Film fans have patiently waited six years since 2007’s buddy cop spoof Hot Fuzz, for director Edgar Wright to conclude his Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy, which began in 2004 with rom zom com Shaun of the Dead. Edgar Wright was reunited today with his co-stars Simon Pegg and Nick Frost at San Diego’s Comic-Con for a discussion of the final film in the trilogy, The World’s End. The Nerdist’s Chris Hardwick moderated.
The panel kicked off with a video retrospective of the trilogy before introducing the team. Hardwick noted The World’s End has a Doctor Who vibe, and Wright agreed it’s as if The Doctor was hammered, so ‘Doctor Hooch’. Pegg said his character, Gary, is a bit of a dick, but with a dark truth that explains his dickishness. Still stuck in the nineties, dressing like a sad goth. Frost described his character, Andy as an angry, buttoned-down, “hard nut,” lawyer type.
Wright explained the origin of the Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy as an ice cream snack that ties the films together, a post-hangover cure for him. The flavors are Strawberry for Shaun of the Dead, Blue for Hot Fuzz, and Green mint chip for World’s End.
Wright felt lucky to be able to make Shaun at the time, and really felt the power of the film’s appeal when they came to Comic-Con first in 2004. Hardwick noted than Pegg and Frost’s comedy works so well, because they’re such good friends in real life, and Pegg noted sometimes it’s hard to remember that when working on individual projects, that natural camaraderie isn’t always there. But being together with Frost is like getting back together with a spouse after a brief love affair.
Pegg explained that what makes this a trilogy is the theme of growing up, becoming mature, and perpetual adolecence. Wright said The World’s End was informed by his own experiences of friends reuniting in their home town after a long absence. Hardwick confirmed that there’s LOTS in the film that isn’t spoiled by the trailer. Wright joked that next Pegg and Frost would be in an Ant-Man spinoff: Abdo-man and the Mighty Thorax.
At the start of the audience Q&A, a fan complained of the long wait between Pegg and Frost films. Frost explained that between films they had been writing a lot. Wright, Frost, and Pegg said the comedians they admired were Lonely Island, Louis CK, Parks & Recreation, and The Larry Sanders Show.
Frost was asked how much of their performances are ad-lib, and he said there’s not really any time in the schedule for improvisation, so they try to work all of the funny lines into the writing process. Pegg agreed that they’re fairly strict about keeping to the script.
A button-bedecked fan got mercilessly ribbed by the panel before she asked how they fit Martin Freeman into the film’s schedule with his busy Hobbit workload. Freeman shot a solid couple of weeks with The World’s End before moving on to The Hobbit, and then came back after The Hobbit to follow up some shots. Wright noted the audience wouldn’t be displeased with Freeman’s role in the film.
Wright was asked if he’d do a Journey to the Center of the Earth-type film next, to which he agreed he’d love to do that type of high-adventure project. Wright noted that The World’s End was fairly challenging, with the most punishing fight scenes he’s ever shot. Pegg said they invented a new fighting style, ‘Pub-Fu’, and he’d actually broken his hand during the shoot. He said the hardest scene he had to shoot in the Trilogy was in Shaun of the Dead, when he had to shoot his own mother.
Pegg said that Shaun is about Evolution, Hot Fuzz is about De-evolution, so The World’s End would be about Revolution, if only to give it a lofty symmetry. Edgar’s favorite film of his own is The World’s End, Pegg’s favorite character is Gary from this film, because it’s the most personal experience ha’s had with a character. Frost noted that Ed from Shaun wasn’t much of a stretch for him and his new character, Andy, was more complex, smart and angry, so it was a bit more challenging.
Wright was asked if he’d ever go back to Spaced, and he said it probably wouldn’t happen because he’d like to leave those characters where they were. Pegg agreed that the series ended on a nice note and that time is gone.
Wright was asked if he was ever surprised by the final edit of a film. He said The World’s End was shot more of less in chronological order, but it’s always great to see a film he’s working on when it’s first screened whole.
The panel was asked what their favorite beer is, to which Wright replied red wine, because after filming in pubs for weeks, he’s now sick of beer.
Frost noted that nowadays young filmmakers have a better chance to get their films seen than ever before, due to YouTube, and the most important this is to not be afraid to make mistakes. He also noted while writing, to write something first that makes you laugh, that you’re passionate about, that means something to you, not just what you think others would like.
The panel finished up with YouTube mashup artist Mike Relm‘s Three Flavours Cornetto Trilogy remix.
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