Frosty Interviews Simon Pegg

     September 7, 2006

About a week or two ago I got to sit down with Simon Pegg, whom most of you know as Shaun from the film Shaun of the Dead. Not only did he co-write the film with Director Edgar Wright, but he starred in it as well. Since then many of us have been waiting for Hot Fuzz, their follow up to their commercial and critical hit. With a release date of next March, fandom can look forward to the further adventures of our favorite British trio, the additional member of course being Nick Frost, who played Simon’s sidekick Ed in Shaun.

However if you have been reading the trades, or are a fan of Mr. Pegg, you would know that he is attached to a variety of other projects like Big Nothing, Run, Fat Boy, Run, and How to Lose Friends and Alienate People. When I sat down with him I wanted to get to the bottom of what exactly he is working on, and also try to get some info on Hot Fuzz, since he was absent at Comic-Con this year.

Over the course of our extended conversation we talk about everything. From what he is currently working on, to how he came to star in a David Schwimmer directed movie. We also cover how Edgar and Simon go about writing, how much pressure they felt while making the follow up, what it is like being a toy, and since we are both old school Star Wars geeks, we had to talk about the new DVDs. If you are just interested in hearing us talk Star Wars and Superman Returns, that part of the conversation is at the end of the interview.

The best part of all this is that you can either read a transcript of our conversation or listen to it, the choice is up to you. However I strongly recommend listening to the audio as there is a lot of laughter and it just works so much better than reading (both of us laughing).

To listen to the interview click here. If you wish to download it for listening on your iPod or MP3 player, just right click the link and save it to your computer.

Finally, I took a bunch of photos of Simon at the Arclight here in Los Angeles and at a restaurant across the street. All of the photos are throughout the interview mixed in with other random images. But easily the highlight of the day was while walking into the Arclight I saw someone wearing a Shaun of the Dead t-shirt. When I asked him if he wouldn’t mind posing for a picture at first he was not interested, then he saw Simon and you would not believe how happy he got. But why trust my words, here is the picture.

I hope you all enjoy the interview with Simon Pegg. Without wasting anymore time….

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 I’m looking in the trades, I am starting to see your picture. You’ve 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 there—sorry, her boyfriend was there as well. She is my sister.

Both of us laughing

Switching off the Katie thing for a second – 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 – a really nice movie which I really can’t 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 and… God, it is a lot, isn’t 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 wasn’t 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, it’s because it’s that day-to-day thing of going into work you come on set, and the crew are there, and you do a day’s filming and it’s 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 don’t enjoy the paparazzi stalking you outside the hotel?

No, no, (laughter)… that doesn’t 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 haven’t 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 life’s 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 don’t 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 wouldn’t want to in case it doesn’t happen. It is looking that it is going to be a nice, interesting cast.

Who is directing it?

David Schwimmer.

Mr. Friends.

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 don’t 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 let’s 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.

I was.

So you are sticking with this story.

It’s 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 didn’t want to go anywhere with those two losers. Quite frankly, I am sick of the sight of them both. And I also just can’t 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 don’t 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 didn’t 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 wasn’t, 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.

Let’s 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, it’s 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 weren’t 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 Edgar’s 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 wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, and Edgar’s idea was the strongest one and it was like, “Okay, let’s follow this.” 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 don’t 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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What is your writing process? Do you go to work at nine in the morning and stop at five? Do you always write with Edgar? How is the dynamic between you guys?

First of all we kill a horse, every time. (me laughing) Just slaughter a horse.

Every week, or every day?

Just at the beginning of the project. Not everyday. That would be wasteful.

I just had to ask.

We stab a stallion in the chest with a pike and then we begin. Edgar is a great disciplinarian. We get into work around ten in the morning, because you need to avoid rush hour, and we will stay and write until around five or six o’clock and then call it a day. We work completely collaboratively, we sit opposite each other, and we have a desk that faces each other. There was a DVD extra on Shaun of the Dead where we go through a big flip chart of ideas that we had for the film. We did that again for Hot Fuzz. We haven’t filmed it. Actually, we should do that for the DVD. We put all of our ideas down and then we stick it on index cards, and then we start moving them around so we can get the order of events in the film. Then you get to the point where you write it. The first draft of Hot Fuzz was 235 pages long. It was long.

