Edgar Wright On The World's End And Why Ant-Man Doesn't Make Him A Hypocrite
I was watching the conversation you guys did with Peter Jackson, and I just was thinking about him and the way Return of the King had ten different endings and very clearly, he couldn’t let it go. When you’re making this, it’s clear that you guys felt a momentousness to ending the trilogy.
Yeah, we wanted to make it like a finale.
Yeah, but did you also have like the hard time letting go? Like did you have four different endings?
No, that ending, the end scene of the movie...the end image and the end scene and the end line was always there.
Like from draft number one. I think when the film first got announced in 2007, all it said was it called The World’s End, so I think everybody immediately leapt to the conclusion that it was going to be post-apocalypse film like Mad Max.
But you knew even then that you weren’t going to do that?
No,no, no, we knew what it was about a pub crawl where the last bar is called The World’s End and our character desperately wants to go to The World’s End and absolutely gets his wish, like in the worst way possible, but also the best, because everybody kind of gets…
Everybody gets what they want.
In a way. Me and Simon have said this a couple times now, we feel that it has the happiest ending of the three, because in all three of the movies, they have a somewhat like black comedy ending. In Shaun of the Dead, yes he is with his girlfriend at the end, but nothing is changed in terms of like he’s still dividing his time between his girlfriend and his best friend. It’s not entirely clear whether his girlfriend knows about the friend in the shed.
I never even thought of that.
Well, we left it deliberately ambiguous.
Interesting. It never occurred to me that she didn’t know.
The only thing that she says is maybe like leads toward that is he says, I’m just going to go out into the shed and she says, "Oh, go on then," which kind of like seems to suggest…
That maybe she’s knows what he’s doing.
But maybe she doesn’t. But also to get to that happy sitcom status quo, lots of people had to die, including his mother and her friends and his friends. And in Hot Fuzz, like it’s a triumph in the ending of sorts, excepts for the fact that our heroes have become like black shirt fascists, beating up hippies. So, in this one, we feel that like, even though we don’t wimp out on the title, kind of everybody gets what they want in the end.
You’ve been talking about it as a trilogy forever, but these days, there’s no such thing as a trilogy. You’re always going to get the fourth one. But you‘re like "No, no, no. This is it. We’re going to blow shit up."
The thing is, when you sort of say, "Oh, we’d love to do a third film together," you’ve sort of made a promise to the fans, but more importantly and crucially, you’ve made a promise to yourself. With this movie, we always wanted to do it, but we also made the decision that we should not do it straight away. We should go off and do something else and then come back, and also get older, like so it would be, I think we wouldn’t have written the same screen play 6 years ago.
So you might have a new perspective after some time.
Yeah, and I think in a way because the film is about friends reuniting, the fact that me and Simon went off and did different films and then came back, added to the emotion in the movie. I had a chance to do Ant-Man two years ago, but I put it on the back burner to do this. Aside from the fact that I wanted to do The World’s End, you know, you probably read about this in an earlier interview, out executive producer got ill and he was the person who basically gave us our break, and suddenly it hit me so hard in terms of on a number of levels. If something terrible happened and I had not made good on my promise that I’d do a third film, I would never, I would regret it forever. We owe this man our career, because he saved Shaun of the Dead from like turnaround, and he wants us to do another movie. We want him to see it and let’s make this movie. So, I went in to Marvel and said, I really want to do Ant-Man, but I can’t do it right now, and this is why, and they said, that’s very laudable, like we totally understand. Of course we want to make the movie anyway, but that’s something else personal coming to it. The great news is that he is fine and he likes, and loves it and is as proud of it as we are.
It’s hard not to read into this you guys putting away your own past and making this. Do you feel like it’s kind of closing a chapter on a part of your life?
I think so. I’m 39 and stuff, so you kind of feel like that thing where people say, "Oh 30 is the new 20. 40 is the new 30." You kind of think, how long can that go on? When we came up with the idea for the story, and-- it’s not supposed to be a heavy, heavy movie, but there is a thing about like so much of our culture at the moment is about nostalgia and so many films are essentially about like remakes of movies that we loved when we were kids, toys that we had when we were kids. Nostalgia can be a dangerous thing and it can’t inform everything, you know. Rosamund Pike says, in the movie, you’ve got to look forwards and not backwards and it’s something like, we got to go forwards, you know. There’s very little to be gained from going backwards.
But now, as the guy who’s going to make Ant-Man, do you feel like that’s going to get thrown right back at you being like, this is a character that people loved as children.
You know what, like because there’s never been a film adaptation of that character, I think it’s OK. If it was a remake of a film from 30 years ago, then I would be a hypocrite, but because it’s never been made into a movie ever. And also, to be honest, there are elements in that script that actually do continue themes from the other movies, an unlikely hero, a chance at redemption, and so, it’s not something, it’s going to be, it will be different, but I think it will still feel like one of my films.
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