Jim Carrey Disavows KICK-ASS 2, Creator Mark Millar Responds

Todd Brown, Founder and Editor
Of all the reasons I have been looking forward to seeing Kick-Ass 2, Jim Carrey has been the biggest. It's been a while since Carrey's been on his game but the man is a monstrous talent and this seemed like the perfect project to remind people of that, except ... well, except Carrey tweeted over the weekend that the Sandy Hook shootings have left him so uncomfortable with the level of violence in the film and that he cannot support it.

Says Carrey in two successive tweets: "I did Kickass a month b4 Sandy Hook and now in all good conscience I cannot support that level of violence ... my apologies to others involve with the film. I am not ashamed of it but recent events have caused a change in my heart."

Now, Carrey has been a long standing and vocal proponent of gun control laws so the anti-violence stance is in complete accordance with his already well known politics but it does come as something of a surprise that the conscience would kick in at this late date. It certainly surprised Kick-Ass creator Mark Millar who posted the following response on his official site:

First off, I love Jim Carrey. When producer Matthew Vaughn and director Jeff Wadlow called me up and suggested we do a conference call with him to talk about the sequel to the 2010 original I was genuinely excited. Like you, I love Eternal Sunshine, Man on the Moon and The Truman Show. Carrey is an actor like no other, an unpredictable force of nature who brings a layered warmth and humanity to his work as well as that unstoppable energy he's always been renowned for. He had lunch with Matthew around the time of the first movie and dug it so much he appeared that night on Conan O'Brien DRESSED as Kick-Ass, singing a duet with Conan dressed as Superman. Vaughn and I made a mental note to work with this guy as soon as possible as we're both huge admirers.  

Cut to almost three years later and I'm sitting in a screening room in London watching what I think is one of Carrey's best-ever performances. I'd seen Kick-Ass 2 in many forms, but this was the absolute final cut complete with opening titles, music and a terrific post-credit sequence you're all going to love. I couldn't be happier with this picture. It's as good as the original and in many ways BIGGER as it expands upon the universe and really takes things to the next level. There are a lot of stand-outs in the sequel, every actor really firing on full cylinders and an amazing script that moves like a rocket. But Carrey in particular is magnificent. He's never done anything like this before and even from the trailer, with his masked dog sidekick specially trained to munch criminal balls, you can see that something really fun and special is happening here. Colonel Stars and Stripes is so charismatic and all his scenes are up there with Nic Cage's amazing turn as Big Daddy in the original... which made it all the more surprising when Jim announced tonight that the gun-violence in Kick-Ass 2 has made him withdraw his support from the picture.  

As you may know, Jim is a passionate advocate of gun-control and I respect both his politics and his opinion, but I'm baffled by this sudden announcement as nothing seen in this picture wasn't in the screenplay eighteen months ago. Yes, the body-count is very high, but a movie called Kick-Ass 2 really has to do what it says on the tin. A sequel to the picture that gave us HIT-GIRL was always going to have some blood on the floor and this should have been no shock to a guy who enjoyed the first movie so much. My books are very hardcore, but the movies are adapted for a more mainstream audience and if you loved the tone of the first picture you're going to eat this up with a big, giant spoon. Like Jim, I'm horrified by real-life violence (even though I'm Scottish), but Kick-Ass 2 isn't a documentary. No actors were harmed in the making of this production! This is fiction and like Tarantino and Peckinpah, Scorcese and Eastwood, John Boorman, Oliver Stone and Chan-Wook Park, Kick-Ass avoids the usual bloodless body-count of most big summer pictures and focuses instead of the CONSEQUENCES of violence, whether it's the ramifications for friends and family or, as we saw in the first movie, Kick-Ass spending six months in hospital after his first street altercation. Ironically, Jim's character in Kick-Ass 2 is a Born-Again Christian and the big deal we made of the fact that he refuses to fire a gun is something he told us attracted him to the role in the first place.   

