The Cornetto Trilogy Golden Mile, Day 12: Simon Pegg And Nick Frost Reveal What They'd Do With A $100 Million Budget
By now I'm not sure how you can be unaware that Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost have a new movie in theaters. The World's End, the third film the trio have made together, is the conclusion of what they call The Cornetto Trilogy, three genre-bending, incredibly funny movies that, when you put them together, about all the ways it can totally suck to grow up. The World's End may be the darkest and, naturally, the most mature of the three-- Pegg is once again the central character but playing the kind of screw-up who's hard to like, an alcoholic who yearns so deeply for his high school days that he drags his old pals-- including Frost as buttoned-up lawyer Andy-- on a pub crawl in their hometown. They eventually realize their town has been taken over by robots, but the night has gone downhill way before then, as Gary tries and fails over and over again to prove that you really can go home again.
Pegg and Frost, who at this point in their lives have probably done a billion of these interviews together, are a fantastic team to watch on film and a tough one to interview-- you get the sense that they've choreographed their responses to the T, and as much as you want to just watch the two of them joke with each other, you and your dumb questions keep getting in the way. But I did relish the chance to call out Pegg for riling up the Internet with a single tweet, to ask the two of them if their off-screen relationship is as important as we make it out to be, and to ponder what would happen if the three of them got $100 million to make a movie. The answer? Fast Seven. In a house carved out of a single diamond.
For more on The World's End you can read our review and find lots more about it all over the site. It's open in theaters everywhere this weekend. Get out there and see it!
Simon, to start with, I just have to call you out. I feel like you knew that you were going to rile up the internet with those pictures of Ant-Man. I know that everyone overreacted ridiculously, but you knew that was going to happen, right?
Pegg: Well I was at Marvel, Iíd gone to do the Marvel podcast and I had a bit of time, so I was looking around. Theyíve got an amazing mural in reception and I realized I was standing next to Ant-Man, so in the picture itís like, ďHey look, Ant-Man. Itís Edgarís new film,Ē and then the most absurd storm of speculation. It almost annoyed me that people were that fucking concerned about something so facile as whoís going to play a fucking ant. It was like, grow up. Itís a picture.
Itís August. Itís a slow news month. People are going to make something out of nothing.
Pegg: The ironic thing is, and I donít mean to be flippant in any way, but hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of people died in the streets of ancient Egypt recently and no oneís tweeting about that.
So, you guys have talked a lot about the way that this movie is dealing with nostalgia and I think itís interesting that you guys are kicking off 90s nostalgia. But when you talk about the movies that people grew up with in the late 70s and 80s, a lot of it was nostalgia for the 60s and the 50s, like you get American Graffiti and you get Happy Days and in the 80s youíre already getting remakes of 50ís sci-fi movies. Did you guys realize that you were kind of growing up with a lot of culture that was other peopleís nostalgia for an earlier time and did you guys feel like that kind of trickled down to all of us as we grew up with various pop culture like that?
Pegg: I donít know. The nature of nostalgia is simply that you are romanticizing a time thatís gone because the time youíre in is somehow dissatisfactory, whatever you are. You know, weíre going to be nostalgic about this phone conversation in 20 minutes. Itís just what nostalgia is. Itís never really about the time youíre being nostalgic for. Itís just, I suppose the idea of simplicity and a time thatís physically away from where you are now. All we wanted to do was go back 20 years. It wasnít because weíre being nostalgic about the 90s. That was 20 years ago, and then we decided, then you start fishing around in the culture of the time and you pull up a lot of great stuff, like the music. Music is a great nostalgic tool, because itís at once timeless and dated. It has a specific time of inception, but it lasts forever. Itís kind of ok to be nostalgic about music, but the point of Garyís nostalgia is that heís clinically depressed and all heís doing is heís clinging to the last time he was truly happy. So, itís about the danger of nostalgia, as much as anything.
Frost: I mean, if youíre talking about me and nostalgia, Iím kind of out of the three of us, the least nostalgic and I would probably put that down to my past perhaps being the shittiest out of the three.
Pegg: Apart from about house music. Youíre very nostalgic about house music.
Frost: Yeah, but I can still dance a lot. I think Iíve always been a man whoís been driven and controlled by my impulses, so to speak. You know, I think you get nostalgic when you donít act upon something that you have the opportunity to act upon, i.e. hitting a bully or kissing a girl or telling somebody you love them and I think, for the, you know, I did those things, you know, so I canít really look back and think, ďGod, I should have done that,Ē because I kind of probably did it and probably got into a lot of trouble doing it. To be honest, Iím happiest right now. I mean, not in this room, but just generally. So, you know, my need for nostalgia is minimized, I think.
Iím sorry youíre not as happy in the room, but I guess I donít blame you, for being locked in the Waldorf Astoria all day.
Frost: Itís packed full of Louis XV style furniture and thereís muffins, so, you know, it could be worse.
Given that you guys have made as many movies as you have together by now, the relationship that you have really comes out in the scenes you have together. I wonder if you think that people kind of overestimate the extent to which you have to know someone that well to have that chemistry , or if youíve noticed how that has evolved for the two of you as worked together as much as you have over the years.
Frost: You know, Simon and I have a shorthand, which means we know how to work together. We just go straight into it and thereís never a moment when weíre wondering how the hierarchy works or ďCan I say this?Ē In terms of the chemistry, you know, I worked with someone last year and we had chemistry immediately, and it showed. Sometimes you just meet people, and that happens. Other times, you can really like someone, but on set you have no chemistry at all. You know, does that detract from the performance, or what people see on the screen? Iím not sure it does, you know. If youíre a good enough actor, I think you can hide bad chemistry.
Pegg: Yeah, I agree with Nick, but I think that the relationship that Nick and I have off screen only enhances that relationship we have on screen. You know, Iíd never worked with Eddie Marsan before this film, but I loved working with him on The Worldís End.
Pegg: Öas I did with Rosamund Pike, who I went on to work with again in a film subsequently and actually, we used the relationship, our friendship that we;d sort of developed on Worldís End to sort of fundamentalize our relationship on the film we did afterwards, which was nice. But, for Nick and I, and Edgar, we understand each other very clearly and what it offers us is a means of communication and a way of working which is very efficient and effective. So, I believe pre-existing knowledge of each other can be an enormous help, but itís not always necessary.
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