The director wanting to hold onto his surprises as long as possible asks that we not divulge of them. Stars and friends Simon Pegg (“Shaun of the Dead,” “Hot Fuzz,” “Paul”) and Nick Frost (“Shaun of the Dead,” “Hot Fuzz,” “Paul”) are back together again with director Edgar Wright (“Shaun of the Dead,” “Hot Fuzz,” “Paul”).
The stage is set for the film when in 1990 five young men celebrate the end of the school year by attempting an epic twelve-pub crawl. The ale binge is to conclude at The World’s End. However, they don’t reach the last pub and 20 years later Pegg rounds up the guys to fulfill that quest. And it’s more than the pints of beer that get in their way this time, it’s science fiction. Again, though, it’s been asked that some of the outcomes leading to the end not be given away.
“The World’s End” reminds me somewhat of “From Dust Til Dawn” with George Clooney. That film too starts off innocently enough with a dad on a road trip with his daughter. Then all hell breaks loose midway in the movie when supernatural elements come into play.
Before interviewing the Pegg and Frost, Wright was asked about his motley crew’s ringleader.
Pegg is like the child in Peter Pan who doesn’t want to grow up, would you agree?
EDGAR WRIGHT: In all the movies we’ve done, there is a character who is a perpetual adolescent. The movie is about the dangers of not growing up. Rosalind Pike at one point says you need to go forwards and not backwards. The concept of the arrested adolescent gets older and older. It used to be that 30 is the new 20. And it’s 40 that’s the new 30. When does it stop? The movie was that you have five friends. Four are grown up and one wants to be 18. Alcohol is the time machine. It’s the thing that’s going to make you more juvenile. He wants to get his friends drunk so they can be teenagers again. I had written a script when I was 21 about teenagers going on a pub crawl that I had never done anything with. It was way later after Hot Fuzz that I realized there was something about trying to recreate that night. Nick Frost becomes the hero in the second half. He’s the moral compass. He can’t let Simon Pegg destroy himself. It’s an apocalypse movie but it’s also about self-destruction.
In “Star Trek” rebooted, Simon Pegg is Scotty. He and Nick Frost are voices in Steven Spielberg’s “The Adventures of Tintin” Together again, they were questioned about their latest project. Since there is an element of sci-fi in the movie, I asked why is there such an interest in this genre?
SIMON PEGG: It’s a great metaphor; it’s poetry. Using the non-real to describe the real. Science Fiction has always been a great metaphor. That’s where I think science fiction to some degree has lost its way in the last thirty years or so, because it’s become more about the spectacle and not about the poetry of it. Science fiction has always been a great way of looking at our futures, or our relationships with technology or each other, outer space or knowledge or God. Since special effects have become so good it’s become about fighting and robots.
Where does ‘Star Trek’ fit into all of this?
SP: Since the space race ended science fiction has become very insular. ‘Star Trek,’ which has recently been reborn, is still related to a hopeful spirit of exploration. I think JJ Abrams is a very intelligent filmmaker so ‘Star Trek’ is still very metaphorical. You know, ‘Star Trek: Into The Darkness,’ which has just been out, is a gigantic exciting space thing but really it’s about friendship and being friends, ultimately.
Is there a lot of input or discussion about what goes into a film the two of you do?
NICK FROST: Yeah, I think sometime after me and Simon wrote ‘Paul,’ there was some kind of online discussion as to whether or not I helped with the writing. I think my thought was that ‘Shaun of the Dead’ and ‘Hot Fuzz’ worked fine without me there, in terms of the writing. So I would have hated to have come and helped, and then it turned out really bad ‘cause I would have gotten blamed for it. I’m always the first to get the script and have my chance to [make notes]. Then we go through the whole thing together. So in terms of my input in the process, it’s always been the same way and I’m fine with that. It’s a nice way to do business. It’s like you have a suit made for you with a really good tailor. It kind of fits beauty fully straight away and then I just say, ‘Can we, maybe, move this ticket pocket? I’d like the lining to be a different color.’ It’s only just tiny little refinements.
SP: Also because we’re friends, we’ve been friends for 20 years, Edgar and I know Nick very well and we know how brilliant he is and how we can write unselfishly for Nick. We’re totally aware of his strengths and we always use him. It’s fun to write for someone who you know so well. We wrote for everybody in this film this time, to a lesser degree.
NF: But make no mistake about it—it’s about the film at the end of the day. We’re not ego driven people. It’s not about who has the funny lines. There’s no funny line count. We don’t get jealous when the other one gets a laugh. It’s quite the opposite.
SP: But just for the record, I had the funniest lines (laughs).
Nick, have you seen ‘Kinky Boots’ on Broadway? NF: No I hadn’t. It would be interesting to see who plays my character in it.
They were saying that it was this obscure movie when it was released here. What kind of business did it do in the UK? NF: Something like 80 pounds. It did all right. I think Chiwetel Ejiofor was f–king amazing. I think if that film had done more business his performance would have been recognized a lot more.
Do the two of you plan to work together again?
SP: I can’t really envisage a time when we don’t work together. We inspire each other creatively and we’re both married with children and we live in separate parts of the country now so the only time we really get to hang out and have fun is when we make films, so for that reason alone we’ll work together.
NF: Why do you think we’re working right now? (Laughs). [However] I did the dance film called ‘Cuba Fury,’ which comes out in the UK in February
Marie Moore is a syndicated veteran entertainment journalist who reports on film and TV from her New York City base. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org