Roundtable Interview With Simon Pegg And Nick Frost On The World’s End

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We asked Nick about the physicality of his role and what that presented:

Nick Frost: In terms of the physicality, we worked with a guy called Brad Allen, who works on Jackie Chan’s stunt team, and he’s amazing, him and his guy Damien Walters who choreographed all the fights. We were assessed for a while by them to see what we could do and what we couldn’t do, and then they would show us these amazing previews on their laptops of what they shot in the rehearsal space with cardboard weapons, and it was kind of exactly what we shot. We would work off that, and we would do the choreography.

There were points where Brad would say “What do you want to do? What do you think?” There were times you and I [points to Simon] would work something out, which would invariably end with me and you just rolling around on the floor for a bit…

Simon Pegg: That’s where we’re most comfortable anyway… [Laughs]

Nick Frost: Buy anyway, these things that you choreograph in a rehearsal space are often slightly different on set, and you can see what you have to work with in terms of space and propage, so it changes slightly. But when you’re working with someone like Brad, it gives you that confidence to say “Hey, why don’t we try this?”

Simon Pegg: The important thing for us was that in all the fight sequences in the movie, we’d retain the character. Often in films when you cut to action sequences, stunt performers have to take over, and as such the characters that the actors have created vary slightly in favor of the action. What we really wanted to do was make sure the characters were maintained, which meant us doing it. Not only that, but it could be shot different, there didn’t have to be as many cutaways, we could shoot it like it was almost one continuous shot. You don’t come in, you shoot wide the whole time, and you circle the fight and use whips to cut so that it feels like one continuous shot, and it’s us doing it. We always wanted it to be the case that the fights were where, particularly for Nick’s character, all this simmering rage that he has, all this resentment towards Gary, all this dissatisfaction he has with his own life, it just bursts out of him. We used to call him the Pink Hulk because he had a pink shirt and his big hulk hands.

But that was all in the script. They each had something. Gary fights one handed because he’s trying to protect his pint, Andy fights like berserker, Paddy, because he’s a boxing fan, uses all these great big haymakers, he’s like a brawler, Martin’s always wriggling out of stuff…

Nick Frost: Like a little hobbit…

Simon Pegg: Which he picked up from somewhere, I don’t know. [Laughs] So yeah, it was all there in the script.

Acknowledging the fandom that exists surrounding the trio, including a New York City art gallery that is currently showing artwork created around the famed “Cornetto” trilogy, we asked Simon and Nick if they’ve seen a lot of these works, and also what the weirdest fan tribute they ever saw was:

Simon Pegg: What you just said. That. [ Laughs] No, people constantly surprise me. Nothing is weird, really, because it’s all art, and art isn’t weird in any way…

Nick Frost: Some of it…

Simon Pegg: [In a playful voice] Some of the modern stuff is a bit not my cup of tea…

So it’s always very flattering when people take the time, or create these alternative posters. One thing the death of the film poster has created is a lot of people creating their own, and not having to be slaves to the Draconian marketing ideas. Now it’s just got to be a face, big letters, red and white, if it’s a comedy there’s got to be someone going like this [Simon and Nick synchronize a goofy pose]. So all of these talented people are doing posters that don’t have to sell the film either. They can infer what the film is about, and it’s beautiful. I’ve seen a few of these paintings and I’m worried I’m going to spend an absolute fortune at this gallery, which I don’t have, because of all these beautiful pictures people have drawn. I like the fact that maybe what we’ve done has inspired people. That to me means more than box office receipts or anything. If I make a film and it makes a billion dollars at the box office, and it made a lot of people go “Meh, that was good,” that means a lot less to me than to create a film and then have someone go home and create this beautiful piece of artwork because we filled them with inspiration. That is surely the most important thing you can do.

Nick Frost: I just heard an executive collapse outside…

Noting that Simon has worked with John Landis and is now trying to work with Joe Dante, we asked what makes working with these talents so important:

Simon Pegg: It’s more about working with the people who inspired me. It makes me laugh that John Landis has to go to Europe to get a film made when he made so many important films in the 70s and 80s, but that’s not what it’s about these days because Hollywood isn’t run by filmmakers anymore. It’s run by bean counters…

Nick Frost: That guy that just collapsed outside…

Simon Pegg: So to get to work with people like that, but also work with people who can get films made like J.J. Abrams, all I want to do is work with good people. All actors want to do is work with good people, not whether their bankable or not, that’s really immaterial.

Playing off the themes in The World’s End, we asked Simon and Nick what it’s like for them to return home:

Simon Pegg: I don’t leave my mother’s house when I go back to my hometown [Laughs].

Nick Frost: I’m a Londoner, so where my wife and my kid are is where my home is. I don’t really go back. My mom is from a small town in Whales, and I spent a lot of time there as a kid. What seemed like a beautiful, enchanting place as a six or seven year old boy became less enchanting the older I got. I spent a lot of time sitting on a bus with my walkman on, listening to The Smiths, driving through this very rural landscape full of alcoholism. The town never changed physically, but the people did. It reminded me of a time-lapse photograph of a bowl of fruit decaying – that’s what it felt like to me. I always judged the passage of time by how many teeth people had lost. A person who was beautiful at one point, at 23 they have a tooth missing, their hair is a bit dry…

Simon Pegg: It’s like those police pictures of meth addicts.

Nick Frost: Yeah, so I don’t go back…

I’d like to thank both Simon Pegg and Nick Frost for their roundtable interview, and be sure to see The World’s End when it opens August 23rd!

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