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Exclusive: John Romita Jr. reveals his “Kick-Ass 2” costumed appearance with Mark Millar

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The recently-released trailer for “Kick-Ass 2” has given fans their first taste of what’s in store when Kick-Ass, Hit-Girl and Red Mist The Motherfucker storm back into theaters on August 16. This adventure, based on the story written by Mark Millar and drawn by John Romita Jr., is an adaptation of the comics of the same name and takes the “Kick-Ass” story to a whole new level.

IFC recently had the chance to talk to Romita about his visit to the “Kick-Ass 2” set, which was a bit more than just a cursory visit. As can be seen in the above photo, he ended up donning a costume of his own, and revealed to IFC the epic fight scene between himself and Millar that never actually came to be.

IFC: I’ve been told from someone who was on set with you at the same time that I need to ask you about your superhero costume.

John Romita Jr.: [laughs] Oh my god, it’s out! I’ve been outed. My wife has all those photographs. In the first film, they wanted Mark and I to make an appearance, a cameo. We both felt uncomfortable with cameos, and we just thought we would stand around in the background and each of us was standing around as extras. They wanted to do the same thing with the second film. They wanted us to be in some scenes, and I said, “No, I’m not going to do cameos. Just throw me in somewhere.” And Mark and I were supposed to, according to the person, were actually supposed to have some close-ups of us in the battle scenes. So even though we weren’t going to say anything, we weren’t going to utter any words, we were going to be in the big fight scene, so they had both of us costumed.

It ended up Mark couldn’t stick around for the close-ups because he had meetings with Fox, believe it or not. That day he had like five meetings with five different studio heads and was too busy, so our close-ups were gone. The producer, Tarquin Pack, and I had this wiseass relationship going. He loves to break chops. He asked them to put me in some ridiculous costume but it ended up being all in good fun. They had me in this red, skintight bodysuit and they threw everything you could imagine on top of it. Shoulder pads, knee pads; it looks like something from the future and the past all blown up together into one, and then they put makeup on my face and they put gel in my hair. It was hysterical.

IFC: So you’ll be easy to spot?

JRJR: Here’s the problem: They put us in the fight scene and I was supposed to beat the snot out of Mark in the battle scene, and then they were going to do close-ups of us fighting, and Mark couldn’t make it. So we’re in the fight scene, but it’s really difficult to see us. The director said when we do the third one, he said, “I’ll get you all the close-up.” The photos of me in costume are pretty funny. They’re cringe-worthy, but since I have no pride, I don’t mind people finding out about them.

IFC: The trailer was just released, and you wouldn’t be alone in having a less than flattering costume — but Jim Carrey looks awesome.

JRJR: That’s an interesting point of conversation, because way back when I was just designing the characters, I was designing the costumes to try and look cool. And the words from Mark and from Matthew Vaughn at that time were, “Remember, these are supposed to be amateurs, make sure you take it in that light.” The effort to make it that way consistently gets people to cringe at some of the costumes. It’s supposed to be almost socially inept people to begin with, and they shouldn’t have any good taste in costumes. They’re amateurs at best, and I think that goes without saying, and everyone thinks that. No one is supposed to look glamorous. They’re supposed to look stupid. Well Hit-Girl, she looks great, and so does Aaron in the Kick-ass costume. Every time I’d design a costume I’d have to be told, “Remember, they’re amateurs.”

IFC: Was it hard to have to scale it back, or was it more fun to get to do it that way?

JRJR: Oh no, I learned my lesson after the first 10 times. [laughs] Honestly, no, I had to remember that the first time and it just sort of stuck with me, so I don’t really feel uncomfortable in the costume. Oddly enough, they put Mark in a red, white and blue flag costume, and I was the bad guy. Mark was the good guy, I was the bad guy.

IFC: So you were a member of The Motherfucker’s Toxic Mega-cunts?

JRJR: That’s right. I was a bad guy, and boy I should have taken out all my angst on Mark that day, but I wasn’t allowed to really hit him.

IFC: Now you’re going to need to draw yourself into “Kick-Ass 3.”

JRJR: [laughs] No, I can’t do that. My nose is too broken. It’s been broken too many times, I can’t draw myself. I have trouble drawing a self-portrait, I have trouble drawing a portrait of anybody that I care about because then I have to flatter them. I will do one of Mark; I’ll try to get Mark in the book. I will try, I hadn’t thought about that. He will probably laugh.

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SO EXCITED!!!

Reminders that the ’90s were a thing

"The Place We Live" is available for a Jessie Spano-level binge on Comedy Crib.

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Unless you stopped paying attention to the world at large in 1989, you are of course aware that the ’90s are having their pop cultural second coming. Nobody is more acutely aware of this than Dara Katz and Betsy Kenney, two comedians who met doing improv comedy and have just made their Comedy Crib debut with the hilarious ’90s TV throwback series, The Place We Live.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Dara: It’s everything you loved–or loved to hate—from Melrose Place and 90210 but condensed to five minutes, funny (on purpose) and totally absurd.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Betsy: “Hey Todd, why don’t you have a sip of water. Also, I think you’ll love The Place We Live because everyone has issues…just like you, Todd.”

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IFC: When you were living through the ’90s, did you think it was television’s golden age or the pop culture apocalypse?


Betsy: I wasn’t sure I knew what it was, I just knew I loved it!


