Writer/director Edgar Wright, co-writer/actor Simon Pegg, and actor Nick Frost finish up the Three Flavours Cornetto Trilogy with The World’s End, a hilarious pub crawl comedy that also features Eddie Marsan, Paddy Considine, Martin Freeman, and Rosamund Pike. The World’s End finds a group of childhood friends reuniting in their hometown to try and complete a pub crawl they abandoned decades earlier. Their drunken reunion takes a bizarre turn when they figure out things are no longer as they seem in their sleepy little hometown.
describes the films of the trilogy (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, and The World’s End) as being about “evolution, devolution and revolution,” but says the end of the trilogy does not mark the end of his collaborations with Frost and Wright. And filmmaker Wright also confirmed he’ll continue to play around with genre-mixing and he’ll work again with Pegg and Frost in the future.
Edgar Wright Interview on The World’s End
What you remember about doing a pub crawl and what was your worst one?
Edgar Wright: “This movie is sort of inspired by two disastrous pub crawls. One even more pathetic than the first one. The first one was when I was 19, and in my hometown which is the same town that’s in Hot Fuzz, I attempted to drink a pint in every pub and there were 15 pubs. 12 in the movie; 15 in real life. I got through six and completely flaked out. I was just the person who came up with the idea to do it. It’s not like they carried on without me. It just stopped dead at six.”
How did you get home?
“This is a whole longer story for another time. [Laughing] I’ll tell you what happened is that I, in my drunken state, there was this girl that I was seeing at the time and I thought, ‘I might go and like call on her,’ forgetting that she wasn’t in town, waking up her mother, her mother not knowing who I was and being kind of concerned who this drunken teenager was on the doorstep. Then trying to find my way back to my friend’s, running through somebody’s garden, and clothes-lining myself on a clothes-line and knocking myself out briefly and waking up with a thin purple bruise and eventually getting back to my friend’s at 2:30am saying, ‘Where have you been?’ I said, ‘I was trying to find Kate.’ Didn’t happen. Then I had to apologize to the mom the next day.
That was pub crawl number one. Number two was even worse. With number two, me, Simon, and Nick did Spaced unfortunately went back to my hometown and tried to do it again. This time, I was out after four pubs. So it was at that point, I realized there was something truly pathetic in trying to recapture your teenage years. That became the seed for the movie.”
This is the end of the unofficial trilogy, but do you imagine you’ll still be crossing genres in future films?
Edgar Wright: “I think everything that I do will have an element of two different genres because I think sort of … I don’t know. I mean I think that’s just like a lot of the films I really love combine two different things. I think it’s not something I’m going to go away from. We made this and it’s become an unofficial trilogy, but once we realized we can do a third one and try and kind of tie them all together, we wanted to make it a very definite kind of wrap-up on certain themes. I know that we will work together again. I just don’t know what theme. It might be something completely different.”
As a filmmaker, do you have any ideas that are away from comedy?
Edgar Wright: “Yeah. I do actually. I’m actually developing a horror film that’s not funny in the slightest. It’s funny whenever people ask me, ‘Oh, yeah. You ever going to do a feature of…,’ I say, ‘I’d rather do a straight horror film, to be honest.'”
You recently tweeted a picture of five ice cream cones and people got excited and thought that might mean you were doing maybe two more films?
Edgar Wright: “No. I just tweeted because it’s annoying to me that they keep bringing out new flavors. [Laughing] In other countries there’s even more. We went to Australia the other day and they had different flavors of Cornetto, ones you don’t have in the UK. Italy has even more, so it’s like, ‘Oh, my God.’ There used to be only three and now there’s like seven, but that doesn’t mean that there’s going to be seven movies. I think we ice creamed out.”
Which flavor is this?
Edgar Wright: “This is mint. ‘The film is mint.’ That’s my quote.”
With Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, they’re duo-centric films with a strong supporting cast. What was it like kind of bringing an ensemble into this film?
Edgar Wright: “We thought it was important because we wanted to sort of switch it up with each movie. I mean, I guess Hot Fuzz is the one that’s more of the buddy film. Shaun of the Dead is about six people. Once you get to the Winchester, it’s almost like a play because there’s six people trapped there. This one, it just felt like it’s a reunion between friends. When I used to go to the pub with my friends, there used to be five of us who were like all, five best friends who used to go out every night. In fact, I invited them all to the premiere in London the other day which was hilarious. Some of whom I hadn’t seen for 10 years.
I think the thing is you want to make three movies that … You want to make a movie that if people like the other two, they’ll like this. But you have to switch it up; you can’t just do the same thing again, so there were subtle changes in the structure of the dynamic. That’s important because people might think they want exactly the same thing again, but they don’t. If you give it to them, they’ll go, ‘Oh, it’s just like the last one.’ It’s important to kind of shake it up.”
The other two were more optimistic, but middle age doesn’t come across so great in this one.
Edgar Wright: “Yeah. I think in a way that’s something we wanted to talk about and stuff. We wanted it to kind of work in different ways, in terms of it doesn’t paint a good picture of somebody trying to recapture their glory years. But then in a strange way, they get an epic adventure by sort of through the magic power of alcohol. We let this idea, this theme, start to get more and more grave and serious. They’re getting more and more hammered, so they get increasingly kind of boisterous and courageous. We just liked the idea that it’s kind of a cautionary tale about looking back. If anything, there’s a positive message to take away from the film, they even say in the film, ‘It’s a good idea to look forwards and not backwards.'”
Simon Pegg’s character drinks and goes through these progressions, and after getting drunk he seems to be the one who is right to look back.
Edgar Wright: “I think the thing is we wanted to make it kind of like sort of slightly complex. It doesn’t glorify drinking, but then it sort of does make some of those fight scenes look pretty fun. I like the idea that it’s not completely black and white. I mean with everything in the movie, even like the goodies versus the baddies, even the sort of the aliens in it, like Steve himself is pretty benevolent and you think the humans are the sort of walking f*ck-ups. We are the drunken apes and maybe they’ve got the better idea.”
Did the blanks go through many different forms before you settled on what they are?
Edgar Wright: “No. Very early on, I had this idea. I don’t think it’s too much of a spoiler but I like this idea of I always find androids kind of scary as a kid and things like Westworld and Stepford Wives and the Autons in Doctor Who. It used to really creeped me out. Butalso as a kid, if you ever did this with action figures, is action men, Star Wars figures, or even Barbie dolls, they’re easy to take their heads off and take the arms off. I always find that whatever action figures I would have, they would at some point have lost legs and arms and heads. Then there’s just this great image of seeing these kind of dolls without heads and arms, but they won’t stop fighting. That was something I thought would be extremely sort of creepy and vivid to have these kind of almost like fighting dolls essentially.”
Did your Scott Pilgrim experience pay off in the fight scenes?
Edgar Wright: “Yeah. What was really nice about doing this film is obviously a return to Britain and working with the cast again. I brought a lot of the crew from Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz to Toronto to make Scott Pilgrim. There’s actually a lot of British crew on there. Then actually, two people like Bill Pope, the cinematographer, and Brad Allan, the stunt choreographer, an American and Australian came to the UK to work on this. That was really nice because then it was actually a culmination of all of the relationships I’ve had with crew of the last kind of 10 years. There’s crew members from way back from Spaced and then Bill Pope who shot The Matrix. I thought I’d bring an American cinematographer to shoot 12 pubs, because pubs by their very nature are not very cinematic. I’m thinking, ‘Let’s get the guy from The Matrix to shoot a pub. Let’s make this really sh**ty boozer look cinematic.’ I sort of thought, ‘Let’s get a foreigner’s eye on British boozes.'”