“The World’s End” is the third movie of director Edgar Wright’s Cornetto Trilogy of comedies with actors Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, following the successes 2004’s “Shaun of the Dead” and 2007’s “Hot Fuzz.” Wright and Pegg co-wrote the screenplay to “The World’s End,” a story about five childhood friends who have a 20-year reunion by doing a pub crawl during an apocalypse. The five friends (played by Pegg, Frost, Martin Freeman, Paddy Considine and Eddie Marsan) also encounter a long-lost love interest (played by Rosamund Pike), who sparked a little bit of rivalry between two of the men.
Simon Pegg’s character, the ringleader of the reunion, is a 40-year-old man trapped in a permanent state of adolescence, and he drags his reluctant pals to their hometown and once again attempts to reach the fabled pub The World’s End. As they attempt to reconcile the past and present, they realize the real struggle is for the future — not just theirs but humankind’s. At the New York City press junket for “The World’s End,” I sat down with Pegg and Frost for this roundtable interview that they did with me and other journalists.
When did the idea of the Cornetto Trilogy first begin?
Pegg: I think probably on the “Hot Fuzz” press tour when we realized we’d been able to make two films, and both films, in essence, were thematically connected, sort of tonal sequels, in a way. They were direct sequels and not the same characters, but they were definitely variations on a theme.
And we figured if we could possibly do it again, we could wrap it up as a nice little whole, as a threesome, as it were. And do it again. So we were finding ideas that we started working on. It wasn’t like we set out to make a trilogy. We would never be so arrogant to assume that we would three films.
Frost: Being British filmmakers, we were lucky to make. It’s true, you know. We thought, “If we could sell this to Lufthansa, if they show it on a flight, we’ll be lucky.” And then we got a chance to “Hot Fuzz,” so it seemed the logical thing to do, really.
Can you talk about finding some of the ideas for “The World’s End”?
Pegg: There are ideas in “The World’s End” that we explored before that: the battle of the individual versus the collective; the idea of losing one’s identity; the notion of an extended adolescence. Now, more than ever, at 40, we’ve had this extended adolescence. It’s been almost 10 years since “Shaun of the Dead.” So we’ve been able to reflect on how everything ends.
Frost: And also, technical requirements, in terms of Edgar [Wright’s] ability. He went off and made “Scott Pilgrim [vs. the World],” which is an amazing film. He met some amazing people and brought them onto [“The World’s End”].
I read some years that it takes 10 years or 10,000 hours to perfect anything. We’ve kind of been at this now for 10 years. We’re always trying to be better actors. We’re not saying we’re perfect, but it helps when you surround yourself with an amazing cast. When you look at Paddy Considine, Eddie Marsan and Rosamund [Pike] and Martin [Freeman], we think, “We have to be as food as them.” That helps.
Pegg: It ups your game.
Frost: It really does up your game. You don’t want to be lost. You don’t want to think, “They’re amazing. They’re much better than me,” Well, you probably do. You have to push for that constantly. You just can’t make “Shaun of the Dead” and “Hot Fuzz” and think, “Done! We can do anything now.” We’re not like that. We always want to be better. We always want things to be better.
For more info: “The World’s End” photos