Ultimately, this is his decision, but I've never quite bought the notion that violence in fiction leads to violence in real-life any more than Harry Potter casting a spell creates more Boy Wizards in real-life. Our job as storytellers is to entertain and our toolbox can't be sabotaged by curtailing the use of guns in an action-movie. Imagine a John Wayne picture where he wasn't packing or a Rocky movie where Stallone wasn't punching someone repeatedly in the face. Our audience is smart enough to know they're all pretending and we should instead just sit back and enjoy the serotonin release of seeing bad guys meeting bad ends as much as we enjoyed seeing the Death Star exploding. The action in Kick-Ass 2 is like nothing you've ever seen before. The humour, the characters, the heart and the set-pieces are all things we're very proud of and the only warning I'd really include is that it's almost TOO EXCITING. Kick-Ass 2 is fictional fun so let's focus our ire instead of the real-life violence going on in the world like the war in Afghanistan, the alarming tension in Syria right now and the fact that Superman just snapped a guy's fucking neck.  

Jim, I love ya and I hope you reconsider for all the above points. You're amazing in this insanely fun picture and I'm very proud of what Jeff, Matthew and all the team have done here. 

This is an odd course of events, to be sure, and one that leaves my own feelings rather conflicted as I share Carrey's politics as it concerns gun control and also share Millar's opinion on the links between screen violence and actual violence. What say you? Does this offer any sort of insight into an incredibly thorny issue?
Around the Internet:
  • Liam

    Sorry I meant jim

  • Liam

    Simply put. Make a real point on your views on violence Kim and hand your pay check from the movie to a charity evolved with the after care of gun crime victims

  • Cold dead hands

    I guess these people would rather choose a gun over their families... Fair enough.
    '... to keep and bear Arms' yeah, in like 1700's, fair enough. Back then everyone rode horses, everyone had a right to have a horse, what about now? We drive cars in the other countries. You are seriously stuck in the past, nobody needs guns except cowards. Move forward 'merica... yew haw.

  • Matt Saracen

    Some people do like to hunt. For you to simply write all hunters off as a bunch of redneck morons, proves you're just that.

  • Jeff

    "Nobody needs guns"...yea, say that the next time you get attacked by a rapist, or the next time someone breaks into your house while your kids are home. No one, especially the likes of you, will control how I choose to defend myself or my family. Try to focus on criminals, for a change, instead of law-abiding citizens who have a God-given right to defend themselves the way they want.

  • Omar Hauksson

    Have you been raped allot Jeff? Is your house constantly being robbed by marauding gangs of hoodlums? Do you live in a war zone?

  • tman418

    I guess anyone who views the film will have to agree to disagree with Jim Carrey. I don't see anything inherently wrong with his statement and I doubt that he will sway away any potential viewers of this film.

    I remember when Matt Damon didn't want the producers of the video game "The Bourne Conspiracy" to use his voice and likeness for the same reason Carrey is stating for "Kick Ass 2." Yet the movies had pretty much the same level of violence as the game did.

    My reaction is this: "oh well."

  • Elijah

    Normally, when someone takes this stance, I call bullshit.

    And while I can't say that I agree with making any sort of big huff over fictional violence, or equating it to real-world violence or any of that nonsense... There is a pretty horrifying shooting in Kick-Ass 2, to anyone who's read the comic.

    I don't know if it is the same level of violence in the film, but in the comic, the character "Motherfucker" and his goons shoot up this little cul-de-sac. I'm pretty sure they kill some little kids and stuff, too, if memory serves.

    So, yeah, it's stupid to come out against this comic-book movie full of fictional violence. But I could definitely see him sitting there, post Sandy Hook, thinking "Fuck, man. That scene's going to look really bad, now..."

  • Dave Baxter

    Unfortunately, I think it's arguable (and easily so) that Carey is doing the greatest disservice to gun control by taking a stand against violence in fictional mediums, which is one of if not THE greatest red herring that gun rights advocates like to use in order to bypass concerns of regulating gun sales and ownership of assault weapons and instead double down on more censorship in entertainment and media.