Any thought of making a four hour movie?

No. I don’t know what it is at this moment, where there seems to be this tendency. Everyone’s being allowed to make these movies that are longer than two hours, and I don’t necessarily think it is a good thing.

Lots of audience members will say that it isn’t.

I don’t know what it is. You would think that, in the age of DVD, directors would settle for putting a few scenes in the deleted file. It is not always great to be in the cinema for longer than two hours. We want Hot Fuzz to be about two hours long. We want it to be a hearty meal, but not a hearty meal and some dessert that you don’t really want.

Here is my question for you about rewrites. You guys go to the set and do you rewrite there or do you pretty much stick to the script?

We are pretty much done so as soon as we hit set the script is etched in stone. Pretty much. No, that’s wrong, it does change. Things will come up in the day that you suddenly think, hang on, we’ll lose that line or we’ll think of a really great joke and that will go straight in. Pretty much though, by and large, when we come to the set the script is how it is going to be. It is not loose on set at all. There is some room for improvising in terms of performance style and how the lines are delivered, but a lot of the times it is important that things are said because they have ramifications later on.

And how was it with Nick this time as opposed to Shaun?

He’s changed so much since Shaun. He used to be such a nice guy, and now he is this moody monster. He locks himself in his trailer. He hit me.

He acted a little strange at Comic-Con. Actually, he was a lot more pretentious.

Did he wear his sunglasses all the time at Comic-Con?

He did. I thought he might have a drug problem.

Yeah, he has a terrible, terrible drug problem. Aspirins. Can’t get enough of them. He likes the chalky taste. No. Nick never fails to amaze me how he grows as an actor and, as a professional person, he takes it all in stride. He does an accent in Hot Fuzz because he is playing someone from the west of England and there is a different accent there. So he was really doing a character part, where Ed was very laconic and a man of few words. Danny, Nick’s character in Hot Fuzz, is far more like a little puppy whose tail is constantly wagging and he is brilliant in the film.

How long did it take you to write Hot Fuzz as opposed to Shaun?

Shaun happened over a longer period of time because we were kicking the idea around awhile as we were doing Spaced. Hot Fuzz probably took eighteen months.

We spoke a while ago, actually, and you mentioned to me that you had turned down a lot of projects to work on Hot Fuzz and to get the script right. Are you at that point now that you want to keep on writing, or are you looking forward to just performing, being an actor?

It’s funny, at that point when we spoke the last time I was feeling like that because we had been writing for a long time. I love writing and I feel privileged that I can write stuff and be in it. As an actor you are very lucky if that is the case as you have a little bit of control over what you do. But when it came to the end of the writing, getting the script into a state in which it could be filmed, that is when I went away and I did MI3, Big Nothing, The Good Night and then Hot Fuzz. So I have had four acting jobs since I said that, and now I feel like I could write a film again and I am going to. After the next film I do, I am going to write a film with Nick, and I will tell you about that in the future. The feeling that I haven’t acted in awhile has now been quieted down. I had felt really trapped. I had been in an office, and I wasn’t doing what I really love doing, which is acting.

That definitely came across when I spoke to you last time.

Now I feel okay. And also you worry that it is not long before suddenly you’ve got five films coming out, and you are thinking that people will start to think “Oh great, him again. I don’t want to go see that.” I have realized how delicate the whole industry is. You’ve got to be careful not to be too ubiquitous. Then again, you still have to work as you need to pay the bills.

There is also the Ben Stiller thing, where he has been in so many movies in that short period of time that there was talk that he was almost too exposed. Let’s be honest, you haven’t reached that point of over exposure. None of the films have come out yet.

That’s true. I think the thing with Ben Stiller is a lot of the stuff he has done has been extremely enjoyable and it has fuelled, there is no danger that people don’t want to see his new film about the Museum, it is going to be huge. No matter how many films he has been in, people are still going to go and want to see it. I think there is a way of doing it but it is a delicate business, you’re lucky if you can negotiate that.

