Simon Pegg

Shaun of the Dead Romance

On the 10th anniversary of Shaun of the Dead opening in UK theaters, let’s talk about love. Not just the love we have for Edgar Wright‘s 2004 zom-rom-com but the love that is explored in the rom-com side of that genre-splicing equation. Forget the zed word. Pretend there’s no zombies in the movie at all. They drive the plot but they’re not really relevant to the story, which is of a relationship on the rocks and the obstacles in its way of succeeding. The zombie element only exacerbates (a word I genuinely learned from this movie) the situation, heightening the tension and increasing the difficulty level while also providing a mechanism through which the main characters are able to more easily get over their relationship hurdles. I use the term “difficulty level” because, in a way, Shaun of the Dead is like a romance video game where different bosses have to be defeated in order for Shaun (Simon Pegg, who also co-wrote the script with Wright) to win back his princess, Liz (Kate Ashfield). Wright would, of course, later do the same thing very literally in Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, and here not all the “bosses” are in fact adversarial obstacles, at least not before they’re turned into undead monsters. The two most advanced stages of the game, for instance, involve Shaun’s mum and best mate. And if you’re a grown man in a serious relationship, maybe even marriage, you should identify with just how tough those stages are […]

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Hector

If you were, say, a psychiatrist treating severely depressed people, it would probably be slightly concerning when several or none of those patients reported getting any happier. It might even make you a little depressed yourself. In the case of Simon Pegg and his floundering practice in Peter Chesholm‘s Hector and the Search for Happiness, it’s enough to have him questioning every little bit of his increasingly draining existence. Naturally, the remedy for undoing the blues when you’re well to-do and can apparently take that much time off work is to get out of London for awhile and find yourself. It’s not just a sense of self he’s looking for while he’s traveling around the world, but the real key to happiness itself — presumably so he can take that knowledge home with him and share it with his gloomy patients.

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fantastic_fear_04

Thanks to his work with director Edgar Wright on things like the UK series Spaced, the zombie apocalypse parody Shaun of the Dead, and their love letter to 90s-era action movies, Hot Fuzz, Simon Pegg has been an actor who the film geek community have seen as one of their own for quite a while, and after getting to do things like repeatedly play the tech-oriented sidekick in a big secret agent series thanks to the Mission: Impossible movies and fly on the Starship Enterprise thanks to his casting as Scotty in the Star Trek reboots, his nerd credentials have only grown over time. Recently there’s been some indication that Pegg is an even stronger actor than we’ve probably been giving him credit for up until this point though. We’ve known since the beginning that he’s funny, and we’ve known that he can be manic and lovable, but recent work has seen the guy showing off a range that’s impressive past funny and lovable. He really brought the pathos to his Gary King character in The World’s End in a way we’ve never seen from him before, and he’s been period-acting circles around everyone else on that new Frank Darabont gangster show, Mob City.

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cc the worlds end

The Cornetto Trilogy is the comedic equivalent of Park Chan-wook’s Vengeance Trilogy for at least two reasons. First, all three films are pretty goddamn fantastic, and second, they’re not even really a trilogy. There’s no actual storyline or characters that repeat across the films, but some common themes (along with the presence of Cornetto ice cream) have turned the trio into an unofficial collective. The World’s End is the latest and last (after Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz), and there’s a very good chance it’s the best of the three. Edgar Wright directs and co-writes (again) with star Simon Pegg to deliver a smart, very funny, and truly engaging piece of entertainment, and as has continually been the case, they’ve filled it with a brilliant cast. Nick Frost, Martin Freeman, Paddy Considine, and Eddie Marsan join Pegg as five friends attempting to revisit their youth who find an unexpected surprise instead. All of Wright’s films come loaded with gags and references, but this one beats them all in the sheer detailed genius of its structure and execution. Multiple viewings are required to catch them all, but the Wright and Pegg do a good job of highlighting several moments of foreshadowing and hints at what’s to come on their commentary track.

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palmer

We first heard back in May that Simon Pegg was going to be starring in a decidedly non-comedic thriller from Australian director Kriv Stenders (Red Dog) called Kill Me Three Times, which sounded pretty interesting in and of itself, but now Deadline has some casting news regarding the project that’s made it appear even more appealing due to some added fresh faces and some light being shed on the plot. First off, the faces. According to the report, youthful Aussies Teresa Palmer (Warm Bodies) and Luke Hemsworth (that third Hemsworth brother you’ve heard rumors about), have just joined the ensemble, which, in addition to Pegg, has also picked up Alice Braga (City of God), Sullivan Stapleton (Animal Kingdom), and Callan Mulvey (Zero Dark Thirty) along the way. For those keeping score, that’s a whole handful of hot young actors starring in a movie from the guy who made one of the highest grossing Australian films of all time. Seems like Kill Me Three Times has what it takes to be a winner.

