Copernicus at HERO COMPLEX: Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg talk SHAUN OF THE DEAD and future projects
I’m still working through my coverage of the Hero Complex Film Festival. Last time around, I covered part 1 of zombie night, with THE WALKING DEAD’s Robert Kirkman and DAWN OF THE DEAD’s Zack Snyder. Later that evening, we were treated to SHAUN OF THE DEAD with Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg!
First up – news on new films.
When asked if there is anything new on ANT-MAN, Edgar Wright replied, “There might be. I have to give, like a spectacularly vague non-answer.” He also said in an ideal world he’d do his next movie with Simon Pegg first, THE WORLD’S END, the last in the thematic trilogy with SHAUN OF THE DEAD and HOT FUZZ, and then do ANT-MAN, but he couldn’t be sure it would work out that way.
On the success of THE AVENGERS, Edgar Wright said it was “nerve wracking,” thinking about trying to follow the biggest opening weekend of all time. He joked, “I saw Kevin Feige afterward, and I said, ‘How does Shane Black feel?’” But he also said the movie was “great” and “it was a credit to Kevin Feige,” for having the courage to build a 6 film arc.
About the new STAR TREK, Simon Pegg said, “With the benefit of having established the characters, as they are now, in the last film, we can really hit the ground running for this one. It starts, and it really doesn’t fucking stop for the whole film.” He also underscored how fun the whole process was, and about how he was geeking about being on the bridge of the Enterprise. On the set, Simon Pegg said he was talking to Peter Weller about raising kids. Later, he thought, “I just gave fucking ROBOCOP parenting advice!”
On THE WORLD’S END Edgar Wright said they have “no returning characters… but it makes the other two films part of a trilogy.” Simon Pegg said that after you see all 3, they will seem like a trilogy, all about, “The struggle of the individual against the collective.” “WORLD’S END is a bit darker,” Edgar Wright said, “and yet also sillier at the same time.”
While it has been called the Blood and Ice Cream trilogy, he said that started as a joke in an interview, where he was kidding that he wanted to make something like Kieslowski’s Three Colors trilogy, only it would be Three Colors Cornetto (a British brand of frozen ice cream cone). The real truth of why there’s Cornetto in HOT FUZZ is that when Edgar Wright was in college he got “very, very drunk once and had a Cornetto in the morning and felt a lot better.” So it became his hangover cure. For SHAUN, they liked the idea of doing a film where the lead was hung over for the entire film, and would have dulled reactions. Then, after they gave out free Cornetto at the SHAUN OF THE DEAD premiere, when they were writing HOT FUZZ he said, “Hey we should write Cornetto again, maybe we’ll get some free ice cream.” They didn’t get any free ice cream at that premiere, but he said they are trying it again.
As for the origins of SHAUN OF THE DEAD, Edgar Wright said they had done an episode of SPACED that was inspired by one of the RESIDENT EVIL games. That made them to want to do a whole zombie film. They thought SHAUN would be the first zombie movie in years (aside from a RESIDENT EVIL adaptation), but then they later found out about 28 DAYS LATER and the DAWN OF THE DEAD remake, and were kind of freaked out / worried about how there were so many zombie movies in development all at once.
To figure out how to write the script for SHAUN, they sat down and watched their favorite movies, like TREMORS, GREMLINS, AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON, INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS (Kaufman’s) and THE BIRDS, to study their structure and figure out when things should happen.
Edgar Wright said they didn’t want it to be a spoof; they wanted it to be funny, but for the drama to be real, and for you to really care about the characters. The biggest touchstone for the film was AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON, “it was really scary, really gory, but also really sweet-natured, and you really cared about the characters.”
Simon Pegg said Romero “should be canonized” for creating the modern zombie, which has seen such a revival lately. Wright went onto say, “DAY OF THE DEAD, the third Romero film, kind of remains the classic zombie film.” The one person’s approval they wanted to get before SHAUN OF THE DEAD’s release was Romero’s. So they had it screened for him privately at a theater in Florida. He called them later and Wright said, “He couldn’t have been sweeter about it.”
He said the first draft of the script was finished on Sept. 10, 2001. One thing after that, which factored into the film, is that on Sept. 11 he said you’d see the looks on people’s faces who knew, but you’d see other people who were still shopping or doing something else, and still didn’t know. He said ideas like that were already written into the script, but it was strange to kind of see such a global crisis come true.
You can find the Hero Complex Blog’s take on the night, with pictures, here.
Readers Talkbackcomments powered by Disqus
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May 23, 2012, 3:02 p.m. CST
I don't understand the love for his movies. They're ok. But just not that good for the most part. Simon just uses the affects of satire and lampooning to craft his stories. Nothing he does is that original.
May 23, 2012, 3:05 p.m. CST
by Axl Z
Loved Joe Cornish's work since the Adam & Joe show on Ch4 too
May 23, 2012, 3:05 p.m. CST
by Inglorious Bastard
May 23, 2012, 3:08 p.m. CST
And, since it came up in the article, 28 Days Later is not a zombie film. They weren't undead, just infected with a "rage" virus that drove them to kill anyone not infected. It was implied that it was being developed as a biological weapon.