    By paying lip service, and giving gravitas, to the very concept that violence (of any kind, apparently not even just gun violence as Carrey's character in the movie refuses to carry a gun), Carrey is acknowledging and granting the gun lobby their favorite card to play.

    If he really cared about gun control, he'd object to starring in any film where a character OWNED a gun. Or bought a gun.

  • Jeff

    Your suggestion that he not appear in any movie where a character "owns" a gun is, itself, a red herring. Responsible gun owners, friend, are not the problem. Criminals who use guns are the problem, just as criminals who use any other type of weapon are the problem. But of course, it's much easier to focus on the instrument rather than the person, isn't it?

  • Dave Baxter

    Not really true, Jeff. A "criminal" is someone who has been convicted of a crime, and to date the majority of gun homicides are not performed by convicted felons. Even when we shift to the "mentally ill", only 4% of gun homicides are connected to those with severe mental illnesses. This being the case, you have to resort to trying to stamp out Minority Report style "thought crime" in order to focus on the person rather than the instrument, condemning them before they commit the crime. Or, as we do now, just wait until the crime happens and c'est la vie to the victim.

    The only option we have that doesn't trample on fundamental human rights and doesn't veer into dystopia territory, is try to wean ourselves from our obsession with owning firearms. There is a cavalcade of evidence that in countries that have effected strict NATIONAL gun control laws, that gun violence decreases dramatically. And mass homicides disappear entirely. (Suicides are the only things that seem impervious to any and all laws).

    Trying to focus on people, means waiting for the violence to occur before taking action. The mentally ill and actual convicted criminals are minimal to the effect of gun violence in the world. So yes, what that leaves is the instrument to focus on, because it's the only ethical and empirical approach to take.

  • You'll never get anywhere arguing the point based on facts with someone who has swallowed the NRA PR line here, sadly. The empirical evidence (by which I mean the per-capita rates of gun crime in the USA versus the per-capita rate of gun crime in any comparable westernized country in the world which has decent gun control laws) has been simply OVERWHELMING (by which I mean your talking about orders-of-magnitude differences) for as long as these stats have existed and yet that doesn't stop the chorus of 'the solution to gun crime is owning more guns' folk from just shouting it louder. The actual facts don't matter when they've been conditioned by the people trying to sell them more guns that they should live in fear.

  • Some actual numbers, here. Firearm homicides per 100k people:

    USA: 3.6 (reported 2011)
    Luxemburg: 0.6 (2009)
    Taiwan: 0.6 (2009)
    Greece: 0.59 (2009)
    Switzerland: 0.52 (2010)
    Canada: 0.5 (2009)
    Portugal: 0.48 (2008)
    Italy: 0.36 (2008)
    Iceland: 0.32 (2007)
    Denmark: 0.3 (2009)
    Finland: 0.26 (2010)
    New Zealand: 0.26 (2009)
    France: 0.22 (2009)
    Germany: 0.2 (2009)
    Netherlands: 0.2 (2009)
    Sweden: 0.19 (2010)
    Austria: 0.18 (2010)
    Spain: 0.15 (2010)
    Australia: 0.13 (2010)
    UK: 0.04 (2010)
    Hong Kong: 0.00 (2004)
    Japan: 0.00 (2008)
    South Korea: 0.00 (2006)

    So the US has gun related murder rates TEN TIMES higher than Italy, Iceland, Denmark etc, TWENTY TIMES higher than Sweden, Austria, Spain, etc and NINETY TIMES higher than the UK. Meanwhile the rates of gun crime in Hong Kong, Japan and Korea are so low that they are not statistically relevant at all.

    Whose approach to gun crime works better?

    For the record, the ONLY countries in the world where MORE people per capita get shot than in the USA (land of the free, fuck yeah) are Honduras, El Salvador, Jamaica, Swaziland, Guatamala, Colombia, Brazil, South Africa, Panama, Mexico, Paraguay, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica.

