'Kingsman: The Golden Circle' Villain is Described as 'Martha Stewart on Crack'

Thursday, 13 July 2017 - 6:46PM
Comic Book Movies
Thursday, 13 July 2017 - 6:46PM
'Kingsman: The Golden Circle' Villain is Described as 'Martha Stewart on Crack'
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20th Century Fox
With Kingsman: The Golden Circle drawing closer to its release, it's exciting to think of how director Matthew Vaughn is going to go about differentiating this sequel from the original film. It's no good just giving us more of the same; The Golden Circle needs to be unique and jaw-dropping in its own way.

When the first movie had Samuel L Jackson playing a weak-stomached, movie cliché-obsessed environmental activist for a supervillain, it's hard to imagine the sequel can deliver something even weirder. But Vaughn isn't worried, as he explains in an interview with Entertainment Weekly. He's got actress Julianne Moore stepping into the villain role with a new character named Poppy, a role he describes as being like "Martha Stewart on crack."

And that could be taken literally, because Poppy is obsessed with old-fashioned 1950s culture and also happens to be an extravagant drug kingpin. According to Vaughn:

Opening quote
"For this film, I needed a performer who could fill the shoes of Sam Jackson without any sense of intimidation. And someone who could make this character pretty insane but at the same time real. And though Kingsman is hopefully a big popcorn film, I love to put fantastic, brilliant, Oscar-winning talent like Julianne Moore into crazy environments. That's when we get magic happening...

"She's taken over the global drug business and wants to be on the Forbes list… She has a speech where she goes, 'Sugar is 10 times more addictive than cocaine. It causes more death and misery in America. Yet one is legal. Peddle that shit and you're in the Forbes 500. Peddle coke and you're in jail. What the fuck!' So the points she's making are not insane. Her solutions definitely are."
Closing quote

There's a kind of poetry to this approach to The Golden Circle's villain. While Jackson's Richmond Valentine is an activist who cares about a pressing social issue (namely climate change) but is willing to do some pretty immoral stuff to make it happen, Moore's character seems to similarly feel she occupies the moral high ground, in spite of her expansive drug empire.

Poppy yearns to return to a bygone era of Americana, when the world was a nicer place, but won't give up on her desire to see drugs legalized. It's a fun twist, and with American Gods also making American culture look as cool and sleek as possible, it's clear that this theme of nostalgia taps into something potent about modern life.

It's probably not a coincidence, by the way, that British director Matthew Vaughn's incredibly British spy series now has two well-meaning but ultimately despicable quintessentially American villains. Poppy has a 1950s era Main Street replica built in the South American jungle, while Richmond Valentine makes no apologies for his McDonald's obsession.

It's almost as if, after years of seeing Hollywood cast British actors as villains, Vaughn is taking glee in spinning the formula by showing American national values as corrupt and dangerous. Of course, this movie does also feature heroic American characters in the form of the Statesmen - but they're all named after various types of alcohol, like Channing Tatum's character whose codename is "Tequila." Apparently, in Matthew Vaughn's eyes, the only good American is a drunk American.

Kingsman: The Golden Circle comes out September 27, 2017.
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