May 23, 2012, 3:10 p.m. CST
Shaun Of The Dead is where, I feel, Wright & Co, did their best. Everything gelled almost perfectly.
I prefer it to Hot Fuzz and Scott Pilgrim.
May 23, 2012, 3:15 p.m. CST
Pretty funny so far. Went outside for a smoke between episodes 2 and 3 and here's this article. Spooky...
May 23, 2012, 3:18 p.m. CST
SHUT YOUR FUCKING FACE IF YOU DISAGREE!<p> I apologize for shouting.
May 23, 2012, 3:18 p.m. CST
Shaun was great but your a asshole. How does it feel to be yet another internet hater. Tip for a better life don't comment on things you hate, only things you love.
May 23, 2012, 3:27 p.m. CST
I just can't see anybody rushing out to see that movie. Although I think it would be crazy cool to actually know that the movie was getting made.<P>
May 23, 2012, 3:30 p.m. CST
I don't care what anybody says, I friggin' loved the creature design for that film.<P> Either it's aliens or some kinda Lovecraftian horror. <P> Actually leaning more toward the monster angle, since Paul was about an alien.<P> I hope Wright is taking notes here. In pencil. He'll want to erase them later.
May 23, 2012, 3:31 p.m. CST
Seems too convenient. I'm not a hater though. Shaun is fantastic. Hot Fuzz is ok.
May 23, 2012, 3:34 p.m. CST
They should probably make an Ant-Man movie without too much expense, maybe with some cameos from other Marvel characters so they can cross-promote the flick with other Marvel movies. If they make an Ant-Man flick, it needs to be compatible with future Avengers movies, I think, since Hank Pym, PhD/Ant-Man/Giant Man/Yellowjacket and his wife Janet/The Wasp are both core members of the Avengers from the original comics. Pym is a genius who unintentionally creates one of the Avengers greatest foes, the near indestructible, malevolent robot Ultron. Additionally, according to Marvel's Ultimates Universe, Pym was SHIELD and Nick Fury's chief scientist/genius/technologist, who basically designed the SHIELD Helicarrier on the back of an envelope overnight. Since so much Avengers lore and canon involves Pym, it is definitely a good idea to make a decent stand-alone movie for the character to establish him and his world (including Janet/The Wasp, Nick Fury/SHIELD, etc, Pym's inventions, etc). Another aspect of Pym's, to distinguish him from the other Marvel Movie geniuses like Stark and Banner, is that Pym is more of a neurotic, and has been downright mentally unbalanced in some story arcs. In any case, an Ant-man movie is not a bad idea, if done properly.
May 23, 2012, 3:35 p.m. CST
One of the best Zombie movies ever, granted. THE horror comedy to set the bar for every other. But it simply isn't best of the century. I loved Shaun, didn't really get Hot Fuzz, but I'm ready for End of the World.
May 23, 2012, 3:42 p.m. CST
I mean I believed me.<P> We'll be dead before the "best film of the century" is actually determined. <P> Shaun of the Dead is very often watched at mi casa.<P> Subjective opinions. Crazy how they work.
May 23, 2012, 3:43 p.m. CST
But goddamnit, yes, 28 Days Later is a zombie film. Danny Boyle is one of the hundreds of artists out there who genuinely believes horror to be a notch or two above porn, and to this day falls over backward using euphemisms to disassociate his horror film with anything horror-related. Let's keep in mind the fact that 'zombie' does not exclusively mean a reanimated corpse that feasts upon human flesh. In fact, that whole notion of what a zombie is was literally made up in 1968, when Romero pulled it out of thin air because he thought it sounded real scary. <br><p> The zombies in White Zombie (1932) were still alive, but does that mean, according to Danny Boyle's logic, that White Zombie isn't a zombie film since it doesn't feature cannibal corpses? Get real. <br><p> Saying 28 Days Later isn't a zombie film because the 'zombies' are merely infected with 'rage virus' (what the fuck does that even mean??), is like saying The Dark Knight isn't a superhero film because it's about a super-rich vigilante. Boyle needs to quit apologizing for his own movie. Even the screenwriter admits it is what it is.
May 23, 2012, 3:44 p.m. CST
I know I am in the minority but I actually prefer Hot Fuzz to Shaun of the Dead.
May 23, 2012, 3:48 p.m. CST
For the record, Romero was surprised when people labeled Night of the Living Dead a zombie film. To him a zombie movie was something like 'I Walked With a Zombie' or 'Plague of the Zombies.' But since zombie doesn't have a specific definition the way vampire or werewolf does, he gave up and didn't fight it, and now zombie just has one more interoperation attached to its name. Same goes for 28 Days Later. Again, when the fucking screenwriter is saying this kind of stuff, it starts to make Boyle look silly. I've also seen him talking down about that film for having been shot on XL1's. Every year he seems more and more embarrassed by what I think is one of his most interesting movies.
