When the cult classic film Clueless came out almost twenty years ago, no one could have imagined that Donald Faison would be donning a costume and playing a superhero at some point in his career, right? But now here he is, getting ready to release his new film, Kick-Ass 2. That’s the great thing about Hollywood, anything can happen.
Faison had a lot to share about the evolution of his acting career when we sat down with him in Los Angeles last week for a roundtable interview to discuss the film.
From the more forgiving streets of Beverly Hills in Clueless to the rough and tumble world of Kick-Ass 2, Faison’s energy is contagious. He plays the character Dr. Gravity, who teams up with Kick-Ass to fight the evils of every day life, as a masked vigilante. His performance is entertaining, to say the least, as he adds all the necessary enthusiasm to the role to make him an unforgettable character.
Check out the interview below!
How did the role in Kick-Ass 2 come about – was it created for you, or did you audition?
Donald Faison: I auditioned. The role is in the comic book but I auditioned for studio purposes, and for Matthew Vaughn, so they could see who I was.
Why did you want to do it? What was so great about it?
Donald Faison: I saw the first Kick-Ass and I loved it. I thought it was an amazing movie. It’s just a great action film that caught me off-guard. You see all these super hero movies, and super heroes have a moral code that they live by and it seemed like in Kick-Ass, that wasn’t the case. It was survival on the streets and still try to fight crime. I think that’s a more realistic version of what vigilantes would be. I don’t think we’ll see a Superman ever flying in the sky or anything like that, and if that does happen, I don’t think the outcome that we watch in the movies is gonna be the outcome in real life. I think we’d send the army after this person, and the navy, and the air force, and the marines, after this person.
In Kick-Ass you really feel like these people are in a giant city and they’re trying to make a difference. And, you can kinda go under the radar as masked vigilantes in a giant city. There are a bunch of them in Los Angeles right now that you’ve never heard of. I think the biggest one, the one that became the biggest masked vigilante is Phoenix Jones. When everyone saw that they thought that dude was crazy. I think that’s what these people are too. They’re crazy enough to put on a costume and go fight. That appealed to me, that’s more realistic.
In all honesty, if someone said to me ‘do you want to be the next Batman?’ I’d say, ‘for sure, eh why not?’
What did you think of the costume?
Donald Faison: I loved the costume. The costume is just like the comic book. John Romita designed the costume, and designed actually everything you see – the Kick-Ass and the Kick-Ass family. He was the artist for the comic book. He and Marc Millar really set a tone. The costume designer and the costume director, they really embraced Marc Millar and John Romita’s vision.
If you had a favorite day on set, which was it?
Donald Faison: The first day I got to fight, that was my favorite day. Before all of that, it was a bunch of walking around, posing. The day I got to fight bad guys was the best day ever.
Did you take to the fight choreography easily or was that kinda a nice challenge for you?
Donald Faison: It was the first time I’d ever done anything like that. I wish I could say it was easy, but it’s hard work. Pulling a punch when you want to throw a punch is very difficult. Knowing angles to where the camera is set up, and how to make it so the fist comes from one side of the body to the other, even though it feels fake and you don’t think it looks right, that was hard to conceptualize.
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Jim Carrey came out saying that he didn’t want to do press because of the violence in this, and you were talking about the lack of a moral code, do you see his point to that or do you have any concern with the violence?
Donald Faison: This is a fiction, fantasy, comic book movie. It’s a movie. I think that’s what at the end of the day everyone needs to understand. Jim is allowed to have his personal point of view. We warn everybody in the title. The name of the movie is Kick-Ass 2 and it has an ‘R’ rating. If you’re not a fan of violence, don’t go see it. But don’t be crazy either. Over a billion tickets were sold for The Avengers. That’s a violent movie, whether you want to believe it or not, that’s a very violent movie. I think Jim is completely in his right to say how he feels, but I think the audience should know that this is a fantasy, fiction, comedy movie.
Did you guys have any chance to spend any time together on set?
