The Kingsman exploded onto the scene in 2014 with it’s hard hitting, but quick-witted take on the spy drama.
Now, with the greatly anticipated sequel on the way, here are some facts about the first film that started it all!
1. Fact in fiction.
During, and in the lead-up to, the First and Second World Wars, the British Intelligence Services often used tailor shops as fronts for their activities.
2. Pretty hardcore.
Actor Colin Firth did eighty percent of his own stunts, according to Stunt Coordinator and Second Unit Director Bradley James Allan.
3. Kingsmen over X-Men.
The director, Matthew Vaughn, withdrew from directing X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014) in order to direct this movie.
4. “It was an awful first day of filming.”
In the film and trailer, when the new Kingsman recruits have their first night’s sleep interrupted by a deluge of water pouring into the dorm, on-set the scene went horrifically wrong (story continued on the next page…).
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As Matthew Vaughn recalls “I shouted ‘action!’, the computer got it wrong and vrrrrssshh, everyone was twenty feet down underwater. Cameras, sound guys… Guys were in waders full of water, panic, everyone diving in and pulling people out.” The set, painstakingly planned and rehearsed using height markers and computer-programmed water tanks, washed away in a near-biblical flood when said computers went rogue. “Those actors weren’t acting, they were absolutely terrified,” shudders Vaughn. “It was awful for the first day of filming.”
5. From comic book to film.
The film was made and released two years after its source comic book was published in 2012. “The Secret Service” rolled out onto the shelves of comic book stores in February 2012, telling the story of a gentleman spy, training his street-punk nephew, to be the next great secret agent, and exploring two co-existing sides of British culture.
6. Nice touch.
All the action is framed centrally, your eyes never need to leave the center of the frame.
7. Buff up.
Colin Firth worked out for around six months, to be in top fighting shape and physical form, in order to portray gentleman spy Galahad a.k.a. Harry Hart.
8. Character traits.
Samuel L. Jackson’s character of Richmond Valentine was originally intended not to have a lisp. However, Jackson completed his first take with a lisp. Matthew Vaughn yelled “cut!”, and talked to Jackson, who revealed… (story continued on the next page…)
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Jackson revealed to Vaughn that, prior to having an acting career, he actually had a lisp, which he eventually overcame. It was also jokingly remarked that this lisp is Valentine’s reason for being villainous.
9. Rule breaker.
According to “The Gentleman’s Guide” on the film’s official website, “The Rules” of a Kingsman Gentleman are as follows: (1) A gentleman never tells about conquests, private matters, or dealings. His business is nobody else’s. (2) A gentleman doesn’t clash in public with enemies or exes, or worse, with out-of-fashion contrasts, colors or styles. (3) A gentleman is always happy to serve, whether it’s opening the door, picking up the bill, or merely calling a cab the next morning. Ask him for help and he cannot refuse. (4) A gentleman never reacts to rudeness. He pretends he doesn’t recognize it and moves on like it never happened, because it never should have. (5) A gentleman is always on target with witty remarks, interesting facts, and conversation starters that bring the best out of everyone. And (6) A gentleman asks non-invasive questions to keep a conversation going and attention focused on others. He makes them feel like the most interesting person he’s ever met, whether that’s true or not. Interestingly, new Kingsman agent Eggsy (Taron Egerton) actually follows none of these.
A full Kingsman Secret Service menswear line was created and crafted especially for the film, with tailoring and manufacturing by some of Britain’s most elite, famous, and trusted clothing brands.
11. Abs immortalized.
Taron Egerton worked out very hard for months on end to get in shape for this film eventually developing six-pack abs for his shirtless scenes. He said that it “required a lifestyle change” for him and “total commitment to living a certain way and being very militant about what you eat.” He said he overall enjoyed the experience and would definitely do it again if there is a sequel. He was thrilled that his body was captured looking that way for the silver screen adding “to see my body transform and then to have that there forever on screen is quite a nice feeling. For generations to come, we can all appreciate my abs.”
12. Different casting choices.
Amy Purdy, the double amputee snowboarder in Sochi and runner up from Dancing with the Stars (2005) was originally cast as “Gazelle”, but… (story continued on the next page…)
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But when filming was delayed, she dropped out, so she wouldn’t miss the Olympics.
13. Luke Skywalker.
In the film, Professor James Arnold is played by Mark Hamill. In the comic series, Hamill is the first celebrity kidnapped by Dr. Arnold.
14. Bond breaking.
Mark Strong, who plays Merlin, said: “This movie will be to Bond, what Kick-A** (2010) is to superhero movies.”
15. Bond fan.
Matthew Vaughn describes the film as a love letter to the old-time Bond movies, and the stylish super-spy films and television series he grew up with, such as The Avengers (1961), The Ipcress File (1965), The Prisoner (1967), The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (1964), and In Like Flint (1967).
16. Rough around the edges.
Comic book writer Mark Millar once told Matthew Vaughn about a newspaper article he had read about how Terence Young, who directed the first James Bond film Dr. No (1962), had cast Sir Sean Connery against the wishes of James Bond creator Ian Fleming (story continued on the next page…).
Fleming had seen Agent 007 as more of a James Mason or David Niven type, the latter actually portraying him later in the unofficial spoof Casino Royale (1967). Millar has said: “Young realized he had to turn Connery, this rough Edinburgh guy, into a gentleman, and before they started shooting the film he took him to his tailor, to his favorite restaurants, and basically taught him how to eat, talk, and dress like a gentleman spy.”
17. Fresh twist.
Matthew Vaughn has said that his vision for the picture should be interpreted in terms of what Steven Spielberg wanted to do with Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), where Spielberg took the movie genre he grew up with as a kid, and then re-interpreted it in a “modern, fresh, accessible way.
18. Stylish recruits.
When the Kingsman recruits are going through the basic training program, they still look good, and wear what are known as “siren suits.” These outfits were inspired by the one-piece garment famously worn by former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill.
19. Learning how to fight.
Actress Sofia Boutella had to undergo an intense training schedule to portray the part of Gazelle. Boutella has said: “They taught me Thai boxing, Taekwondo, and how to work with cables. Gazelle uses her legs to kill, so I had to learn different types of kicks. I’d never done anything like it before.”
The “Looking Good. Feeling Good” exchange is a reference to Trading Places (1983) which is a film about opposite ends of the class privilege scale and is referenced early in the movie.
21. Not Hemingway.
Galahad a.k.a. Harry Hart (Colin Firth) attributes his quotation from Ernest Hemingway about being noble to him. This is a common misattribution, and the oldest known version of the quote is from the book “Good Health” from 1898, and most likely it’s from an old Indian proverb. The alleged Hemingway quote said by Hart in the film states: “There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man. The nobility is being superior to your former self.”
22. Grounded in reality.
Lock and Company, the store, from which, Galahad a.k.a. Harry Hart (Colin Firth) recommends Richmond Valentine (Samuel L. Jackson) buy his hat, is a real shop on St. James Street in London, England.
23. Change in script.
In the graphic comic, Gazelle is a young man with artificial legs. In the film, Gazelle is a female acrobatic double-amputee dancer, with artificial legs.
24. Shooting scenes.
The church fight action sequence took seven days to shoot, while the underwater dormitory sequence was complex, and complicated to film, and took around a week and half to complete.