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September 28, 2017

Getting It? Matthew Vaughan Says He Edited Out Anti-Trump Bits From "Kingsmen" Sequel, Prioritizing Escapism and Audience Unity Over Divisive Political Statements

One of the worst accusations you can make about a Hollywood worker is that he might lean conservative. So I would not libel Matthew Vaughan like that.

I would note, though, that the first Kingsmen had a scene that was glorious in its edginess and willingness to offend partisans of the previous president.

He said that was just some lighthearted fun. And so it was.

In fairness, "Kingsmen" was more of a quasi-nihilist scream at all of the ruling elite, of both the stuffy conservative my-ancestors-signed-the-Magna-Carta stripe and the weird, controlling progressive we-shall-remake-the-world-in-our-perfect-godly-image type. It was really not political so much as it encoded that juvenile impulse towards rebellion and desecration of sacred cows. (And while that is a juvenile impulse, associated chiefly with the young, I will also insist it is often useful to exercise that juvenile impulse. Just because we change as we grow up doesn't mean that we had everything wrong when we were young, and it doesn't mean that older guys who are approaching 29 years old, such as myself, still can't find some sneaky teenage joy in juvenilia.)

So its politics, to the extent it had them, weren't conventional left-right but populist of any persuasion vs elite of any stripe, or youthful irreverence vs. mature stodginess.

Anyway, this guy, who I'm sure Believes All the Right Things That All the Right People Believe, shied away from turning his escapist popcorn fun into yet another divisive round of political virtue signalling.

Apparently the script called for Julianne Moore, playing a (wow, so novel) evil corporate CEO type, talking about her desire to host The Apprentice. Vaughan deleted that as possibly alienating to some of the audience.


"We were building a White House Oval Office in the style of Trump Tower. We were making it in all gold and blinging it up. This was in May of 2016 and then I had an inkling. I remember saying to my American production designer, 'Trump might win, you know? Would this be as funny if Trump won?'And he was like, 'Trump will never win.' And I said, 'You know what, I have a weird feeling he might. So let's build a normal Oval Office and scrap the Trump version.'"

Looking back, Vaughn knows he made the right decision, because "if you go too far -- if movies get political when they're meant to be fun -- then it weighs everything down a bit too much."

Damn right brother. There are movies with political themes and there should be -- but we should get political messages from movies which are expressly political, thematically political from start to finish, and which announce right in the trailers they're political movies. We don't need or want pointless and tasteless political snarks and jibes inserted into movies that have no connection to political themes, except some SJW screenwriter's insistence that we need at least three Trump jokes in a film Because I Just Can't Even With This Any More. #TheResistance!

That said, let's enjoy the subversive and to this day utterly shocking climatic sequence featuring a whispy half-black president with a voice both sonorous and somnmbulant but who is definitely not Obama, according to Vaughan, getting his totalitarian head exploded by a neural implant he agreed to have inserted into him to protect him from the mass human extermination event he agreed to fund and assist in.

By the way, I hear the film is so-so. Pretty good, but not nearly as good (or fresh) as the first one. I guess if you're on the fence but want to signal to Hollywood you want more of this sort of non-political stuff, maybe go see it?

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posted by Ace at 01:51 PM

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