Amico, is a toned-down kid. He likes comic books. When he becomes Red Mist, he's more outgoing, smoking weed and acting more energetically. He hides behind the mask and lets go.
Did both sides of the character click with you when you read the script?
Oh yeah! When you're younger, you want to be a superhero in that sense. [Screenwriter] Jane Goldman knew I was auditioning for it, and she rewrote the part for me. I'm wondering if that's why he was named Chris in the first place [Laughs]. It was all their in the comic and the script, that made it easy. It was a blast to make. It's a little weird for me to watch myself on screen still. I'm getting past that. If people enjoy it, I'm happy.
Do you ever listen to music to get into character?
I listen to music every day before work! At the time of Kick-Ass, I was really into the Fleet Foxes, which is very mellow and relaxing and then I was also into Rage Against the Machine. When I was Chris D'Amico, it was Fleet Foxes and Rage Against the Machine for Red Mist.
Which Rage songs?
"Mic Check!" I can't sing it right now, but that's one of my favorites.
Battle of Los Angeles was a sick record…
I'm glad you know it!
Hell yeah! Did you ever get to see them live?
I did! I saw them two years ago at Rock the Bells out in San Bernardino, CA. It was amazing. I rocked out too hard; I fell through my chair [Laughs].
Do you ever make playlists for your characters?
No, I either hit "shuffle" on my iPod or I go straight to a band I'm listening to. I didn't make a Kick-Ass playlist per se.
If Kick-Ass were a song or a record what would it be?
An Iron Maiden song like "Run to the Hills"—that's fast and heavy the whole time! That'd be perfect.
Are you impressed with anything in particular in the film?
Anything that Chloe Moretz does! She plays Hit Girl. I don't do much fighting in this movie. The first is very fun because it's a bit goofy and Aaron and I got to play off of each other. Once we got into the second and third act, it got darker, and it was fun. It's something I never got to do before.
You had a pretty sweet ride too…
That car stresses me out! I'm getting clammy hands right now thinking about it [Laughs]. I had to learn how to drive a stick shift on that car, and it was like a 200 thousand dollar car, so I didn't want to learn on that. Matthew Vaughn [Director] was keeping the car after we were done; he kept threatening me if I scratched it or wrecked it I'd have to pay for it. Everyone was always like, "Oh man, that's awesome!" I was like, "No, it was really, really stressful!"
Are you good with a stick now?
No, I forgot completely [Laughs]. I'm over it. I don't want to learn it ever again.
What records shaped your life?
When I was younger I had a tape cassette of The Rolling Stones "I Can't Get No Satisfaction" playing 50 times. So I just listened to that only [Laughs]. My dad was a big influence. I enjoyed Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd because my dad listened to 95.5 KLOS—"Mark and Brian." Once I got older, it was more Incubus, Muse and Sublime. I love music. I've been playing drums for three years too, so I'm hoping to do something like that in the future.
What's the name of your band?
The Young Rapscallions—it's me and some of my friends. People either hate that name or love it [Laughs].
How connected are performing music and acting?
They're completely different, to be honest. When I play drums, I'm the most free that I am. I get to let out all my energy on that. When you're filming a movie, you've got to be very focused, into the scene and relaxed. They're completely different. I'm influenced by lots of directors and actors when I act. Obviously, I'm not going to be influenced by Martin Scorsese for my drums. That won't work [Laughs].
I don't know. I've heard Scorsese's got some sick double bass…
I'm sure, man! He's probably just metal drumming [Laughs]. That would be awesome.
Video of this interview coming soon!
Will you be seeing Kick-Ass when it comes out next Friday? Do you think Marty Scorsese would make a good metal drummer?