Talking about toys for a moment, in the background of where we are talking I see a Shaun of the Dead toy. As someone who has been very passionate about Star Wars, what is it like having an action figure?

It’s awesome (laughter). I got that yesterday. I just needed to see it because it is on sale here in the states at the moment, it is not quite in the U.K. yet, and I know we are getting sent over a big consignment of them so we can give them to our friends and family. But I was really keen to see it. This is a huge moment in my life to be an action figure. I had boxes of Star Wars figures that I would play with daily, and the idea of actually becoming one is extraordinary. NECA has done a fantastic job, compared to those old little Palitoy Kenner things that we used to play with as kids this is like a work of art.

And you were telling me that there is a twelve inch version coming that speaks.

I do have a twelve inch (both of us laughing) it is coming out right now. (tons of laughter) Yeah, there is a twelve inch talking Shaun, and it will be on sale in the Hustler store very soon.

Is there an Ed coming?

Yeah, there was a prototype down at Comic-Con and they were thinking about having an interchangeable head so you could have him as a zombie or as normal Ed. What I think they are going to do now is have a proper zombie Ed coming out later on and start out with normal Ed right now. Because I know there is going to be a Shaun in battle gear, in Hoth, in Bespin gear with the tie around my head and stuff. Yeah, it is great. I am so thrilled about that, and it is not lost on me the joy about it.

And Hot Fuzz figures?

They would be great. Throughout the film there are obviously different police uniforms that I have to wear, and you could have one of me in my little tighty whiteys. And you could dress me up in different outfits.

Did you think about the whole Star Wars thing, how there are different outfits and did you actually say I need a new costume for the new figure? Did that ever go through your mind?

You know, when I had my costume fitting I tried on every single costume. Even if you see me very quickly in a montage or something wearing different kinds of outfits, when I tried everything on and I had all the pictures of me in the different outfits, I just thought that is an action figure waiting to happen. There is like cycling cop, and there is riot Angel (his character name in Hot Fuzz) and cycle Angel and all these different Angels, its great.

Let’s talk about Spaced for a split second. It aired here in the states on BBC America. I heard you talking tonight about how it is different than the British version.

It is a little different, as it had to be squeezed into the time slot and they removed some of the language. You know, I am so happy that it is on over here, and I am very grateful to BBC America for carrying it, but it is a little frustrating at times when they will just whip out an entire plot thread just so the commercials can be played, and, thus, remove some nuance from the show. The best way to watch Spaced is on DVD.

Is there going to be an American release?

This has been on the cards for such a long time and it was really close recently. The whole problem with it was the music in the show not cleared for North America. Most people know that. We got it down to six tracks that we have to change for it to work in North America, and I think (Simon’s phone starts to ring)… and, yes, my ring tone is the music from Rushmore.

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After a short break while Simon was on the phone….

And we’re back. And you’re ring tone is what?

Its music called “Sharp Little Man”. It’s Mark Mothersbaugh from Devo, from the soundtrack to Rushmore.

How is it over in London when it comes to getting downloading ring tones onto your phone? Do you pay?

Oh yeah, it is a massive racket over there. I blue-tooth it over from my computer to my phone. It is from the soundtrack, I just sent it over.

It is crazy over here. It’s like two fifty or three, four dollars for a little track.

I know. They have to figure it into the charts now because it is such a big business. I like to just… go to my iTunes and then make it go in order of songs, the duration of songs, and if you find a track that is like twenty seconds long you can have it as a ring tone in its entirety.

Yeah over here only certain phones do that.

Oh really.


You guys are so behind the times.

It is actually ridiculous. But then again I have to make fun of England for a second.

Please do.

The last time I was there I had a pre-paid phone, yeah everyone who is listening right now, this is great, great stuff.

Yeah (laughing)

I had a phone and it was one of those pre-paid ones from Virgin or Orange. It was cheaper to call the States than it was to call someone off my network. It was 15p to call the states but it was 30p to call someone on another network.