Dara: Same. Was just happy that my parents let me watch. But looking back, the ’90s honored The Teen. And for that, it’s the golden age of pop culture. 

IFC: Which ’90s shows did you mine for the series, and why?

Betsy: Melrose and 90210 for the most part. If you watch an episode of either of those shows you’ll see they’re a comedic gold mine. In one single episode, they cover serious crimes, drug problems, sex and working in a law firm and/or gallery, all while being young, hot and skinny.


Dara: And almost any series we were watching in the ’90s, Full House, Saved By the Bell, My So Called Life has very similar themes, archetypes and really stupid-intense drama. We took from a lot of places. 

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IFC: How would you describe each of the show’s characters in terms of their ’90s TV stereotype?

Dara: Autumn (Sunita Mani) is the femme fatale. Robin (Dara Katz) is the book worm (because she wears glasses). Candace (Betsy Kenney) is Corey’s twin and gives great advice and has really great hair. Corey (Casey Jost) is the boy next door/popular guy. Candace and Corey’s parents decided to live in a car so the gang can live in their house. 
Lee (Jonathan Braylock) is the jock.

IFC: Why do you think the world is ready for this series?

Dara: Because everyone’s feeling major ’90s nostalgia right now, and this is that, on steroids while also being a totally new, silly thing.

Delight in the whole season of The Place We Live right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib. It’ll take you back in all the right ways.

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New Nasty

Whips, Chains and Hand Sanitizer

Turn On The Full Season Of Neurotica At IFC's Comedy Crib

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Jenny Jaffe has a lot going on: She’s writing for Disney’s upcoming Big Hero 6: The Series, developing comedy projects with pals at Devastator Press, and she’s straddling the line between S&M and OCD as the creator and star of the sexyish new series Neurotica, which has just made its debut on IFC’s Comedy Crib. Jenny gave us some extremely intimate insight into what makes Neurotica (safely) sizzle…

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IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon.

IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon. You’re great. We should get coffee sometime. I’m not just saying that. I know other people just say that sometimes but I really feel like we’re going to be friends, you know? Here, what’s your number, I’ll call you so you can have my number!

IFC: What’s your comedy origin story?

Jenny: Since I was a kid I’ve dealt with severe OCD and anxiety. Comedy has always been one of the ways I’ve dealt with that. I honestly just want to help make people feel happy for a few minutes at a time.

IFC: What was the genesis of Neurotica?

Jenny: I’m pretty sure it was a title-first situation. I was coming up with ideas to pitch to a production company a million years ago (this isn’t hyperbole; I am VERY old) and just wrote down “Neurotica”; then it just sort of appeared fully formed. “Neurotica? Oh it’s an over-the-top romantic comedy about a Dominatrix with OCD, of course.” And that just happened to hit the buttons of everything I’m fascinated by.

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IFC: How would you describe Ivy?

Jenny: Ivy is everything I love in a comedy character – she’s tenacious, she’s confident, she’s sweet, she’s a big wonderful weirdo.

IFC: How would Ivy’s clientele describe her?

Jenny:  Open-minded, caring, excellent aim.

IFC: Why don’t more small towns have local dungeons?

Jenny: How do you know they don’t?

IFC: What are the pros and cons of joining a chain mega dungeon?

Jenny: You can use any of their locations but you’ll always forget you have a membership and in a year you’ll be like “jeez why won’t they let me just cancel?”

IFC: Mouths are gross! Why is that?

Jenny: If you had never seen a mouth before and I was like “it’s a wet flesh cave with sharp parts that lives in your face”, it would sound like Cronenberg-ian body horror. All body parts are horrifying. I’m kind of rooting for the singularity, I’d feel way better if I was just a consciousness in a cloud.

See the whole season of Neurotica right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

The-Craft

The ’90s Are Back

The '90s live again during IFC's weekend marathon.

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Photo Credit: Everett Digital, Columbia Pictures

We know what you’re thinking: “Why on Earth would anyone want to reanimate the decade that gave us Haddaway, Los Del Rio, and Smash Mouth, not to mention Crystal Pepsi?”

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Thoughts like those are normal. After all, we tend to remember lasting psychological trauma more vividly than fleeting joy. But if you dig deep, you’ll rediscover that the ’90s gave us so much to fondly revisit. Consider the four pillars of true ’90s culture.

Boy Bands

We all pretended to hate them, but watch us come alive at a karaoke bar when “I Want It That Way” comes on. Arguably more influential than Brit Pop and Grunge put together, because hello – Justin Timberlake. He’s a legitimate cultural gem.

Man-Child Movies

Adam Sandler is just behind The Simpsons in terms of his influence on humor. Somehow his man-child schtick didn’t get old until the aughts, and his success in that arena ushered in a wave of other man-child movies from fellow ’90s comedians. RIP Chris Farley (and WTF Rob Schneider).

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Teen Angst

In horror, dramas, comedies, and everything in between: Troubled teens! Getting into trouble! Who couldn’t relate to their First World problems, plaid flannels, and lose grasp of the internet?

Mainstream Nihilism

From the Coen Bros to Fincher to Tarantino, filmmakers on the verge of explosive popularity seemed interested in one thing: mind f*cking their audiences by putting characters in situations (and plot lines) beyond anyone’s control.

Feeling better about that walk down memory lane? Good. Enjoy the revival.

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And revisit some important ’90s classics all this weekend during IFC’s ’90s Marathon. Check out the full schedule here.