Donald Faison: Yeah, Jim is a cool dude. We got to talk a lot. I’ve been a huge fan of his since In Living Color, and he asked me questions about Scrubs – which blew my mind.
Did you have any special or odd warm-ups before you played the character because you are the most energetic, enthusiastic of the bunch?
Donald Faison: That’s just me. I can’t help it. I’ve got a lot of energy. Especially when I get to do something that I’ve always wanted to. I’ve always wanted to to be a super hero, so there’s not a lot of warm up needed for me to get geeked or psyched about being in the costume and running around. This is something that I’ve dreamt about pretty much my entire life.
What do you think it is about the world of Kick-Ass that resonates with people?
Donald Faison: You can relate to this world. Nobody’s super smart like Bruce Wayne, nobody’s invincible like Superman. These people bleed. These people are just like us, in real life. What they decided to do, instead of being a cop or instead of being in law enforcement, or joining the military, they decided to put on a costume and go out an fight crime. There are people like that in real life, and I think everyone at some point in their life has wanted to be a super hero, or wanted to make a difference in their community. Just cause you put on a mask, that’s not the only way you can be a super hero. You can be a hero to people as a politician, as a youth leader, there are so many ways to make a difference. These people just decided that the way they would make a difference would be to put on a mask and go fight crime. I think everyone has that in them.
On set, do you have any most memorable moments?
Donald Faison: The most memorable moment was putting on the costume. That, and my first fight scene. We shot it in five hours and I remember pulling a butt muscle. I didn’t even know you had a muscles in your butt, but apparently you do, and you can pull it. I remember sleeping for 24 hours after the fight scene, and the guy that plays Kick-Ass, Aaron Taylor Johnson, he went on the next day to do more stuff in the movie.
Would you do something like this again?
Donald Faison: Absolutely. In a heartbeat. Yes.
The first movie sorta introduced us to Chloe [Moretz], what impressed you about her?
Donald Faison: She’s just so good. It’s rare that you see young people that know exactly what it is they want to do, and she has the ability to see her path, where as other people just do it to do it, and hopefully something good comes out of it. She knows exactly what it is she wants to do, and she’s executing it. It’s inspiring. It’s very impressive to watch. She’s a very talented young lady.
Did you know what you wanted at her age as much?
Donald Faison: Yeah, but I didn’t know it like she knows it. I knew I wanted to be an actor, and I knew I wanted to be in an action movie, and I knew I wanted to be in this business – but I had no idea how to do it. She knows how to do it. There are very few people that are like that, and it seems like she’s set up for longevity as well. She’s set it up so it’s not like she’s just going to be a kid actress. At least it seems that way, you never know. She’s amazing. She truly is.
What do you feel has had the biggest impact on your career so far that you’ve done?
Donald Faison: I think Clueless has had the biggest impact on my career, over Scrubs. Scrubs gave me longevity, but if it wasn’t for Clueless I don’t think I’d be having a conversation with you guys right now. That was the legitimate jump-off, that was the springboard.
You guys reconnected recently for the EW special. What was that like to catch up with everybody?
Donald Faison: It was cool, it was great. I’ve seen everybody pretty much. Breckin Meyer, I see a lot. I often run into Paul Rudd, and Elisa Donovan. But, seeing Stacey [Dash] again, seeing Justin [Walker] again, seeing Alicia [Silverstone] again, seeing Twink [Caplan] again, really brought back a lot of great memories for me. It was a lot of fun.
You mentioned the Kick-Ass comic book, are you a fan of comic books in general? What are some of your favorites?
Donald Faison: I’m a huge fan of comic books. Growing up, the X-Men obviously, everybody loved the X-Men. And, Spider-Man. I read a couple of Superman comics and Batman comics when I was a kid, but as an adult I’ve read a lot more. It’s really cool that DC does all these shows based on the comics. I’m a nerd.
A big thanks to Universal for including us in their press day, and to Donald Faison for taking the time to speak with us. Kick-Ass 2 heads to theaters on August 16th! Be sure to check it out.Previous