Since I had so many interviews from Scott Pilgrim vs. The World to post last week, I decided to save one for the week after it opened as a bonus for fans and as a reminder that if you haven’t seen Scott Pilgrim, you really should. While Hollywood recycles the same stories all the time, Scott Pilgrim is an original movie told in an amazing way. It’s one of my favorite films of the year and I really recommend checking it out in a movie theater.
Anyway, during the Los Angeles press junket for the film, I was able to sit down with Mary Elizabeth Winstead for an exclusive interview. We talked about being at Comic-Con, the very cool t-shirts that were made for Scott Pilgrim, vintage clothing stores, her next movie The Thing, the city of Toronto, working for Edgar Wright, and a lot more. Hit the jump to check it out:
Regrettable, while I always post audio with my interviews, I’m away from home and didn’t bring the audio with me. When i get back I’ll update the story.
Collider: So you said earlier that you got the Ramona shirt? Is it cool for you to be walking around with it on or is there an issue with that?
Mary Elizabeth Winstead: There’s probably an issue with it but I don’t really care. I probably look narcissistic that I’m wearing my own character from my own movie on my own body, but I love it so much. At least it’s from a scene I’m not in. Well, I’m in the scene but I’m not in the shot. I don’t know, I wore it around Comic-Con and stuff. I don’t really know, we’ll see how I feel about wearing it in the general public. I don’t know if it will draw too much attention or not, but we’ll see. I want them anyway so I don’t care. [laughs]
It’s very hard to make a cool t-shirt and they have a bunch of them.
Winstead: They’re so cool! It’s hard because I want to wear them all. I know that it’s totally uncool. It’s like if you’re in a band and you’re wearing your own band t-shirt.
That’s probably true. Continuing on the journey of shirts, here is another question for you, people were talking in there about making a cool shirt and having the whole cast sign it rather than a poster.
Winstead: That’s awesome. Several people were doing that at Comic-Con so they’ve thought of it already and it’s totally a good idea. I want to do that. Then there are other posters. There are all of these limited edition posters that are coming out that I want everyone to sign. [sighs] Oh my god.
So we are basically geeking out over geek merchandise.
Winstead: [laughs] Yes.
I completely understand. So what has this experience been like for you? Obviously, you’re in the promotional phase right now. Can you talk a little bit about that? You’ve been doing this all day today and at Comic-Con. Are you doing talk shows? Are you flying around to places?
Winstead: A little bit. Yeah. We are going on a city tour. Going to, like, 15 different cities or something like that. Doing a little bit of talk show stuff and going to London for a London junket and premiere. So, yeah, its definitely more press than I have ever done in my life.
The promotional machine and this kind of press, how daunting is it and what is it like inside of the whirlwind?
Winstead: I think it seemed more daunting that how it’s turned out to be. Like when I first got my schedule I had a little mini panic attack like “Ok. Where am I going? What am I doing? What’s happening?” Then everyone was telling me Comic-Con was going to be so crazy and if I was ready for it. They were talking it up like if I was going to be mobbed down the street or something. Then I got there and everyone was so cool. It was crazy, but in a really good way. In just the way we were all overwhelmed with how excited the fans were. Its actually been great so far. I don’t really know if by the end of it I might be dead. I don’t really know what’s going to happen but so far so good.
I was talking to someone else about this about Comic-Con. One of the things that so cool about it is that actors, directors, producers, fans, everyone on Friday and Saturday night are walking the streets of the Gaslamp District. It’s a melting pot of everybody. Were you able to go around to some of the parties and take in some of that energy?
Winstead: I did. I walked the floor. I went to the Oni Press booth and stood in line and bought stuff.
They made you stand in the line?
Winstead: They eventually found me. I didn’t want to get free stuff but Eric Gidder, who is the publisher for Oni Press, was like “Hey! Come behind the booth!” and I was like “no,no,no!” but I got a bunch of stuff and I was trying to pay for it but they wouldn’t let me and I was very frustrated. But, yeah, I got a bunch of free stuff. [laughs]
Before I run out of time. You’re also in another Universal film, The Thing, which I totally have to touch on. You wrapped on that I don’t know how long ago.
