LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - The pieces are starting to fall into place for a feature version of "Kick-Ass," a comic by Mark Millar that Hollywood studios have chosen not to adapt because of its violent nature.
Filmmaker Matthew Vaughn ("Layer Cake," "Stardust"), who is such a believer in the material that he raised the money for the $30 million project himself, will direct the independent film. Christopher Mintz-Plasse is in negotiations for a role, and Chloe Moretz has been cast.
Written by Millar -- whose "Wanted" series was adapted for the screen earlier this year -- and drawn by John Romita Jr., "Kick-Ass" follows a high school dweeb who attempts to reinvent himself as a real-world costumed superhero named Kick-Ass who seems doomed to failure because he's not athletic or coordinated until he runs into real bad guys with real weapons.
The comic, which has seen three issues published so far, is ultraviolent, with kids taking on adults of all stripes. Moretz's character, for example, is a ferocious, potty-mouthed 11-year-old terror who chops down crime thugs with a ninja sword. Mintz-Plasse is in talks to play the Red Mist, the angry teen son of a mobster.
The main character, dweeb Dave Lizewski, has not yet been cast. Vaughn also is talking to several high-profile stars to play parents or mobsters.
Vaughn, who wrote the adaptation with Jane Goldman, first brought the project to Sony, which distributed his "Layer Cake." The studio balked at the violence, which he refused to tone down. Several other studios expressed interest in the project but demanded that the protagonists' ages be upped.
The project will be a 180-degree turn for the actors involved.
Moretz, who just wrapped the feature "500 Days of Summer," has done plenty of voice work for Disney including "My Friends Tigger and Pooh" as well as the upcoming "Bolt."
Mintz-Plasse ("Superbad") appears in the upcoming comedies "Role Model" and "Year One."