Actors Colin Firth and Taron Egerton are getting stellar reviews for their roles in Kingsman: The Secret Service, out this Thursday in Cineworld.
The latest comic book adventure from Matthew Vaughn and Jane Goldman, who brought writer Mark Millar's Kick-Ass to the big screen, it promises to be another frenetic, genre-bending thrill-ride.
Cineworld sat down with Firth and Egerton to discuss what it was like becoming spies, and subsequently unleashing their inner ten-year-olds...
What was so interesting for you about this film?
Colin Firth: Matthew Vaughn. That’s what I had to go on. I think he’s somebody who you take notice of. I think he’s someone who’s had immense presence over the last couple of decades, first as a producer and then as a director. I think he’s got a hugely important contribution and you sort of wake up when he makes contact, and you certainly wake up when you meet him. He hadn’t finished his script, and he just wanted to know if I was up for the journey with him. He gave me a copy of the comic, and so that was my first acquaintance with it.
Taron Egerton: I went out and bought [Mark Millar’s] original graphic novel as soon as I realised there was any suggestion that Matthew Vaughn might be interested in me for this part. I went out and did my homework. It’s great. And I think our film is, there are slight differences, but I think it’s very very true to the spirit of the comic.
It’s quite a physical role. How much preparation did you do?
Firth: It was six months training, three hours a day for six months.
You have a very impressive umbrella in the film that you use as a weapon. Can you do any tricks with umbrellas now?
Firth: None – I’ve forgotten it all. You should have seen me the other day, actually, when I was struggling just to get one up when it was raining.
Colin, there are traces of James Bond and John Steed in your character. Are you channeling some of your childhood heroes?
Firth: Yes, we all are. I mean that’s part of what Matthew’s work is all about and this is what the joy for us all was. I think there are a lot of us who grew up fantasising about being that guy, whether it’s Bond or Batman. Then you get older and you fantasise about seeing films with those guys that gives you the buzz you had when you were ten-years-old. And Matthew’s got the skill to do it.
I think he wanted to see gentleman spy films but with a bit more humour. He wanted to see colourful villains, perhaps, with a bit more exuberance, and he wanted to see chivalry brought back in the form of gentlemen wearing a tie and a suit. If the film was more realistic, then you’d probably start to ask questions, but you don’t. So he sets the tone perfectly.
Did you learn anything acting-wise from your co-stars, Taron?
Egerton: Well, Colin has been something of a hero of mine for a very long time, and likewise Michael Caine – these are people I’ve watched for years. When you come to work with these guys, you’ve kind of deified them in your mind a little bit. They are these icons, but when you work with them you realise they’re just normal blokes who are just as friendly and well-wishing as you would hope to be to anyone else.
But the wonderful thing about Colin is that he’s not the kind of person who would ever presume to give advice – he’s too humble for that. There was a day on set where we had a scene together, and for whatever reason I wasn’t getting it. Matthew couldn’t really understand why, and I couldn’t understand what Matthew wanted – these things happen, you know. And this went on for some time and I was getting more and more frustrated and Colin for the whole time didn’t say anything until the point where I said, ‘Colin, you gotta help me out here, mate, I don’t know what I’m doing.’ And then he was like, ‘Okay, here’s what I think you should do...’ And that’s the loveliness of him. He was there ready to give advice but he would never have forced it on me had I not asked for it.
So, Colin, is this the start for you being an action hero?
Firth: This, I suppose is the audition. So if I’m deemed to have passed the audition and I’m asked to something like this again, I’d love it!
Can't wait for the release of the film this Thursday? Then click here to book your tickets for tonight's Unlimited screening of Kingsman: The Secret Service.