We recently posted a lengthy interview from Comic-Con with Simon Pegg for The World’s End over breakfast of all things, and next on tap in our series is none other than co-writer and director Edgar Wright.
During our time with Wright, the ever-busy filmmaker discussed his approach to the story of The World’s End, how the “Cornetto Trilogy” parallels his own life in some ways, why he’s never made a sequel, his thoughts on another trilogy with Pegg and Nick Frost, and much more.
Wright on Not Being Afraid of Going “Too Dark” with The World’s End:
I think the thing that we tried to do was to- and it’s a ballsy thing to kind of do because people aren’t expecting it- but we decided to get a bit dark and emotional at the end. But because it has been six years since the last movie we made like this, and with Shaun- considering the kind of story we were telling- we weren’t afraid to get dark. I think if you set something up, even within a title, at some point it’s going to get really tough for these characters. I think if it was something where it was a complete breeze for all these characters, it would be really wrong. You have to have these characters hit rock bottom before they can come up.
The other thing that I felt was where I watch a lot of the ‘man-child’ comedies and they’re all really, really funny but a lot of them never really scratch below the surface. I wanted to do something where you could make it really funny but you could also have some honesty to the story and be really frank about where it’s all leading. I mean- there is some triumph in the resolution of The World’s End, it’s just all very strange (laughs).
Wright Discusses the Challenges of Filmmaking:
I think people underestimate just how hard it is to get to a film made; even with this movie, it’s part of a series in a way but it’s also a stand-alone movie that’s an original concept. It’s kind of depressing and that’s why you see a lot of really talented directors take on franchise films because they have a choice where they can either get something made now and keep working or you can spend three years getting a passion project off the ground.
It’s really tough and I realize how fortunate we are to make these movies with Working Title because these films really are very personal stories. They aren’t franchise stories; it’s not adapted material so it can be difficult.
Wright on Why Fans will Never see a Shaun of the Dead or Hot Fuzz sequel:
We never wanted to do a sequel to Shaun of the Dead and to Hot Fuzz and since it takes about three years to get these films made, it seemed pointless to lose that time focusing on a follow-up. I don’t know, I’ve never done a sequel before; I don’t know if I even want to because it’s taking away from your opportunity to tell another original story. I think that’s part of the reason why we made this a trilogy; after Shaun of the Dead, everyone said they wanted another Shaun of the Dead and we didn’t want to make one so we said, “Well, how about this?” and made Hot Fuzz. I liked how we approached our trilogy, really; it’s like we could make a franchise but make each film about a different subject each time.
At first, we kind of thought of it as a joke but then we realized after the second film that there were certain things that carried over into Hot Fuzz and there are elements from our first two films that show up in The World’s End too.
Wright on the Various Story Inspirations and Changes to The World’s End:
We didn’t do this straight away after Hot Fuzz- we all went off and made separate films so that was a conscientious decision on our part that we didn’t want to make this movie right after the last one. I think that was a good thing to do too because we wouldn’t have written the same screenplay six years ago. We did have the story idea six years ago but the third act was quite different and it was also something that we were blocked on. So we decided to forget all that, this is what the ending should be and ultimately, both stories ended up at the same place.
We sort of thought about the idea of incorporating time travel originally into the third act where these guys travel back to 1990 but it seemed like there was so much legwork to get there and it just felt too much like Back to the Future Part II so we just thought there was already enough going on and cut that idea.
This story more came from this pub crawl I did as a teenager and I had even written a script about it when I was 21 that was more of a ‘night out’ kind of movie. No genre elements at all, just a guy going out with his friends getting drunk. The opening three minutes of The World’s End is like an abbreviated version of that original script. The idea also came from that idea of going home again and things just never quite being the same or how you remembered them ever again.
It was an idea we sort of played around with in Hot Fuzz, you can see the seeds for this story there. We shot Hot Fuzz in my old hometown in fact and the village you’re supposed to be seeing is this quaint, picturesque village but when we returned there to shoot, I ended up having to paint out digitally the Starbucks and the major shoe store…and the phone store (laughs). So it was a very strange experience for me to have to go back and digitally rub out all the progress.
Wright Discussing Making Movies that Fans Will Want to Revisit for Years:
We’ve always done that- even back as far as when we were working on “Spaced.” We found that people always like to enjoy entertainment again and again so we wanted to give people a reason to go back then. That’s why we like to structure stories with that sort of ‘added layer’ to it so that even if you’ve seen a movie and know how it ends, you can still enjoy it when you go back and start looking for all those smaller, minute details you might have missed the first time.
Even classic films like The Godfather Part II, there are still things you’re discovering on the third watch. We love doing that, where there are omens of things to come that we set up subtly early on in a film. It’s almost like setting up a bunch of dominoes to fall later on.
Wright on Whether or Not We Can Expect Another Trilogy with Pegg and Frost:
That’s something we get asked all the time- even before we started working on The World’s End, everyone was already asking us, “So, when’s the next trilogy?” so it’s something we get asked very often. It took us something like six years to get these other two films made and that was exhausting (laughs). So no, there are no immediate plans for another trilogy but yes, of course we’d love to work together again. I mean, who knows- we could be on the US press tour and some idea may spark but for now, we’re going to go off and focus on our own projects.
That’s how The World’s End began though- on the Hot Fuzz press tour. When you’ve been sitting at the Sydney Airport for an hour waiting for your bags, that’s when the ideas come (laughs).
Check out our The World’s End review!
The World’s End is directed by Edgar Wright and stars Simon Pegg along with long time buddy Nick Frost, Rosamund Pike, Martin Freeman, Paddy Considine, and Eddie Marsan.
Look for the flick in theatres on August 23rd.
20 years after attempting an epic pub crawl, five childhood friends reunite when one of them becomes hell bent on trying the drinking marathon again. They are convinced to stage an encore by mate Gary King, a 40-year old man trapped at the cigarette end of his teens, who drags his reluctant pals to their home town and once again attempts to reach the fabled pub, The World’s End. As they attempt to reconcile the past and present, they realize the real struggle is for the future, not just theirs but humankind’s. Reaching The World’s End is the least of their worries.
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