I hope you all enjoy the interview with Simon Pegg. Without wasting anymore timeÖ.
So I am sitting here with Simon Pegg the star of the upcoming Hot Fuzz and five other miscellaneous projects.
Fifteen other movies
I heard it was eighteen actually.
I am working towards eighteen.
Okay, every time Iím looking in the trades, I am starting to see your picture. Youíve been linked to many, many famous A-list stars, even though you are married.
So what is the deal with you and Katie Holmes?
(Laughter) We were seen in a restaurant together, but her husband was thereósorry, her boyfriend was there as well. She is my sister.
Both of us laughing
Switching off the Katie thing for a second Ė seriously, you are attached to a lot of projects. What are you actually doing?
I did a bunch of films before Christmas, one of which is MI3 which has already been out, and I did another one which is called The Good Night, which is written and directed by Jake Paltrow Ė a really nice movie which I really canít wait to see. And I did a caper movie called Big Nothing, which I did with Jean-Baptiste Andrea, who directed Dead End, and it is with David Swimmer and Alice Eve, and it is a really funny little blackmail kind of comedy thriller. And, obviously, Hot Fuzz came along. And since Hot Fuzz, I am doing another movie called Run, Fat Boy, Run, which is a romantic comedy set in London andÖ God, it is a lot, isnít it? And also the movie version of How to Lose Friends and Alienate People, which is a book by journalist Toby Young about a British journalist who goes to work at Vanity Fair who gets into various scrapes, who is a bit of an idiot, but very self-proclaimed. Yeah, that is quite a lot.
I wasnít exaggerating when I said you are in a lot.
I think happened though is, since Run, Fat Boy, Run, these films have been on the cards for awhile, but then two got announced quite quickly together. And you know a film is, like, eight weeks shooting, so it is not that long before you can start doing another one. And there are some good scripts out there. And when I think why do I do what I do, itís because itís that day-to-day thing of going into work; you come on set, and the crew are there, and you do a dayís filming and itís really fun. Everything else is just a bonus. All the subsequent attention that it gets you, that is not what I am in it for. I just like the actual process, its great fun.
So you donít enjoy the paparazzi stalking you outside the hotel?
No, no, (laughter)Ö that doesnít happen to me. It seems in some respects that these days a lot of people crave that aspect of it. When I see other people around me, that can be quite stressful and not fun after awhile. And that is what I like about movies as well. It feels like you are being left alone. It is like this little hobby thing that you do. Well, at the moment, as I obviously havenít done too many big huge studio movies where it is a massive machine. But, yeah, there are a few things on the horizon.
So the projects you just mentioned, are they based in London? Or are they going to be filmed in America?
Well, Big Nothing was shot in the Isle of Man, Cardiff, Wales and Vancouver. Run, Fat Boy, Run is set in London so we are going to shoot it in North London, close to where I live.
Let me ask, is that project similar to Devil Wears Prada, like on a male side?
No, it is kind of a really nice romantic comedy written by Michael Ian Black.
Whom we all know from Ed.
And Stella. It is about a guy who is basically a bit of a slob and one of lifeís underachievers who leaves his girlfriend at the altar and then realizes, sometime later, that in order to attempt to get her back and win back her respect he must do something phenomenal, which he attempts to do. That was originally an idea that was written to be set in New York and it changed to London.
Who plays the girlfriend?
I donít know yet. There are some people on the cards, and I could probably say who it is, and that would be the person who plays it, but I wouldnít want to in case it doesnít happen. It is looking that it is going to be a nice, interesting cast.
Who is directing it?
My second, actually my third time I am working with him. I did Band of Brothers with him back in 2001. Then we did Big Nothing, which was enormous fun. And I think it was a really good movie for him to do because it is pretty far from Ross, which is obviously a huge part of his life and will be a character that stays with him for a long time. But it is a very different character. He is a very cool guy, David. He did those episodes of Curb Your Enthusiasm. He makes really good choices. He is a very smart guy.
