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'The World's End' Q & A: Wright, Pegg and Frost Get Tough (Featurette)

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood August 24, 2013 at 3:25PM

Edgar Wright hit Comic-Con's Hall H twice with his Visionaries panel as well as a "The World's End" (August 21) presentation with Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, stars of the ice cream trilogy that began with "Shaun of the Dead" and continued with "Hot Fuzz." This trilogy conclusion will be it, Wright says--if the friends work together again it will be on something new. As for Marvel's "Ant Man," Wright's finally ready to embrace new technology to excite us "one inch at a time"--in 2015.
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Edgar Wright at Comic-Con
Edgar Wright at Comic-Con

When we made "Shaun" we were lucky to make a film full stop. I don't think beyond the home country, the first time we opened up to the world was at Comic-Con 2004. I was proud we made a British film, to see audiences over here laughing at it, encouraged us to keep it British. 

SP: It's nice to go away and do other stuff. We haven't made a film together in six years. We made "Paul." When we all came back together it was like putting on a pair of comfortable slippers. We've been friends for 20 years, Nick and I, it was great to get back with the group and bring in Eddie Marzan and Rosamund Pike and some interesting cameos as well.

NF: It's like having a brief love affair.You come back to the marriage stronger.

SP: It's makeup sex. 

SP: These three films, there's a reason we call them a trilogy, they follow set criteria, they're all set in the UK, they're about friendship and growing up, a small group facing against a big throng. The next thing won't have to abide by that, of course we'll work together again. But it's a solid trilogy, a box set.

EW: We wrap things up. There's the theme of perpetual adolescence. The joys and dangers of that.

SP: We had the idea for "The World's End" on a press tour for "Hot Fuzz" in the air between New Zealand and Australia. Edgar and I were were writing this film whilst I was shooting "Star Trek into Darkness."

EW: We made the idea stronger. We wouldn't have made the same script six years ago. It's friends reuniting after a long time. "Hot Fuzz" was shot in my home town. It starts off like a reunion comedy, friends coming together, going back to their home town. It's bittersweet, they're not connecting with each other or the town and discovering the other worldly reason for this.

SP: Films need marketing. [A trailer] requires you to give things away. Ideally with any film you shouldn't know anything, be surprised by every turn and twist as the filmmaker intended. It's rare that that happens these days. 

NF: Anything we find in rehearsal that's funny goes into the shooting script. We shoot the script. We don't have time to hang around and improvise. Edgar has a sense of where the scene is going to end. There's no time. We have a laugh, we don't improvise at all.

SP: We come to set with the script nailed down. Nick sprinkles fairy dust on the script.

NF: It's dandruff. There's no time for fooling around. It needs to flow, we think about the big picture. We're very anal.

EW: Martin Freeman is fantastic. When he was shooting, he had two months left to go to in New Zealand and a worldwide press tour and came back the next day when ["The Hobbit"] hit number one and finished his scenes for us. 

A lot of the action scenes on location were challenging. We tried to push ourselves with the fight scenes. Simon and Nick show their prowess in the action scenes. We went for it.

SP: It took days to shoot. We devised a new martial art called pub fu. It was grueling but fantastic fun, I broke my hand, a spiral fracture of the fourth metacarpal and did six more takes. It snapped.

EW: His expression was wincing. He had a temporary cast for the rest of the shoot.

This article is related to: Video, Video, Edgar Wright, Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, The World's End


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.