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worldsend08

It’s pretty clear that Edgar Wright and his sometime co-writer/star Simon Pegg are movie junkies. Their series Spaced was all about allusions to their TV and film favorites, while the first two installments of the “Cornetto trilogy,” Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, were tributes to zombie and action flicks, respectively. With The World’s End, the homage and referencing continues. Even though the message of the movie is to move forward not backward, and even though it’s apparently a veiled criticism of Hollywood’s own nostalgic impulses, it’s okay for a movie this clever to have its influences and predecessors as long as the acknowledgment is through nods to the past works rather than a recycling or cloning of them. One key difference between what Wright does and what the remake/reboot machine does is he provides a gateway to older movies and the machine creates a substitution, a replacement. As a true movie lover, Wright is known for hosting programs of beloved classics and cult classics, usually in hopes of introducing his fans to stuff they’ve never seen. He also likes to name other films that have informed his work and are worth checking out either prior to or after seeing his movies. The following list is not all selections that he has credited nor that he would necessarily endorse. It’s a combination of some of his picks (found mentioned elsewhere) and some of my own, some obvious and some not, some great and some just worth a look for […]

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Worlds End Aliens

“Starbucking,” as it’s used in Edgar Wright’s The World’s End, is the process by which something unique – in this case, a small town British pub – is removed of all its character. In the “Village Voice,” Simon Pegg elaborated that nostalgia’s “all about comfort and familiarity and Starbucks creates … a nostalgia in the present, a benign sense of comfort by making everything look the same.” What’s striking about that sentence is if you substitute “Starbucks” for “Hollywood,” you get a pretty apt description of the studio system’s problematic gluttony for movie sequels, reboots and remakes. Which isn’t as arbitrary a substitution to make as it seems, given Wright has acknowledged that The World’s End was designed in part to be a play on cinematic “Starbucking” and how a “lot of movies [today] are about nostalgia, about recreating things from childhood… [and how big] studio films are either remakes of films from 20 years ago, or adaptation of toys or inspired by things from your childhood.” With that as a guiding nudge, other substitutions become possible. Ones that turn The World’s End – a film critical of a man-child’s inability to abandon the past – into a film representative and critical of those Hollywood nostalgic impulses which forego or replace movies with character and originality with safer, uninspired rehashes of past properties. That criticism resides foremost in Gary King (Simon Pegg) who is addicted to the world he knew when he was younger. King is desperate to reassemble a […]

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hotfuzz-commentary1

After making a splash with the zom-com Shaun of the Dead in 2004, Edgar Wright teamed up again with Simon Pegg and Nick Frost to make another send-up of a beloved genre. Hot Fuzz deconstructed the buddy cop action film genre with a hilarious and fresh perspective. Only after the production did Wright and Pegg, who co-wrote the film together, stumble on the Cornetto connection, which paved the way for the production of the eventual finale The World’s End. Upon the release of Hot Fuzz, Wright and Pegg sat down to record a commentary track, which is available on both the DVD and Blu-ray. There are other commentaries available on the film, depending on which release you get, but this is the most common one, and the most contained.

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review the worlds end

It’s not easy to sum up life-defining moments in words. However, for five young trouble-making friends, that moment could be summed up in three: The Golden Mile. In their youth, Gary (Simon Pegg), Andrew (Nick Frost), Oliver (Martin Freeman), Steven (Paddy Considine), and Peter (Eddie Marsan) attempted an epic pub crawl encompassing twelve bars and requiring of the consumption of twelve pints of beer. Not only did they come up short in this exercise in sensational debauchery, but the attempt caused a rift within the quintet that continued to widen in the subsequent decades. Now, the group’s most developmentally-arrested member Gary, is seeking to reunite the boys for a second go at it. Unfortunately, their hometown has since changed…dramatically. Anticipation can be a double-edged sword. On the one hand, filmmakers certainly want audiences to harbor anticipation for their latest projects; entire marketing teams are in fact assembled precisely to cultivate that anticipation. However, there is a point of critical mass wherein anticipation begins to foster expectations within audiences. These expectations can sometimes serve as major critical detriments; the movie we want versus the movie we think we want, et cetera. A large contingent of those movie-goers paying their two bits for a ticket for Edgar Wright‘s The World’s End are coming with an ample amount of anticipation, and yet one of the best things about the movie is that is defies all expectations predicated upon its predecessors.