I know it is ridiculous.

It was double the price to call someone in England.

Its absurd isn’t it.

That’s kind of crazy. So you can make fun of us.

I would never make fun of you.

I will make fun of America. Well, let’s jump back to Hot Fuzz. You guys chose to do on location filming in a rainy country. So I am sure there were no problems at all.

None at all. If it had been a film about being rained on it would be very easy to make. No, it wasn’t too bad. It was a lot less studio based than Shaun of the Dead. It was pretty much eighty percent location with the exception of the police station and a few other bits and bobs. When we got down to Somerset in the west country… we were on location in London for five weeks, the weather had been on and off, and we thought for some reason when we go west it will be amazing it’ll be all sunny and it will be like a party for six weeks. It rained so much that there were a couple of days where we were completely rained off. And we were really up against it with the filming so it was worrying, but we got it in the end so it was fine.

How many days over did you go?

Not many. We made up time. You know, you just double your efforts, as that guy said at the beginning of Return of the Jedi (both of us laughing). You have to do it. You’ve got no choice.

And how is Edgar different with this film? Was he the same guy, did he feel the pressure?

Oh yeah. Edgar always feels the pressure because Edgar lives every second and every facet of the movie. You know it becomes him, and he becomes it, and it is part of why he is so brilliant because he cares so much and he is so dedicated. That when the slightest thing maybe not goes wrong but when it looks like we might not finish something on time or adversity arises, he really feels it. I personally think he was a lot brighter on Hot Fuzz than he was on Shaun of the Dead. Shaun was particularly grueling. We had less resources, and I think Edgar sometimes found it difficult to communicate his visions and stuff. With Hot Fuzz he had this really great relationship with his DP Jess Hall, who was really good. It felt like the communication was flowing a lot more with everybody, and it felt a lot more fun. He would probably tell you different because he was facing bigger problems on a bigger budget and all that, but I personally enjoyed shooting Hot Fuzz more than Shaun of the Dead even though I did have a great time on Shaun.

And you were saying it was non-stop running.

Yeah, I had to run a lot. I’ve modeled my run on a cross between Robert Patrick from Terminator 2 and Tom Cruise. That kind of very serious I-have-to-get-there running, where your hands are very straight and your brow is very furrowed.

And which films did you study? You studied T2.

Well T2 is locked in my memory. For the film we looked at every cop film ever, everything from Freeby and the Bean to Lethal Weapon 4.

Are you the type of person, do you guys write while you are watching, or do you just watch and try to remember?

We will sit with notebooks and take down any little juicy bits of dialogue that we think is funny. In the film, we name check certain films that became set texts for the movie. Nick’s character Danny wishes he was like a cop in one of those films and he loves certain films like Bad Boys 2 and Point Break.

Tango and Cash?

We did watch Tango and Cash. There is a great bit in it when Jack Palance has these two rats and he says “this is Tango and Cash”, and he puts one in a maze. It is this really bizarre way of explaining something which he does with rats and it is hilariously funny.

So nothing from Tango?


You know I am a little disappointed. You know Teri Hatcher, early role.

Yeah that’s right. We were going to call the pub “The Tango and Cash” but we thought that was too on the nose.

You didn’t mention Winchester, name check that?

No, but there are a couple of little nods to Shaun of the Dead in the film. A very evident one as well. But we didn’t want it to be too self-reflexive. It is just there for people who notice it.

What did you actually find was the toughest thing about being on location, besides weather? Was there one thing?

Well weather was our main adversary in terms of stopping us. We filmed a lot of stuff in Wells and Somerset, which is Edgar’s home town and where he grew up and we were accommodated so brilliantly by the locals. And we caused a lot of disruptions as any film crew does and everyone was so patient. But sometimes we would have a lot of people watching. You walk through your home town and suddenly there is this big movie crew. What are you going to do, walk by? No, you want to stand and you want to watch. It’s interesting. Sometimes that was difficult if you were doing a scene and just off camera there are a hundred people all watching you. Sometimes that was difficult, but that was something that you had to accept and deal with. You hear of actors throwing tantrums, saying “Don’t look at me!” and stuff like that. You can’t do that. You’ve got to just bite the bullet. Sometimes we would set little things up like barriers just to encourage people to watch from another angle or something, but generally speaking you just have to put up with it. So that was sometimes difficult.

