One of the most hotly anticipated movies premiering this spring, Matthew Vaughn’s Kick-Ass is a bold, gritty take on the superhero subgenre. The movie stars Aaron Johnson as Dave, a geeky, comic book-obsessed teenager who decides to become a real-life superhero named Kick-Ass. Along the way, he discovers an underground subculture of crime fighters, including Big Daddy (Nicolas Cage), a former cop, and his ruthless, foul-mouthed young daughter, Hit-Girl (Chloe Moretz). Together, they team up to bring down evil drug lord Frank D’Amico (Sherlock Holmes‘ Mark Strong), but, lacking real super powers, will they be able to stop him?

Based on the comic book series created by Mark Millar (Wanted), Kick-Ass hits theaters April 16. Director-producer Matthew Vaughn (Stardust, Layer Cake) took a few minutes from his busy schedule to answer some quick questions about the movie, including why the brash attitude of Hit-Girl is picking up some controversy.

Kyle Rupprecht (MM): In his mission to fight crime, Dave is inspired by the mythical heroes of classic comic books. Who are some of your favorite comic book heroes?

Matthew Vaughn (MV): I think it is fairly clear from the comic that Spiderman and Batman were big influences on me. But, to be honest, I am more of a comic book movie fan than I am a straight comic fan.

MM:The movie’s depiction of Hit-Girl, an 11-year-old who curses like a sailor and kicks some serious booty, has kicked up some controversy. Why was it integral to include such an unconventional, controversial character in the film?

MV: The character is in the comics. If I had not had her in the film—or had watered her character down—there would have been a bigger controversy from the people who matter.

MM: In the movie, Kick-Ass becomes an Internet sensation when his crime-fighting antics are filmed and posted on YouTube. Do you have a “guilty pleasure” YouTube video?

MV: Myself.

MM: So far you’ve amassed a pretty eclectic resume. Which genre are you interested in tackling next?

MV: It has not been a conscious choice to work across such a disparate array of genres. I am attracted to good stories so will follow that course wherever it may lead! I think it is unlikely that it will be a horror film, as that is probably the only genre that I do not watch.

MM: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given about making movies?

MV: “A film is made for the audience.”

MM: While the characters in Kick-Ass don’t possess any super-human abilities, if you could possess one super power, what would it be?

MV: The power to make my kids sleep all night long.