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Worlds End

The World’s End closes out The Cornetto Trilogy with a bang. With Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, and this apocalyptic bar crawl comedy, director Edgar Wright and co-writer Simon Pegg have finished a trio of films about the ups and downs of growing up and moving forward. As an ender, The World’s End isn’t all that upbeat. Wright hasn’t made a 180-turn putting out a self-serious downer, but this story of a few friends attempting to symbolically go back in time and finish an epic bar crawl ends the series on a bittersweet note. It’s fitting for the tonal shifts the other Cornetto films made, but audiences will leave The World’s End wondering what to make of the ending. For Wright, he wanted that ending to be a definitive (and happy) statement. As it turns out, in order to threaten the world with destruction, you have to fight it out in the schoolyard.

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Shaun of the Dead Screenplay

With hand-drawn title pages, trailers, storyboards, BTS pictures and more, this interactive script for Shaun of the Dead is a great artifact to get lost in for an afternoon. It’s also another solid excuse (like anyone needs one) for watching the movie again. One of my favorite elements is the list of ideas for actions and weapon choices in the fight with Bloody Mary. “Fem Zombie Discovers Ed’s Porn” is a gem to be treasured almost as much as the pictures of Edgar Wright displaying sheer joy at the sight of his undead hordes. Definitely entertaining in its nostalgia, there’s a lot to learn, too — both for fans and for prospective writers looking for a detailed script to break down. Of course, the commentary track had its fair share of trivia, but I’m insanely glad to see Focus Features put this out there (for free) in anticipation of the chapter that ends what Shaun began. Also, if anyone can figure out how to work “You’ve got red on you,” and “Read this script” into a pun, please let me know how. I’ve puzzled over it for ten minutes, drawing a blank. Thanks in advance.

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the-worlds-end-new-movie-release-october-2013-1

What is it about seeing Simon Pegg and Nick Frost side by side that makes you feel like you’re watching old friends? The twosome is back for The World’s End, the final film in the Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy, and they’re talking about the experience of making the movie in a new featurette. The Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy – Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, and now The World’s End, wasn’t intended to be a trilogy from the beginning, but the men and writer and director Edgar Wright felt that the first two films actually worked together quite well, even if they aren’t exactly playing the same characters. Why not make a third? The film brings together all of the familiar faces from the first two films – Paddy Considine, Martin Freeman, Eddie Marsan and Frost – as Simon Pegg’s character gathers the men on wild pub crawl that the five had once attempted to complete in their youth. But they soon realize that their hometown isn’t what it used to be; it’s full of robots. They really don’t have the best of luck, do they? Rosamund Pike also stars. Frost and Pegg also gleefully talk about their extensive fight training for The World’s End in the featurette, which you can check out for yourself here:

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boxtrolls

With the current cover of ‘The New Yorker’ sparking online debate as to whether or not it’s appropriate to teach our children about same sex couples, or at least at what age it’s appropriate to start introducing them to the concept, the new trailer for Laika’s next stop-animated motion picture, The Boxtrolls, seems to have come along at just the right time. It takes a stab at the issue itself, and serves as an important reminder that it’s possible to frame messages of tolerance to children in a way that doesn’t need to include addressing issues of sexuality that their tiny, under-formed brains can’t yet comprehend. But the heartwarming message that families come in all shapes and sizes isn’t the only thing The Boxtrolls has to offer. Oh, no. If you’ve seen the previous two features Laika has produced, Coraline and ParaNorman, then you know that they make beautiful pictures that are so visually dense and have such an attention to detail that they’re able to dazzle the eyeballs as well as reward multiple viewings. And from just this minute long vignette, it’s clear that their latest offering is going to be no different.

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The World

In other words, it’s got red on it. Except it’s blue this time. But it’s still blood, so it totally counts. Plus, that’s exactly the kind of subtle, layered joke that fans should expect from Edgar Wright (along with several failed attempts at climbing fences), and The World’s End appears to deliver. In the film, a crew of friends (including Simon Pegg and Nick Frost) reunite to finally complete an epic pub crawl that went unfinished in their youth. As they attempt to get schmammered, they discover they’re in the middle of a giant robot invasion. The first teaser trailer was a delightful nudge, but this full trailer is a slice of fried gold:

