Well, it looks like “The Secret Service,” the next Matthew Vaughn-directed adaptation of a Mark Millar comic book, is almost fully staffed with secret agents. According to a Variety report, newcomer Taron Egerton has landed the lead role of a young street tough who is turned into a super spy, in a story Millar has described as “My Fair Lady” meets James Bond. Meanwhile, the hunt for a female lead is still on, with Bella Heathcote and Emma Watson looking like the current frontrunners.
“The Secret Service” originated as a comic book by Mark Millar, whose comic book creations also inspired “Wanted” and “Kick-Ass” (he also serves in some kind of creative capacity on the Marvel movies Fox has in development) and Dave Gibbons, the artist who worked with Alan Moore on the beloved “Watchmen” series. It tells the story of a kid who is taken under the wing of his super spy uncle, who teaches him how to be the best spy he can be. It’s pretty warm-hearted, given Millar’s usual nihilistic streak, and should make for a fun deconstruction of the genre.
So far Egerton joins Colin Firth (as the uncle) and Michael Caine (as the head of the spy organization). Whoever Vaughn picks for the female lead would play the romantic love interest for our young spy. Heathcote came off a great 2012 in which she costarred in Tim Burton‘s “Dark Shadows” and David Chase‘s “Not Fade Away” (if either had been a bigger hit she’d be shortlisted for everything). Watson, of course, is transitioning from her “Harry Potter” mode, with two winning performances this summer in “This is the End” and Sofia Coppola‘s brilliant “Bling Ring.” Mark Hamill, who makes an appearance in the first issue of the comic book, has also signed on to play himself. According to the Variety report, they’re still looking for a huge star to play the bad guy, after both Tom Cruise and Leonardo DiCaprio passed.
Egerton is a relative newcomer, with his only credit being the British television series “Inspector Lewis.“ What’s more, he beat out Jack O’Connell (who will star in Angelina Jolie‘s “Unbroken“) and John Boyega, from wonderful British sci-fi romp “Attack the Block,” for the role.
Vaughn directs from a script he co-wrote with his writing partner Jane Goldman. Shooting is expected to start this fall, while Fox has scheduled a November 14th, 2014 release date for the film.
Vaughn served as a producer on “Kick-Ass 2,” also based on some Millar comics, which opens on August 16th.