May 23, 2012, 4:06 p.m. CST
I loved Hott Fuzz, and Shaun of the Dead was pretty funny
May 23, 2012, 4:08 p.m. CST
I think Edgar Wright is great, but man don't waste your talent on Ant-Man seriously. Give me Dr. Strange at least as opposed to Ant-Man.
May 23, 2012, 4:24 p.m. CST
Thank you Netflix for bringing it back!!! Anyways I love Wright,Pegg and Frost so I can't wait!!!!
May 23, 2012, 5:21 p.m. CST
It is a zombie film, however I personally thought it was awful, it was just a rip off of Day of the Triffids crossed with asian zombie movies which im pretty sure invented the fast moving zombie during the 80's. As for SOTD I thought that was pretty dismal, howver I just dont like Pegg, he annoys the hell out of me, he's just one of those people who you just instantly hate. He was in fact the only bad thing about the new Star Trek and ruined MI4 for me.
May 23, 2012, 6:23 p.m. CST
Also:<P> Why?<P> When?<P> Where?<P> What?<P> Wendigo?<P> Seriously, the guy's first name makes me think of a color/sound memory game and his surname is an implement for hanging things such as coffee mugs and hats (with an extra G for GREAT).<P> Nostalgic and useful. <P> Don't hate on Simon Pegg!
May 23, 2012, 6:38 p.m. CST
I don't hate Pegg, but I understand how Pegg can grate on some people. In Star Trek and M:I 4 he seemed to be the funny bloke added into the mix to say silly things. The humor was just shoehorned into those films, rather than being an integral part of the stories, unlike the humor in the Avengers, which seemed more seamless - because the laughs came from the story/character interactions.
May 23, 2012, 6:41 p.m. CST
Edgar - if you're reading this talkback: please don't make Ant-Man a comedy. Treat it seriously or let somebody else make it.
May 23, 2012, 7:58 p.m. CST
by Mr Lucas
Pegg, Wright & co. peaked early with Spaced. As far as I'm concerned, nothing they have done since has touched it. Plus, Pegg was terrible in Trek. Really distracting. Actually, I thought Paul was OK, but Pilgrim was boring. Sean and Fuzz, were watchable, but nothing special.
May 23, 2012, 8:47 p.m. CST
Call 28 Days Later a zombie movie and see who rushes in to correct you. Part of that is Danny Boyle's fault since he wants to distance himself from the genre, but it's totally a zombie movie. Besides for the fact that they run fast, the tropes are all exactly the same.
May 23, 2012, 9:10 p.m. CST
That’s a big important thing, timing.
May 23, 2012, 10:15 p.m. CST
These guys know how to work with eachother well and should keep doing so if Simon pegg plays ant-man I'll die happy can't wait to see the worlds end
May 24, 2012, 4:11 a.m. CST
There`s more to Love and Hate(r), there`s apathy, disgust, amusement and oh a whole slew of `grey area`
May 24, 2012, 7:26 a.m. CST
Spaced is also classic and criminally not well known. Hot Fuzz never really stuck with me for some reason. I also love Frost and Pegg's "remake" of Star Wars
May 24, 2012, 7:40 a.m. CST
And turns into a pretty typical zombie film.
May 24, 2012, 12:31 p.m. CST
The "rage" virus is in the film. That's not my conjecture. It's said right there. And the argument about White Zombie is to me not relevant since the discussion is about post Romero zombie films. According to the rules laid down by George, zombies are the recently dead and cannibalistic. The infected in 28 Days Later, which by the way are always referred to as "the infected" are not dead or cannibalistic. If anything, Boyles film has more in common with Romero's The Crazies. Zombies/Not Zombies. Maybe it's a bit of tomato/tomahto, but according to the film, they are people infected with a bioengineered virus that makes you homicidal and highly infectious. To me, that's not a "zombie". Obviously some people are of the opinion that they are zombies. I do love the movie though. Zombies or not, it's one of the best post apocalyptic movies ever.
May 24, 2012, 6:36 p.m. CST
by Aaron Cale
As far as I know is the italian zombie flick Nightmare City
May 24, 2012, 6:38 p.m. CST
by Aaron Cale
Actually the origin of the zombie comes from the I Am Legend novel. They had changed the vampire monster to be an infection rather than a mystical curse. These original zompires even spoke dialogue. Romero altered that concept yet further and coined the term. So, in reality, the original zombie was much like the 28 Days Later zombie. And it is absolutely a zombie movie in its themes, atmospher, and familiar plot beats (in the end its the human military that is the real danger, etc.). I don't see how anyone could try and argue this, it's stubborn and foolish!
May 24, 2012, 6:49 p.m. CST
by Aaron Cale
I said in my post Romero coined the term zombie and that is innacurate as he never used the actual word, but what he did do in Night, while drawing heavily upon the Matheson novel, is define the zombie as a movie monster...
May 25, 2012, 7:34 a.m. CST
I AM LEGEND is a vampire novel. THE LAST MAN ON EARTH, the first film version of the book, made the vampires seem more like besieging zombies and it it this film that, I think, influenced Romero's later NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD.
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