Mar 28, 2013

Tradecraft: Matthew Vaughn's Secret Service Lands at Fox

We've known for some time that Kick-Ass director Matthew Vaughn planned to re-team with comic book creator Mark Millar for an adaptation of Millar and Dave Gibbons' comic The Secret Service. Today, Deadline reports that Fox will distribute the film, and is aiming for a November 14, 2014 release date. Vaughn directed the excellent X-Men: First Class for Fox (review here). Before we get to the material itself, this news has a few ramifications for Bond fans to consider. First, it effectively takes Vaughn out of the running to helm Bond 24, something many fans had hoped for following Sam Mendes announcement that he wouldn't return for the franchise's next entry. (Vaughn previously directed Daniel Craig in Layer Cake.) Second, though no date has been announced for the next 007 movie (all MGM has promised investors is within the next three years), if EON is able to get the movie made in time for a 2014 release, then November 14 would likely be its target date (following the pattern of recent Bonds, anyway). Would that put two spy movies head to head? Or would Fox back down and move their upstart out of the way of the Daniel Craig juggernaut coming off of a billion dollar series best? Probably the latter, I'd imagine.

As for The Secret Service, the comic book book follows a hoodie-wearing London street thug who's plucked from his dead-end life by his Bondian secret agent uncle and given a second chance in Her Majesty's Secret Service. I love the teen spy subgenre, and thanks to his stellar work on Layer Cake, Stardust, Kick-Ass, and most especially X-Men: First Class, I'm a big fan of Vaughn's. I like the premise of the comic, and indeed there's a lot to like within its pages as well. But there's also a lot that frustrates the hell out of me. Despite its wonderful art, the comic feels like a first draft. Despite Deadline's assertion that the film "closely follows the comic," I'm hoping that Vaughn and his frequent co-writer Jane Goldman will once again elevate the material far above Millar's comic book, as they did very ably with Kick-Ass.

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