Matt Pais, @mattpais
RedEye movie critic
August 21, 2013
“The World’s End” star/co-writer Simon Pegg wants to make a distinction between his film, which involves five guys on an epic pub crawl, and the Chicago-made, likewise beer-centric “Drinking Buddies.”
“’Drinking Buddies’ is a film about drinking. ‘The World’s End’ is not a film about drinking specifically. We had to do other things other than drink,” says Pegg regarding how the “World’s End” cast, unlike the “Drinking Buddies” folks, didn’t drink real beer on set. “I met Olivia Wilde recently; we were talking about it. She’s an amazing actress, and it sounded like [drinking] was part of the process. With this film, it would have been impossible; we had to do very complex fight choreography, which I don’t think they did in ‘Drinking Buddies.’”
No, they didn’t. In “The World’s End,” which opens Friday and caps the trilogy including “Shaun of the Dead” and “Hot Fuzz,” Gary (Pegg) pressures his old mates (Nick Frost, Paddy Considine, Martin Freeman, Eddie Marsan) into another go at the Golden Mile, a 12-pub crawl they attempted but never finished more than two decades earlier. At the Park Hyatt, Pegg, 43, Frost, 41, and director/co-writer Edgar Wright, 39, talked about the film’s unglamorous presentation of pub crawls, hard-partying nurses and what they’d do if they could recapture their youth.
How much do you expect people to create their own version of the Golden Mile?
Edgar Wright: Well, I think quite a few people have, although somebody said, “Do you feel responsible for the amount of pub crawls being planned right now?” And I said, “I think we make it pretty clear in the movie what usually happens during a pub crawl.” If you are doing a pub crawl, you are basically saying, “We are on a mission to get completely obliterated.”
Nick Frost: Your world might end.
EW: It’s kind of what the movie’s about: In doing a quest like this, somebody like Gary King’s character, who’s kind of almost like the party monster, there’s that march or die approach. He says a line in the movie that’s in the trailer: “We’re going to get to the world’s end if it kills us.” That pretty much says it. I think we show the ups and downs. [Laughs]
It’s also that you can’t try so hard. The best nights usually don’t start with the grandest ambitions.
Simon Pegg: For me anyone watching this film and then going on a pub crawl is like watching “Trainspotting” and taking heroin.
EW: It did make it look pretty sexy! I was thinking, “I’d love to be as thin as Ewan McGregor. Maybe that’s the way to do it.” [Looks into our video camera] Don’t do heroin, kids. Please.
If you got to be in your early 20s again, what would be the first thing you did?
EW: Try to get off with Joanne Dixon again. [looks in camera] Hello, Joanne. [Laughs]
NF: Nothing. I think I’d just be—
EW: Go back to Spike Island?
NF: No. I mean, it was good.
SP: Do you mean be back in the ‘90s or we’d be physically younger?
Physically. It would be now, but you’d be 21 again.
EW: I’d just make a mental note saying, “You do not need to eat as much Chinese [food].”
NF: So I’m not married?
NF: Well, I think I’d probably turn into Illinois’ premiere p***y-hound.
So you’re living here now?
EW: He’s coming here.
SP: And pork swordsman.
EW: But you would specifically come to Illinois to …
NF: Well, the question was based here, so I thought I’d just pop up here.
We’d love to have you. That would be great.
EW: If we all turned 21 right now, the first thing we’d do is blow off this interview and be out of here.
No offense taken.
NF: [gestures to photographer Jessica Zerby] I’d be hitting on this girl right here.
EW: What we’d probably do is steal your best friend’s dad’s Ferrari--
SP: I can’t think of anything worse. I’d [bleeping] hate to be that age again. I would absolutely [bleeping] hate it.
EW: --Take Mia Sara to the Sears Tower.
SP: Who? Who’s Mia Sara?
EW: The lady from “Ferris Bueller.”
SP: Oh, right … I think we got robbed of a bacchanalian youth because of AIDS. I know that’s not over yet, but the year we turned 16 suddenly we couldn’t have sex like our parents did in the ‘60s. Although there still isn’t a cure for AIDS.
EW: I’d just like to say for the record that this film is a comedy. I know we’ve so far covered heroin and AIDS.
NF: And p***y hounds.
EW: I’d just like to say that Mia Sara from “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” goes to the same gym as me in L.A. and I saw her and was like, “Oh my god, she hasn’t aged at all.” I was like, “Oh. My. God. It’s Mia Sara from ‘Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.’”
SP: Are you hitting on her over the [bleeping] Internet?
SP: You’re hoping she sees that and thinks, “Oh, he’s a nice young man!”
EW: [to camera] Hello.
SP You’ve tried to get laid twice in this interview so far!
EW: I know!
SP: Joanne Dixon and Mia Sara.
You worked a lot with the actors playing younger versions of your characters. Did you ever have any surreal moments like, “Wow, I’m interacting with this person who’s the younger version of me”?
SP: When Tom [Law] slept with my wife, that was weird.
SP: We had a day at home together so we could get to know each other and talk to each other about stuff. And then one of his things was, he went upstairs with my wife Maureen. But I got to hang out with his girlfriend, which was fun, although we didn’t have much in common. She was 17.
NF: Who cares?
EW: Tell him about the height thing. That was interesting.
