While they may not have gotten wide spread recognition until their hit horror comedy Shaun of the Dead, Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg, and Nick Frost began their journey together on the cult classic series Spaced back in 1999. After Shaun of the Dead took the world by storm with its brilliant comedic take on the zombie genre these guys became a house hold name and have been making their mark on the industry ever since. Since then they have worked together as well as individually on various projects including Scott Pilgrim VS. The World directed by Wright, the reboot of the Star Trek franchise with Simon Pegg as Scotty and Paul that teamed Pegg and Frost together for a non-Wright comedy. After Shaun of the Dead they teamed up again for their action comedy Hot Fuzz and are now back at it again for the final film in their “Blood and Ice Cream Trilogy” with the alien action comedy The World’s End. Luckily, I had the honor to briefly sit down with these genius’ to discuss The World’s End and more.
Bobby: Can you tell us a little bit about where the idea of this film came from?
Edgar: I went on a pub crawl when I was 19 and I want to point out that the drinking age in the UK was 18.
Nick: Like that would have stopped you.
Edgar: I know, I know, but you know people will be like that’s early. So I went on this pub crawl at 19 and it was a very memorable disaster. I wrote a script about it when I was 21, but it was about teens drinking and then way later after we had finished Hot Fuzz, I had this bran wave and thinking about that script. There was something in the idea of adults trying to recreate their teenage years. That’s where this idea of the drinking quest came from of one man coming back and trying to rehash his own glory to be the leader of the pack again. On top of that we have all had experiences coming back to our home town and feeling alienated.
Simon: You get it, alien?
Edgar: It wasn’t a big jump there being a reason your town isn’t the way you remembered it as a kid.
Simon: There was another six years after we had the idea and I think it was a very valuable six years, because by the time we came to write the film I had turned 40 and we were all in that right point to write it. If we had written it straight away it wouldn’t have been near as good.
Bobby: After the success of Shaun of the Dead there has been talks of this being part of a trilogy of sorts. Was there always an idea of some kind of trilogy with the group together or did it just sort of happen?
Edgar: When we were making Shaun of the Dead we were lucky to be making a film at all, so we didn’t think beyond the first film. Then after Hot Fuzz, people started asking if we were going to do a third one and that’s when we made a joke in an interview about the three films being linked together by different flavors of Cornetto ice cream and that kind of stuck.
Simon: We put one in the second film. We got free ice cream at the premiere of the first one because we mentioned them in the film. It wasn’t supposed to be any product placement, it was just a joke about eating ice cream in the morning and we got free ice cream. So we said let’s mention it in the second one and we might get more free ice cream, but we didn’t. Instead we got labeled as the guys who do films about ice cream so we just played off that a little bit. There are far more meaty and relevant connections between all three films.
Nick: Tell us.
Simon: Ok, there is the struggle of the individual against the collective.
Nick: Yeah, go on.
Simon: Friendship and a notion about having to making a personal change.
Nick: Hmm, yes, uh huh.
Simon: One has to group up to win the day, another has to dumb down to win the day, one has to rethink his entire life to, to, ta, ta, ta ta ta.
Edgar: Ladies and gentleman Michael Sheen.
Simon: Not just that, there are other reoccurring jokes, but you don’t have to have seen either of the other films to see this one, they are all stand-alone films, but they are kin. The next thing we do might not have anything to do with ice cream it might be FroYo or something.
Edgar: Don’t you have a shopping list of things that you want to do in our next movie?
Nick: Yeah, Aston Martins, maybe the three color Aston Martin trilogy and they can give us one each. The new Rapide is nice, it’s a four door.
Bobby: With all these films there is always action, but this one’s action was amazing. It felt like something that could have been in a movie like The Raid or Ip Man, with you guys being the UK version of Sammo Hung and Jackie Chan.
Simon: He did become known as the white Sammo Hung.
Bobby: Did you guys go through a lot of training and how much did you get to do yourself?
Edgar: We worked with a choreographer called Brad Allen who worked on Scott Pilgrim with me, so I brought him over. The rest of the crew are all from Hot Fuzz. Brad Allen works with Jackie Chan’s stunt team and we designed these fights to be impressive in terms because they are all done in continuous shots. It’s really the actors doing them and did require conditioning and training, but also the stunt people evaluating the different actors to see what they were good at like Paddy Considine had this haymaker punch he does, Simon and Nick doing the fast choreography.
Nick: I had just finished a dance film so I had a week between that wrapping and this so I had already obtained some of that kind of skill learning how to do choreography, plus I kick boxed for 3 or 4 years so it was fantastic.
Edgar: We designate you as our first responder to fight robots in Dallas because you look like you can take them on.
Bobby: I accept the job and besides my years of martial arts have done some fight choreography as well, but obviously nothing like this.
Simon: You mentioned Brad Allen, he was Jackie’s first Caucasian right?
Edgar: Yeah he was Jackie’s first Caucasian member of Jackie’s team. He came from Australia and went to Shanghai to work with Jackie. I’m a huge Jackie Chan fan, he is one of my heroes and we tried to make these fights kind of brutal and funny and fast, with hardly any slow motion in them. It’s nice to hear them compared to those other films.
Bobby: I appreciate it guys, the movie is awesome and can’t wait to see it again.
While it may or may not come across in the text, these guys are just as you would expect nice generous and all around great guys. The clearly have fun doing their thing and we can only hope they team up for more projects in the future.
Be sure to get out and see The World’s End when it invades theaters on August 23rd.