  • Rockatansky

    How did every country in the middle east get skipped on this survey? How did those South American countries numbers not get posted? Are we just pick and choosing countries to make our argument sound better? That's kind of chicken-sh!t don't you think?

  • First of all, did you miss the bit where I listed every country in the world with higher rates of gun violence than the US?

    Secondly, no. If you want to make any sort of statistical comparison, you compare like to like, which in this case means comparing politically stable, 'first world' economies. But, hey, if you want to brag that Americans shoot other Americans at rates only slightly lower than what happens in Mexico, say, where the narco gangs in the northern provinces have set themselves up as warlords, completely disregard the rule of law, and regularly deliver bags of heads to the authorities, then be my guest.

  • Jeff

    Todd, it is clear that you are an idealogue on this issue, so we will never agree. You can throw up statistics from any country, but what you forget is that no two countries are totally alike culturally, economically, etc, so the comparisons are disingenuous, especially when you ignore statitics that betray your argument. Hence, no use trying to persuade you. I hope you have enough self-awareness, however, to realize how you are attempting to assert your control and will over others and infringe on their basic human right to protect themselves and their families the way that they want. Very enlighted of you. If you ever rid the world of guns (good luck with that), make sure you go after knives next, and if you ever rid the world of knives, go after clubs next, and if you ever rid the world of clubs, go after automobiles, cigarettes, soft drinks, etc. Now, after you come to realize the futility of it all, perhaps you will come to accept that God has given us all free will, and then, you may think it wiser to simply seek to better educate and guide people on how to appropriately exercise their free will, so that they choose not to use such instruments to victimize themselves and others.

  • You're right. No two countries are culturally alike. And you live in the country that is the most violent of all in the westernized / supposedly first world, one that has preached propogation of firearms as a deterrent to violence for decades while ignoring the fact that owning the most guns per capita of any country in the world has only resulted in more people being killed by firearms than in any other first world country, by a landslide. Your dogma doesn't work.

  • As for the argument that they'll just switch weapons, here are the overall murder rates for many of those same key countries (the chart I pulled these from isn't sortable, or I'd have pulled more), also per 100 000 people:

    USA: 4.8
    Canada: 1.6
    Hong Kong: 0.2
    Japan: 0.4
    South Korea: 2.6 (the only one I spotted where there seems to be a significant number of non-gun killings)
    Denmark: 0.9
    United Kingdom: 1.2
    Australia: 1.0

    And on and on it goes. Yep, some people get killed by other means, but the American murder rate by ANY means is still WORLDS above everybody else int he western world, the rate of gun deaths alone dwarfing what happens everywhere else.

    You know what your right to bear arms has bought you? A violent country where people kill each other at a higher rate than in any other with a comparable level of economic and political stability. Period. It hasn't made you more safe, it's made you less safe.

  • Jeff

    Todd, my impression is that you don't live in America. If so, I wonder why you think you are such an expert on it. Also, to assert that our right to bear arms has resulted in the violence here is about as naive as it gets. If you are going to attribute the violence here to that right, then you should also attribute the peace here to that right as well, since unlike many other countries, we have not had a tyrannical government that has mass-murdered its populace.

  • Also, something I've always wondered: If you believe your government is just waiting for the chance to oppress you and will do so unless you own a gun so that you can shoot them and stop them from doing so, WHY DO YOU LIVE THERE? There are an incredible number of nations around the world which do not oppress their population and never have. There are plenty of options. The way the political right has somehow managed to wed 'America is the greatest' with 'be afraid of America' is utterly bizarre.

  • Do you sincerely believe that the commanders of the US military live in fear of the firearms owned by the civilian population? That's just funny. They never have. They never will.

    You're arguing (and have argued, repeatedly) that guns are necessary for self defense. The statistics disagree. And they always have. Increased levels of gun ownership have only ever resulted in more gun deaths, not less. In higher levels of violence, not less. You're arguing from a position of dogma, not fact.

