The World’s End is a new British comedy with science-fiction overtones from British director Edgar Wright. In Australia as part of a global promotional tour, I sat down with him to discuss beer, his Grindhouse trailer ‘Don’t and his enthusiasm of filming Marvel’s Antman on American soil.
Shane A. Bassett – Firstly, I have to ask, any chance of a Scott Pilgrim sequel?
Edgar Wright – No, I never have any aspirations to do sequels to anything I’ve done. All of Scott Pilgrim was covered from the graphic novels so that’s it, even though the cast were a blast to work with.
SAB – Is the pub crawl in The Worlds End based on an actual event?
EW- Possibly the first three minutes of the film, its somewhat similar to a pub craw I had when I was 19 when I tried to drink a pint of beer in every pub in my hometown but made it less than half the way. It was my idea as well, so when I flaked out, it came to a grinding halt. It’s not like my friends carried on without me. It simply stopped.
SAB – Responsible consumption of alcohol is out the window in your film, is that correct?
E.W – We don’t entirely glorify it. We show some of the negative aspects too. We show the lead character is obsessed beyond the point to hang out with his friends and drink.
SAB – What beer do you drink the most yourself?
EW – I used to drink more younger as I’m more a spirits or wine drinker now. I would probably go for a more boutique Belgian beer.
SAB – Not sure whether you were taking the piss (pardon the pun) of Australians by having Kylie Minogue on the soundtrack and a bit of Fosters being drunk in the film?
EW – As you are well aware, Fosters is inescapable in every British pub – it’s everywhere. But credit to Fosters because they were one of the few companies to say yes to us using their tap logo. They allowed us to use the brand within the movie because other beer conglomerates refused to admit people actually get drunk so they said no. One brand in particular said we feel uncomfortable with the amount of drinking in the film. I responded with you can’t tell me that’s not what happens to get drunk (laughing)
SAB – Who was that, can you tell me?
EW – Thanks Budweiser, there’s an exclusive.
SAB – How much actual beer was drunk during the filming?
EW – Zero, people ask that a lot. It’s like about Shaun of the Dead everyone asks are you stoned? It’s like this. You can’t drink real beer and make a movie, successfully, unless you want to be asleep by midday.
SAB – Hmmm, I know. (Edgar laughs at my joke enthusiastically).
EW – Actors have to do more than one take too, the liquid was this concoction of lemonade and cream soda. Simon (Pegg) drinks a pint in one in many scenes, he has a diamond core to get through that and a strong bladder.
SAB – Is Newton Haven (the town where the film takes place) real and are there 12 pubs within it?
EW – It is not a real town, it’s an amalgamation of two towns originally built by the quakers or miners and only has eight real pubs of the 12, the rest are set designs. One was a Thai restaurant we made into a pub, one is a cinema we made into a pub (the Mermaid where Kylie Minogue is playing), one was a pet shop, the final one was a train station.
SAB – When you and Simon (Pegg) write, is it together or separate collaborations?
EW – Together in an office, one types the other one paces then we swap. We don’t compare notes, it’s all together at all times.
SAB – Is Gary King (Pegg’s obnoxious character) fictional?
EW – Everybody has that kind of person in their past (laughing) – the person who was the coolest kid at school who peaked at 18 then went downhill. I would say many have had friends kind of similar. That said, we have sympathy for him. The movie is about redemption and a little angst. He goes from being the walking car crash of a man to the ultimate human.
SAB – Without giving the sinister twist away, I instantly thought Village of the Damned, Stepford Wives. Inspirations were they?
EW – Yes all those British films especially Quatermass and The Prisoner.
SAB – Rosamund Pike, one of the few females in the cast, is adorable. She says “Oh Crumbs” all the way through it. Was that to counteract the boys foul language?
EW – Good question, it’s a true story. Her character is based on a girl I went out with literally 21 years ago. When Rosamund asked me if I was still friends with her and I was but only on facebook. So I emailed this girl and said: Hey, I’m doing a movie and Rosamund Pike wants to meet you. I lied and didn’t say she was playing her, I said she is playing someone in a responsible job and you’re in a responsible job as a compliance officer. So they met, went out to dinner, I have no idea what they actually talked about on their girls night. One of the things Rosamund said was she frequently says “Oh Crumbs” (from the old cartoon Dangermouse)
SAB – Were any of her scenes on the cutting room floor, it’s a fleeting role.
EW – No, that was a design without giving too much away but she was not part of the boys night out in the movie. Joins them, gets insulted, leaves but comes back unexpectedly. Deep down, Simon’s character wants the boys to keep drinking but also misses that female presence. It’s plot related sparking a big argument.
SAB – How have your stars (Nick Frost & Simon Pegg) changed over all the years of working together?
EW – I don’t think they have changed as people, remaining as nice and down to earth as ever. If anything, they have gotten better as actors especially Nick in this film, his best performance in my eyes. Simon has less body fat after appearing on screen with Tom Cruise (Mission Impossible 3 & 4) inspired him to get ridiculously gym fit, Simon is suddenly ripped. His hair is longer too, he wanted to wear a wig but I insisted he had to dye it.
SAB – The cinematography is hectic at times.
EW – Well it’s less hectic than Scott Pilgrim, many of the shots are longer. Pilgrim has many cuts and flashes, this is designed to be continuous. I had an Australian stunt coordinator Brad Allen who also worked on Pilgrim. I used to take my Action Man action figures heads off when playing with them and I also got ink all over my hands after a day of writing or drawing at school. It was a way of making the actors in those particular roles look like little kids basically.
SAB – Will we ever see a feature version of ‘Don’t’ (one of the fake trailers in the Grindhouse double feature)?
EW – I don’t think so, we saw the best version of it already in 90 seconds. A longer version would lose the point. I would rather do a serious horror film to be honest. A 90 minute version of Don’t would not be better than my Grindhouse effort.
SAB – Are you looking forward to filming in the US for the first time with Antman? What can you reveal about that Marvel film?
EW – Not many films shoot in Hollywood, I’ve never filmed anything on American soil so I’m really looking forward to it. Can’t talk about Antman just yet, sorry Shane. Thanks mate!
Shane A. BassettSydney Unleashed is one of Australia’s premier entertainment publications exploring the latest in lifestyle trends. From Sydney’s finest restaurants, cafes and bars to the hottest in gadgets, products, and home entertainment, Sydney Unleashed is your one-stop lifestyle platform.