SP: Oh yeah. I had to wear lifts in the film. Because Tom was about an inch-and-a-half taller than me. Because there was a point in the movie where we had to stand face to face, most of the entire film I had to have a slight lift in my shoes so that I would be elevated to the right height accordingly.
You did seem especially commanding in this film.
EW: He towers over Martin Freeman.
SP: When I’m with Martin, I’m like a head taller. I’m taller than Martin anyway, but--
EW: That’s why we called you FrankenPegg.
SP: FrankenPegg, that was me.
NF: And little Martin.
SP: And little, tiny Martin!
EW: Martin Freeman’s double does look quite a lot like him, but Simon’s, Nick’s and Martin’s are all wearing prosthetic noses. I had seen an early cut of the film “Looper,” and that gave me the confidence to think, “Oh, I think we can do this with prosthetics.”
SP: Yeah, with the nose.
EW: But then Martin Freeman saw his double and said, “Wait wait wait, are you wearing a fake nose? Is my nose that big?” He goes, “I don’t look like [bleeping] Cyrano de Bergerac, do I?” [Laughs] So Martin had an issue with the size of his double’s [nose].
SP: When they are face to face --
EW: It’s pretty amazing. It’s ever so slightly bigger!
SP: It’s slightly bigger.
EW: It’s like martin had a nose job--
NF: We had to get Martin’s double to wear the “Hobbit” feet.
Pub crawls are big in the U.S. but I get the impression that they’re even bigger in the UK. Do you think that’s true, and if so, why are they bigger out there?
EW: I think it’s the same. Usually I would say the three groups that would do it—actually I think four—would be teenagers, students, rugby or football teams. Would that be correct?
EW: Like sports teams. And nurses. [Laughs] Nurses have a tough job.
NF: Nurses [are] hard.
SP: They’re hard core.
EW: And so when they go hard, they rage hard.
Not doctors, just nurses?
EW: I think just nurses.
SP: Doctors are pussies.
NF: The nurses do the legwork.
SP: The legs with the high little stockings.
NF: There’s only so much [bleep] and puke you can clean up without having to go on a bar crawl.
EW: If this film ever got remade, I’d like it to be an all-female version with nurses.
SP: That’d be amazing.
NF: That would be amazing.
Why didn’t you just do that the first time?
SP: Who’s to say we didn’t?
NF: There’s a second incarnation of that.
Mia Sara in …
EW: [Laughs] I like that idea.
Nick, you trained as a dancer for “Cuban Fury.” I was wondering if you had any interest in showing off some of those moves.
I could dance too.
SP: You do it then.
I don’t think people want to see me dance by myself.
NF: I want $1,000 if you want me to dance.
I’m only permitted to pay like $600.
NF: Well, then you’re going to have to just imagine what it would look like.
I already have.
EW: I think you should just make it rain in here and then he might start dancing.
NF: Make it rain.
What would you guys do if I just pulled out 1,000 singles—
SP: We’d probably dance.
I usually do that.
EW: I think that’s how you make us feel 21 again: “Let’s go spend this money!”
Edgar, I know you don’t want to talk about your future directorial effort “Ant-Man.” I was hoping you could tell me everyone who’s not playing him, so we can narrow it down.
EW: People not playing him include—
SP: Topher Grace.
EW: Kevin James.
NF: Ryan Reynolds.
EW: What’d you say, Topher Grace? [Laughs] I think Rosanne Barr is not playing the part.
SP: The cast of “Game of Thrones.”
EW: None of the cast of “Game of Thrones.” Well, that’s quite expansive.
SP: It is, actually.
EW: That’s too many people.
SP: Don’t want to rule [everyone] out.
EW: Let’s rule out also …
NF: Sean Bean.
SP: John Goodman’s definitely not playing him.
EW: John Goodman. We’ve done two of the cast of “Rosanne” now. Ed O’Neill is not playing Ant-Man.
SP: Weirdly, Nick and I might be playing him.
Both of you?
EW: It’s going to be like “I’m Not There,” the Bob Dylan film. It’s going to be—
SP: Me, Nick and Cate Blanchett.
NF: Like a Chinese New Year’s dragon. I’ll be the thorax, someone will be the abdomen and Cate will be the head. She’ll be doing the big ant’s eyes with her hands.
SP: Which she’s very good at.
On drunk acting: “The key to drunk acting is don’t try to act drunk. Try to act sober. It’s all in the eyes. I think drunk people try and not appear drunk. So that’s what we try and do. In terms of techniques, we were pretty good at drunk acting I think. I think all the guys were … We did have a lot to draw on, but we had lots of drunk comparison rehearsals. So they’d say one pint, we’d have to act one pint drunk. Two, three and on it would go until we got to 12 pints.” (NF)
On playing ex-friends instead of best friends: “It was really good fun, wasn’t it? … The relationship between Gary and Andy in the film doesn’t exist without friendship. It is because of friendship. So we were able to draw on our own affection for each other to imagine what it would be like if the other had really let the other down. And it was really good to play that because it enabled us to be enemies and yet remain in the same situation. Usually enemies in a film, they’re separate until the big showdown at the end, whereas with this we could be together for the entire movie. It was as pleasing if not more so than—it’s so easy for us to be friends [onscreen] because we are friends. So to actually stretch ourselves and play people that were at odds with each other, at least Nick is with me, it was one of the most fun experiences ever.”
Watch Matt on “You & Me This Morning,” Friday at 6:55 a.m. on WCIU, the U
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