Were you treated a lot differently based on the success of Shaun, because I know that was a popular film over there?

Yeah, absolutely. There was this real buzz that we were in town. But I think that had more to do with Edgar, as he is the favorite son of that city. This was kind of his homecoming. He was making a film on the same turf that he made all of his amateur movies when he was a kid, so there was that buzz. But also Timothy Dalton was walking around town, Billy Whitelaw, Edward Woodward, Jim Broadbent… there were some real stars on this film, and it was humbling to be around them.

How was it working with Timothy Dalton, a former Bond?

Great. Honestly, we have been so lucky, touch wood – I am touching wood no, that is marble – that the casts we have worked with so far have been great. These guys have been in the business for a long time, and they were all fantastic and gave great performances. We also had people that for fanboys like myself, working with Paul Freeman who played Belloq in Raiders, or Stuart Wilson who has been great bad guys in No Escape, Zorro, Lethal Weapon 3 to name but three. Working with people like that was enormous fun and they are all really good. You know, they came and did effectively cameos in a way. They are part of an ensemble. The people who live in the village. And we wanted it to be so that you watch the film and you think that is the guy from, he is the bad guy from Zorro and he is the local doctor. We wanted the town to be populated by English actors that had been in American films.

So when you were writing this was all stuff that you had?

Yeah, we always wanted to have the older cast members be people like that, actors that we knew that had been in big movies. It wasn’t like just for the hell of it, part of it in a way, this place where Nicholas Angel, which is my character where he goes to work is populated by the crème of British acting. So that was something that we always wanted to do. We also have Paddy Considine in it, who is a great actor. They call him the Midlands De Niro at home because he is from Nottingham, which is around the center, and he this incredible actor. He hasn’t done much comedy really. His first film is called A Room For Romeo Brass, which is a great Shane Meadows film which I thoroughly recommend that everybody check out, and he gives an incredible turn in that film as this very funny character who actually ends up being quite sinister. But in films like Dead Man’s Shoes or Cinderella Man he is a very good serious actor, but he is very funny in Hot Fuzz and he demonstrated a real knack for comedy. He is partnered in the film with Rafe Spall who was in Shaun of the Dead. He played Noel the shop boy who abuses me. Who is now, in Shaun of the Dead he was maybe seventeen years old and had maybe a bit of puppy fat. He is now super lean, really good looking young man, and he will be popular with the ladies. And the men.

Let’s jump into another subject that we have talked about every time we have gotten together.


It would be some movie from the 70’s and 80’s, I don’t know what they are called.

Yeah those ones.

Something about other planets.

Some war somewhere. That is what it should have been called: Some War, Somewhere.

Yeah, exactly. They are calling the new Transformers film Michael Bay’s Giant Fucking Robots.

(Simon laughing)

That is the term for Transformers.

That is good, that is the Snakes on a Plane approach.

So talking about Star Wars for just a second, you are kind of somebody who a lot of fans identify with regarding Star Wars because you have spoken about it a lot and it was involved with Spaced. You are a fan.


So how do you think things have gone with fandom with these new DVDs that are coming out in a few weeks, they are not being well received. It seems to be that the times are changing.