  • Jeff

    Todd, you wonder why people believe that their government, or any government, would oppress them...because it is clear that people like you would let them.
    It is sad and unfortunate that you can't seem to grasp that.

  • Clearly high levels of gun ownership have done a wonderful job of preventing your government from monitoring your email and telephone traffic without needing to demonstrate just cause. Or from imprisoning a higher percentage of your own population than any other nation on earth. Yep, all those guns sure are doing an awesome job of keeping you 'free'. Amazing how other nations manage to avoid those scenarios without a heavily armed populace.

    Easy access to guns did, however, allow a man to shoot a politician in the head for the horrible crime of wanting to help keep Americans healthy. Whew. That would have been HORRIBLE. And deeply oppressive, clearly.

    Again, you're quoting NRA dogma that has no basis in actual fact.

  • Jeff

    Oh, look at me, debating freedom with an individual who has General Zod as his icon...
    best I stop waisting my time.

  • Better yet, look up some actual statistics and research the way countries in other parts of the world exercise and maintain their freedom.

  • Jeff

    Idolizing a character who is famous for the line, "Kneel before Zod"...I suggest you do a little more research about freedom, friend.

  • Orson

    In the words of the Great Eric Cartman: "Totally weak". You couldn't come up with a quasi-meaningful response to the facts he presented to you so you go after his avatar?! Talking about grasping for straws. Pretty pathetic....

  • Matt Saracen

    Hahahaha. Great point.

  • Jeff

    Cherrypicking stats may be "facts" from your point of view, but not mine. Even if they were irrefutable, I would still not use them to further diminish an individual's right to protect him/herself and their family the way that they want, to say nothing of hunting for sustenance. You see, I am more concerned with the criminal, not the citizen, and if the countless laws already on the books don't make a difference, neither will any additional laws...except for those of us who would actually obey them. You may choose to tell someone they cannot protect themselves or their families with a gun, but I would never wish to exert my will upon another in that regard. But of course, you are more "educated" and "enlightened" than I, so please forgiveness my "ignorance".

  • Read: "Facts don't matter as long as I can keep my gun."

    It's interesting to me how quickly you went from arguing that the facts were on your side to trying to sidetrack the conversation into a discussion of my avatar while saying the facts were irrelevant and trying to create some sort of class argument with your educated / enlightened / ignorant comments - absolutely none of which are terms anyone but you has used. Is it really that hard for you to engage with the actual numbers and the basic reality around you?

  • Jeff

    Your avatar is a reflection of who you are, Todd, and your choice of Zod, a fictional character who believed in complete domination, not freedom, reveals much. I'd be in disagreement with you regardless, but the Zod icon makes me feel foolish for even engaging in a discussion with you, as if you idolize that character, it will take far more than an internet interaction with me to make you see the world in a different way. Nonetheless, best wishes on your journey through life.

  • Rock Omni

    If avatars are a reflection of who we are, you must be nothing then?

  • I honestly don't know what to make of this quite yet. I'll just have to settle for another silly quote. "Everyone remain calm! I am a fire marshal!"

  • Jeff

    And that's what Carrey does best...make us laugh. Him getting into the whole gun control debate, conversely, makes me scowl, especially because he has demonized, ridiculed, and stereotyped others simply for thinking different than him. I hope he doesn't become one of "those" actors who think we all need and want to know their positions on things, else I, and likely many others, will lose all interest in him.

  • Jeff

    I like Carrey, but I like him less when he ridicules and stereotypes all gun owners, as he did in a self-made video. I am not going to apologize to Carrey or anyone else for owning a gun and wanting to protect myself and my family by that means. Now Jim, please refrain from entering the political discourse, as so many of your colleagues have the tendency to do, and just entertain us with laughter.

  • Dude

    This comment entertains me with laughter.

  • Jeff

    Why doesn't it surprise me that you are so easily entertained, "dude"?