Winstead: Just a few weeks ago.
So how long was that shoot?
Winstead: It was about 4 months back in Toronto. So I’m a full on Torontonian now I think. It was great and I’m really excited for people to see it. It’s such a fantastic group of actors. They’re all from Norway for the most part. A couple of Danish guys and an Australian. So, I’ve never worked with a group that diverse and interesting. I’m so excited for everybody in it and I think it’s going to be great.
For fans of the original and for people that don’t know the original, how will this film tie together?
Winstead: It’s a true prequel. So if you’ve seen the original and if you’re familiar with it there going to be things that stand out that will make you go “Oh. Now that makes sense why that happened in the original” and then it sort of goes back and explains certain things, especially about the Norwegian base that you see in the original film. That’s all kind of explained in this like how you find a dead body and then you find out who that guy is. It also matches up directly. In the end, we’ll seamlessly go into the original and so you can watch them back-to-back and they’ll match up perfectly. For people who haven’t seen the original, it stands alone as a great piece of science-fiction-horror-action and hopefully that will really connect with people who don’t know anything about the John Carpenter version but I think it will work for both kind of people.
One of the things that is striking about the original is the tone and the pacing. How is this film going to be similar in pacing and tone or is it going to be a modern kind of fast cutting thing?
Winstead: I think it’s very similar in pacing and tone. Some of the actors were talking about how it starts off as a drama, kind of goes into a horror film, kind of goes into a sci-fi film, and then kind of goes into an action film at the end. It slowly builds into being bigger and bigger with its momentum. It takes awhile for things to really start kicking in. I mean you get time to get to know the characters and also time for that paranoia to grow, which is the really important thing. Just not knowing who is a thing and who isn’t and who you can trust and who you can’t. So before it all starts coming out and people start dying all over the place you need that suspense to build and I think that’s all really in this film as well.
You’ve obviously been in Toronto for a very long time. What are some places you want to tell people they have to go to?
Winstead: Saving Grace is the best place for brunch. That’s where we would all go for brunch all the time and get omelets.
When you say “we all” is that Scott Pilgrim or The Thing?
Winstead: Pilgrim. To be honest, I was sleeping on the weekends for The Thing. I don’t think I went anywhere [laughs]. Also, mostly for me as a girl, shopping was a huge thing in Toronto. I’m sure the fans of Collider aren’t particularly interested in that [laughs] but there are many vintage stores and thrift shops. Kensington Market is a must visit place in Toronto.
I’m obsessed when I travel in finding cool t-shirts. So I like the vintage stores but although you have to agree that sometimes you go into a vintage store and the smell…
Winstead: Yeah. It could be off putting. It smells like your grandmother’s attic or something like that. But you got to put that out of your mind, plug your nose, go in, get in there, and sift through all the junk. That’s the most fun.
It is a little weird, though. Every vintage store smells.
Winstead: I guess it’s the smell of old.
It’s very strange.
Winstead: It’s an odd smell. I do agree. Anywhere you go. Any place, any city, any state – same smell.
Jumping back into Scott Pilgrim, can you talk a little bit about working with Edgar Wright? You’ve obviously worked with many different filmmakers. What was it that you took away with your experience working for him? Because obviously he makes great movies so what is the secret sauce of Edgar?
Winstead: For one thing, he’s more passionate about film than almost anyone else I know with the exception of Quentin Tarantino probably. They’re equally matched I think as far their passion and pure joy of films. He sets this bar of greatness and he expects perfection out of everyone because he wants to make an amazing film and he wants it to be the best it could possibly be. He’s such a perfectionist but in a way that’s charming, fun, not mean, and he’s not a task master. You want to be great because you know you can be with his help and with his guidance and that’s inspiring.
Last question, have you figured out what you are doing next?
Winstead: I haven’t. No. We’ll see. Things are floating around so we’ll see.