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penntough

What is Casting Couch? It’s a daily info dump of casting news. Today we’ve got reports of new jobs for Internet favorites like Simon Pegg and Peter Dinklage, as well as a bunch of pictures of actors holding animals, because why not? Paul Thomas Anderson’s upcoming film, Inherent Vice, is said to have somewhere around 20 important speaking roles, so it’s starting to look like it may call for the most star-studded cast he’s ever put together; or at least the most star-studded since he last did an ensemble piece like Magnolia. Anyway, Cigarettes and Red Vines is reporting that the next big name likely to join the film is Sean Penn, as he’s currently in negotiations, and if the PTA-centric blog had to take a guess as to what role he’s up for, they imagine he’s going to be playing hard-nosed loan shark Adrian Prussia. They also have the interesting news that Penn’s signing would make him the fourth member of his family to work alongside Anderson. They’re really a very thorough blog.

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t

Cinema is filled with memorable and repeated pairings between directors and actors, but with all due respect to Scorsese/De Niro, Allen/Allen and Cameron/Paxton, the collaborations between Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg are a magic all their own. After a successful run on UK TV (that ended with Spaced) the duo unleashed two genre-hopping films that were described as parts one and two in a loose and unofficial trilogy. Shaun of the Dead melded comedy with horror while Hot Fuzz brought the laughs with an action film homage, and now the third and final film in the Blood and Ice Cream trilogy is mere months away. The World’s End follows a group of five friends who reunite and return to a small town where they last failed to complete an epic pub crawl. Convinced to try again the five discover how the years have changed them, but the bigger surprise is how something else has changed the townspeople of Newton Haven. Check out the international teaser courtesy of MSN below.

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The World

You know what? It’s really just sort of nice to see Simon Pegg and Nick Frost looking equally terrified and silly on a poster together again, and what better production for them to bring their charms to than the final entry in Edgar Wright‘s Blood and Ice Cream Trilogy, The World’s End? The new quad poster features our favorite bumbling heroes amidst a possibly intergalactic firestorm and a horde of blue-eyed baddies, but the entire thing could just consist of their dumbstruck faces and a title and we’d be sold. Wright himself tweeted out the new quad poster, and it seems like he’s about as excited for this new film as the rest of us (which is very). The World’s End opens on August 23rd. Prepare and such.

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The Worlds End - Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg

Briefly: Focus Features has just sent around word that Edgar Wright‘s highly anticipated The World’s End, the final film in his Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy (aka the Blood and Ice Cream trilogy), has moved up from its original October 25th release date to a prime summer date of August 23rd. Penned by Wright and star Simon Pegg, the film also features Nick Frost, Martin Freeman, Paddy Considine, Eddie Marsan, and Rosamund Pike on a sprawling pub crawl that is meant to end at “fabled pub The World’s End,” but just might wrap up at the actual end of the world.  The film will now go up against other August 23rd releases The Mortal Instruments: City of Bone and You’re Next.

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We’ve been hearing about Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg’s next film together as co-writers for a while. A mashup between the concepts of the pub crawl and the apocalypse, The World’s End has been said to be the third film in an informal trilogy that started with Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz. Other than Wright directing and co-writing the film with Pegg, we’ve also known from the start that Pegg was set to re-team with Nick Frost as its stars. But, seeing as the film’s synopsis says that it’s about five friends in their forties trying to recreate an epic pub crawl they completed when they were younger, there’s always been a question of who else was going to be joining the cast. Well, a press release put out by Universal today not only confirms a couple names that have been floating around for a while, it also adds two more to the mix.

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The Worlds End - Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg

According to a press release, Universal has given the thumbs up to Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost as they seek to put an end to the excellent comedy trilogy that began with Shaun of the Dead and continued with Hot Fuzz. With zombies and cops out of the way, the only thing left to heartily mock is the destruction of the planet. The World’s End is aiming to roll cameras in October. Theoretically, we could be in for a Summer or Fall 2013 release. This comes on the heels of Marvel revealing Wright’s test footage for Ant-Man at Comic-Con and announcing that it would be, you know, made at some point in the near future. They promise. Seriously. Of course this greenlight is fantastic news, but what’s most interesting (and most encouraging) here is that Universal is happy to do business with Wright again after losing money on Scott Pilgrim. It shows the kind of creative fortitude that seems rare these days. It would be too easy to dismiss a business relationship with a filmmaker, ignoring that the movie he made was brilliant simply because the box office return didn’t shine like gold. Good on ‘em for teaming up again. The team will no doubt churn out another hilarious winner.

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published: 04.20.2014
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published: 04.20.2014
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published: 04.19.2014
A-
published: 04.19.2014
B+

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