  • Guest

    It's a play on your name, Lebowski

  • arturo

    Thanks Jim, i am now dead cert on seeing Kick Ass 2 on opening weekend, you're promotional skills are amazing....Oh and what has Kick Ass 2 or any other violent movie got to do with what happened in Sandy Hook?? One thing has got nothing to do with another..

  • Rockatansky

    Even more so when you consider what happens to his character ;-)

  • I don't agree that there's a causal link, but I completely understand Carrey thinking that if he's going to advocate for stricter gun laws (which he does) then he has a problem being in a movie that plays gun violence for fun. That makes total sense to me. Makes less sense that this particular coin didn't drop before he agreed to do it, but I do understand the thinking.

  • arturo

    I have no problem with his stance on gun laws, but i do have a problem when he mentions Kick Ass and Sandy Hook in the same sentence, it could be interpreted that he is casualy implying that there is some type of link between movies like Kick Ass and the tragedy that happened in Sandy Hook, i think he handled it wrong..Ok don't promote the movie Jim but no need to mention Sandy Hook..

  • billydaking

    He mentioned Sandy Hook because, for many people, Sandy Hook was perspective-changing. There had been other mass shootings before and since, but with the exception of the Colorado movie theater one, the public had become somewhat numb to it. Sandy Hook, and it's shocking mass murder of schoolchildren, shook them.

    Carey isn't trying to connect Kick Ass and Sandy Hook. He's simply explaining why his perspective has changed enough that now he's reevaluating the things he's done to simply to entertain people. Things that were funny yesterday aren't funny today. Things that were dramatic as a story are now painful to sit through.

    Which is why I don't see why people can't understand why Carey didn't have a problem with the story months ago. He's simply coming from a different place now. It's simply that if he were offered this role today, he wouldn't take it.

  • Jeff

    For as much as I like Carrey, he is a hypocrite. Take the money and run, Jim. Please just keep us laughing, and leave the politics at home.

  • Actually, I think he's trying to NOT be a hypocrite here. Or at least less of one.

  • Matt Saracen

    While I agree that America's gun problem is completely out of control, I still think Carey is full of shit. Him and his ex-wife, Jenny McCarthy, are some of the most vocal critics of childhood vaccinations. The amount of people they've wrongly influenced into not vaccinating their children - one of the wonders of modern medicine - is staggering. The results have been devastating. As far as I'm concerned, Jim Carrey has blood on his hands.

  • Jeff

    I meant that he is a hypocrite, of sorts, for keeping his pay for a film that he does not now endorse. I understand his message, although I wish he would refrain from entering the policital fray, as at least for me, it detracts from the enjoyment I get from watching him on film.

  • freyrrabbit

    I think it's It's fair to criticize Carrey for his timing in taking this stance, and less so for the stance itself (I don't agree either, but then I don't imagine many Twitch-readers would), but I do respect him for acting on his integrity, however late it is. Activism works primarily through exposure, and celebrities can be a very powerful instrument of it. It's a power that we give them, after all.

    I also doubt that either Carrey or the movie need any help making money, so it's hard to think that marketing strategy is behind this.

    All that said though, I am looking forward to some brutal violence and I'll just be real nice when I see Jim and not mention it.

  • Kurt

    The movie is made either way, so I'm happy to get the chance to see it. It's no skin off my back if Carrey doesn't do publicity for it. The first film is the marketing for the second one...they don't need 'all hands on deck' to sell the film. I'm sure it will find its audience without Jim on Conan or Letterman.

    The baffling thing is that the film is Satire, admittedly, satire is hard to do, and can backfire, but it is kind of a condemnation of the silliness of vigilante-ism. And I like that.

  • Joe Foolio

    This IS Carrey doing publicity for it. To me this just reeks of "Pay attention to this everyone, look what we are doing. Are you curious now? Good, go see the movie."

  • Matt Saracen

    Thank you for stating the obvious! Seriously, this is publicity for the film and we're all eating right up.

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