It all comes down to a number of things. If he had planned that all along, if he is that Machiavellian, George Lucas, that he always meant to release them and make a few more bucks, than that is really bad and we should all feel ripped off. If, however, as we have all moaned about it for a long time that we wanted to see the film without all of those arguably needless additions, then all he is doing is satisfying what the fans are asking for, and when you look at it that way, he is being quite altruistic. Because he has always said that you weren’t meant to see the film like it was released in the 70’s, the film that we have now is supposedly the finished film, and it is a shame because the film we have now is not as good as the one that was released in the 70’s, at least I don’t think. But people have been going on and on about wanting to see those originals and the whole thing about the Greedo issue, or the original band in Return of the Jedi and that sort of stuff, people have been wanting to see it, so he said, “Yes.” I don’t believe he is that much of an evil emperor that he would have thought, “Okay, what we will do is we will make Greedo shoot first, that will really piss everybody off, trust me, that is going to get people really pissed off and then after about five or ten years we will re-release it and make more millions of dollars.” He just caved in.

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Do you miss having that ability with Spaced to be able to talk about fandom stuff like Star Wars or that kind of thing?

I think people are sick of me talking about Star Wars. I think Spaced was good because I could kind of sublimate my own feelings about it through Tim. And at that time, that was the time when the new ones had come out and there was a lot to be said, I think that everything that needed to be said has been said. We all gave it every chance, and I know you did as well, but I don’t know if you still feel like this, I first saw Revenge of the Sith and I really loved it, but on subsequent viewings it doesn’t hold up and eventually you realize it is just the same as the others with the exception of just a few great moments. And I still think, I maintain that if he had made C3PO say “did you hear that” after Captain Antilles says “wipe this droids memory” if what 3PO said was “did you hear that” than the last thing he said in episode three would be the first thing he said in episode four and that would be a lovely little bit of circularity to bring them all together cause that is his opening line from the first film as well, and that is just simple script writing.

There is a lot of simple script writing that is sorely needed (Both of us laughing) in episode three. That is one of the reasons why, and I don’t mean to keep on talking about it, that is one of the reasons why we all go bonkers because there are simple things that are missing that you and I…. do you think that he is just surrounded by yes men… let’s stop on the Star Wars thing because we could go.

Let’s talk about that down in the bar in a minute.

Exactly. Here is a different question though, if you were offered a part on the Star Wars TV show that they are doing, would you do it if it was a real time commitment?

That is really hard. It depends, I don’t know. I would have to say…. Of course I would probably do it. I don’t know, I think if I was offered a part in one of the movies after having seen Phantom Menace I probably wouldn’t have done it because I had been so vocal about my misgivings about it, it would have been extremely hypocritical and it probably would be still to be in a TV show. I don’t know, it might be really good, it might be awful, I don’t know. It is a really hard question I can’t answer that.

Is this one of those things that you would demand to see the script or to know who the show runner is?

I don’t know.

It is interesting though.

I think I would be quite terrified if that actually came up, would you like to play the part of whoever. I wouldn’t go in and be a stormtrooper now, you know what I mean. There was a time that I would have done anything just to have been part of it like when me and Edgar went to be in Land of the Dead, we were very happy to shoot for forty-five minutes and be in full makeup and be zombie’s that you will blink and miss even if you know us, because it was wonderful to be part of a George Romeo film as he was the reason we wrote Shaun of the Dead and we are huge fans of his work, and that time for me and Star Wars is past.

Same with me. What do you think about Romeo, he just got signed on to do this new project, low budget, did you hear about this?

I have the script.

You have the new one?

Yeah I am going to read it.

There you go. Apparently he is doing this all on his own with his producing partner.

I know a little of it but I don’t know how much I can say, so I had better say nothing. Anything from George is going to be interesting and I hope that he is allowed to, George is at his best when he is allowed to do what he wants, the more people that interfere with him the more they hold him back and the more it dilutes his work. He is really good when he is left to his own devices so I hope that happens with this.

Last question.


Favorite movie you have seen recently?

Hmmm. Let me think, I haven’t been to the theater much to be honest. (long pause) use all of this (both of us laughing) keep all of this in. (Simon scratches his head loudly).

While you are thinking about this, is it weird being in America and getting recognized for Shaun, because I am sure in England, we talked over there and I could see people recognizing you from Shaun or Spaced or whatever it may be.


