Cheat Sheet: Matthew Vaughn
Date of birth:
7th March, 1971
Place of birth:
British but born in Beverley Hills, California
Directing, producing, writing
Layer Cake, Stardust, Kick-Ass, Kick-Ass: Balls to the Wall, X-Men:First Class
What you probably already know:
While Vaughn himself, with only four completed films under his directing belt, is not exactly a household name, he is certainly used to hanging around with the famous faces. He’s married to and has three children with Claudia Schiffer (feel free to be sick) and was best man to Guy Ritchie at his wedding to Madonna.
You may recall The Daily Mail and similar media outlets being self-righteously indignant about Kick-Ass, with adorable-but-deadly Chloe Moretz as 12-year-old Hit Girl dropping the f-bomb and chopping people’s legs off. Adapted from Mark Millar’s comic book and starring Aaron Johnson, it was simultaneously hilarious and graphically violent. A sequel, Kick-Ass: Balls to the Wall, is set for a 2012 release.
He seems to have a knack for getting a great cast cast together – as seen in Stardust, which was crawling with familiar thespian faces. Adapted from the Neil Gaiman novel, it remains a hit with both the male and female of the species, which is perhaps a surprise considering the fairy tale theme. (Although casting Robert De Niro as a camp pirate couldn’t have hurt.)
His first film Layer Cake (Daniel Craig’s audition for James Bond) was, like his other films, stylish, bombastic and a little superficial (but in a good way). His passion for comic books is reflected in his directing style – simple but arresting and slightly tongue-in-cheek, which is exactly why he was a great choice for X-Men: First Class. We’re not looking for the next Godfather; but rather for something slick and visually exciting to liven up an Orange Wednesday. And it cannot fail to be an improvement on Wolverine, which was really just an excuse for Hugh Jackman’s torso to have its own cameo.
What you might not know:
Before getting into directing he produced several of Guy Ritchie’s films, including Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch. He was also involved with Swept Away, but let’s, er, sweep that under the carpet. He believed in Kick-Ass enough to sink (really quite a lot of) his own money into it when studio heads wouldn’t take the risk and was vindicated by the film topping the US chart in its opening weekend. While it didn’t break any box office records, it was a good result for an indie flick about a superhero that no one had heard of and who doesn’t actually own any superpowers.
It seems unfair to talk about Vaughn without mentioning his partner in crime, writer (and wife of Jonathan Ross) Jane Goldman, who has been on the script-writing team for all of Vaughn’s films, excepting Layer Cake. Vaughn’s next project will be an adaptation of Jonathan Ross’ own comic book, The Golden Age, a tale about retired superheroes. However, rumour has it that Vaughn will take a step back into a producing role, while the much-in-demand Goldman may not be available to put quill to page.
Matthew Vaughn Quote:
“Film-making is a director’s medium, number one, and I think that the director is being minimalized more and more and more as the industry is growing and growing and growing.”
What to say at a dinner party:
“I admire how, with Kick-Ass, Matthew Vaughn had the guts to stand apart from the studios and make a truly original, bold film that doesn’t quite fit with the ubiquitous superhero-movie mould.”
What to say not to say at a dinner party:
“Isn’t he, err, kind of… selling out with X-Men: First Class?”
As long as The Daily Mail are upset by Kick-Ass: Balls to the Wall, I’m happy.