Is he starring in it as well?
In Run, Fat Boy, Run? No he is not. He is only behind the camera. And I am looking forward to working with him as a director. I think his work that he has done on television has always been highly praised, in terms of his direction, and people donít really think of him as being a director, so that should be fun.
You just mentioned that you worked on the last project and now you are working on this new one. Did you guys talk about working on this together back then?
We had a meeting about Run, Fat Boy, Run like maybe two years ago before Big Nothing ever came up. He came to London and we talked, I read the script and liked it, and this was before we were even half way through writing Hot Fuzz. And it just so happens coincidently that we are going to be doing two projects together in the space of twelve months.
So letís talk about something called Hot Fuzz.
But before we get to that, you did not attend Comic-Con, and the rumor was you were on holiday with the wife.
So you are sticking with this story.
Itís absolutely true. I was in the Mediterranean with my wife and it was actually our first anniversary on the 23rd, which I think was the day that the panel was.
Because I read in People Magazine, or was it US Weekly, that you and Nick had a big, big fight, and Edgar, and you were refusing to be on the stage with them.
I didnít want to go anywhere with those two losers. Quite frankly, I am sick of the sight of them both. And I also just canít bear to go to ComicCon again. I mean it is not fun at all. You know, hanging around for three days with all those toys and comics. It was a little bit of a sore point for me, you know, because I love Comic-Con and also to be able to show that footage to a bunch of people who are really going to appreciate it, is something you really donít want to miss it. But I had been working so hard on Hot Fuzz for three months, I had virtually been sprinting for three months, running, fighting, being a super cop, and I needed a holiday. Also, we booked that holiday and nothing was going to stop us going. And Edgar and Nick, I knew they knew what they were doing and that I could leave them to go play and do us proud. That is why I didnít go.
And you also taped that video intro, which, as of now, has still not made it online.
I wanted Edgar to put it actually in the Comic-Con blog, because it wasnít, the blogs have been really fun because they have literally been documents of the making of the film, and I think if we popped that intro in that would have felt like something different. It might go up somewhere.
Letís actually talk about the writing process of Hot Fuzz. This is something that I was thinking about earlier, which is you guys did Shaun of the Dead, it comes out, critics love it, itís very respected, everyone likes the movie. Then you guys gets together to do a new script. How is the writing process different this time? Did you feel the pressure? Was it harder?
Yeah we did feel the pressure enormously. You know, Shaun came out and there was a period of time when we were publicizing here in the states. We werenít able to write for quite a long time, as we were sort of faced with this unprecedented amount of publicity we had to do for Shaun of the Dead. So when we finally got around to writing it, not only had we not written for a long time, but we had also experienced this great response to our first movie, so we had this added pressure to top it, or be at least as good as it. So it was really hard. We watched a lot of films in the particular genre we were going to tackle, lots of cop films. We went away to a little retreat to watch movies and hang out and have ideas. It took me a long time to really feel like it was really something I wanted to do. It was Edgarís baby at first. Edgar wanted to do an action film. I think he made the right decision because we wanted to do something that was quite spectacular. I wasnít sure what I wanted to do, and Edgarís idea was the strongest one and it was like, ďOkay, letís follow this.Ē And Edgar took the lead, and he was brilliant at organizing all the research. For a little while I was tagging along behind thinking I donít know if this is me, or what, but then as we started doing research and hanging out with the cops and out on patrol with them and met loads of police in London, load of police in rural area of Britain.
Did they let you carry a stick?
Yeah (lots of laughter). Then I started to think this is going to be great, this is a really good idea. So then we were in the office and we started hashing it out and it was still difficult. The plot is very complex. It is kind of like Agatha Christie meets Lethal Weapon. We had to work it out meticulously. Sometimes we would be scratching our heads and crying, but when we finally wrote it, when we finally got down to putting the words on the paper, it did kind of write itself.
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