But over here

It is nice over here because it shows that people give a damn. Obviously, here in L.A. people see movie people all the time so it is no big deal and people come up and are very nice. Some guy cam up to me on the street and really surprised me today, he just as I walked past he said (Simon screams) “HEY!” And I kind of jumped but that was really nice. Yeah it is a surprise and it is very sweet and it never fails to amaze me. In terms of the film, I am just trying to think, I’ll tell you what, I really enjoyed Superman Returns up until a point. I thought what was missing from Superman was, what would have made it for me really brilliant was if it would have had an upbeat ending. If it ended like the original Superman films did with a big old, it felt a little unsatisfactory, it felt like The Empire Strikes Back rather than a Star Wars, you know what I mean?

You know we are opening the door again on geekdom. You know I think that one of the things, one of the reasons that it didn’t play for me and why I don’t think it played very well for America or in general is that Superman is a stalker, it is Superman being moody like Batman, and he is not super. You know what I mean?

But when he was being super, when he stopped that plane crash.

All that stuff, it was insane.

I was jumping out of my seat with excitement, this was what I always wanted to see Superman doing. And yeah it was very dark, it was to the point that his suit was a little bit darker than it should be. That bit when everyone kicked the shit out of him, how horrible and violent, I wanted him to come back and him to get the guys that beat him up, not for a big rock to fall on them, I wanted to see Superman kick those guys asses and pay for what they did to him.

You want to see Superman being super.

Yeah, absolutely.

That’s the thing.

One of the most satisfying moments in all of Superman movie history is a moment when he is not even dressed up as Superman, which is in Superman II, when he goes back to the diner and he beats that guy up, and he goes “this ones to go” and he pushes him along the bar. That is Superman being super, and he is not even got the cape on then, you know.

What is amazing for me is watching this new one, which has moments of absolute brilliance.

Yeah, absolutely.

You’re sitting there and you are like, oh my god you get it, and then there are so many moments where you are like why did you make these decisions? What was the thought process?

Yeah like what was the whole thing about having the super son? Surely don’t do that in the first film that’s quite….

There’s a lot, as much as I love that they love the original and Superman II, but they played it so hard that they just thought that everyone was going to see these movies and walk into the theater, but there is a whole new generation.

Yeah it was very similar to, in terms of its structure and the beats that it hit, it was very similar to the first Superman movie what with Lex Luthor having a kind of property scheme, him having a female counterpart who starts to feel a little bit guilty about things.

But don’t you think it was just too much repetition and the fact that Luthor is just omnipresent in these films, I think that was one of the reasons why for me it was stale, I didn’t want to see Luthor, I wanted to see a super villain. But this film makes you realize how fucking amazing the first two movies are, and for the time that they were made.


They are brilliant. And you know this Christmas we are getting that box set, or the Richard Donner cut, whatever it may be I am beyond excited.

Yeah but I think for those moments in that film, and I like Bryan Singer, I think that Bryan is a fan and he definitely cares about the material whether people agree with his decisions or not, but the moments when he was being super, when he brought that plane down, and the brilliance of it landing in a baseball field, and him stepping out and the crowd going crazy, that was worth the admission fee, that scene, that sequence was worth it, and I think it supported me through the whole film so even towards the end when it started to get a bit dower and less interesting, the buzz off those moments was…

That moment was, I was losing my mind in the theater, that was what I was waiting the entire time to see.

I thought the one thing they should have done is, when he was at the bar with Jimmy Olsen and they see the thing on the news about the plane, and he turns around and Clark’s gone from the store, they should have started the John Williams music then, you should have heard the (Simon does an impression of the score) just like the Jaws theme when it starts very slowly, and that would have made my hair stand on end.

Ultimately though, for me, there were choices made that did not need to be made, and I wonder what the process was for getting to where… I think there were some bad choices made, but when it works it’s phenomenal.

Let’s go talk about this in the bar, people are not going to want to listen to our geeky ramblings, they want us to go get drunk.

What is funny is they will probably be listening to this part more than they will be the other parts. On that note, thank you Mr. Pegg.

Before going I really want to say a enormous thank you to Simon for giving me the time and answering all the questions. I hope you all enjoyed the conversation.

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