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-by Ken Plume

pegg-01.jpgAfter jobbing as a standup and working in a string of groundbreaking UK TV series (including Asylum, Big Train, and the beloved sitcom Spaced), Simon Pegg - along with co-writer and director Edgar Wright - hit the big screen with the even more beloved Shaun of the Dead.

Their latest is the genre-bending cop flick (and Shaun of the Dead follow-up) Hot Fuzz, currently in theaters.

Pegg stars as a London cop banished to the hinterlands by jealous colleagues, who’s then teamed with a witless partner (Nick Frost) before stumbling on a series of suspicious events that uncover the dark underbelly of the seemingly bucolic village.

We had a chance to chat wth Pegg as literally the last official interview of the Hot Fuzz press rounds…

(Be sure to check out our interview with Edgar Wright here)

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KEN PLUME: I assume you’re probably sick of answering Hot Fuzz questions so I thought we’d just talk about Big Train.

SIMON PEGG: (laughs) You’re my last interview, actually, of the whole press tour…

KP: Really?

PEGG: Yeah.

KP: I’m never going to live up to that.

PEGG: You’re the 500th caller.

KP: What do I win?

pegg-09.jpgPEGG: A Big Train DVD.

KP: That’s actually what I was hoping for.

PEGG: (laughs)

KP: You’ve made a small boy’s… well, large man’s dreams come true.

PEGG: You know, they don’t even give me a free Big Train DVD.

KP: That’s unfortunate. But it is the BBC.

PEGG: Yeah.

KP: But you would think that Graham or somebody would send you a set…

PEGG: Yeah, I know. It’s hard to get free stuff from certain people.

KP: I think maybe you just need to start a website, simonsdvdappeal.com. Just “Here’s a list of the stuff I haven’t gotten yet. If anyone can send something from HMV or something, it’d be appreciated.”

PEGG: There’s plenty of it…

KP: It could be your own registry - like for a wedding or a baby shower - but stuff that you want…

PEGG: Well, I was in Dublin recently and I was walking down the street and walked past a shop and, unbeknownst to me, there had been a 12-inch talking me released. A Shaun of the Dead doll that I didn’t actually… I knew it was coming out, but I didn’t know it was already in the shops. So I went into the shop and they actually gave me one, which was sweet. But I don’t want to embarrass Universal by complaining that they set my tiny version free in the shops without even telling me.

KP: And even then, do they send you a box?

PEGG: No.

KP: So, police officers can commandeer a car - you, as a celebrity, should have the ability to go, “You know what? That’s me. I want it.”

PEGG: I know. I wouldn’t ever be so pushy, but I was quite pleased that when I went into the shop they actually did say, “You shouldn’t have to pay for this.” (laughs)

KP: That was good of them.

PEGG: Yeah, I thought it was sweet.

KP: Of course, they went hungry for a month after that because of the loss of that sale…

PEGG: Yeah. Well, what I did is I autographed another couple so they could flog it for five more pounds.

KP: Well, that’s good. I guess if they really want to get on your good side they should have offered you a smoothie along with the doll.

PEGG: Exactly. That’s the way to my heart.

KP: Have you finally fulfilled that dream of having that machine installed in your home?

pegg-03.jpgPEGG: The unlimited smoothie machine?

KP: Yes.

PEGG: No. I think it’s called craft services.

KP: So, you’re going to get a craft services installed in your home.

PEGG: That would be nice - just to have them hanging around providing me with treats. The only thing about craft services I’ve found, working on an America film, is that you’re not hungry when it comes to lunchtime because you’ve just been pecking all morning. They keep putting out peanut butter sandwiches and nuts and stuff.

KP: That’s when they have the most outrageous things available at those mealtimes - so everyone’s full and yet you have lobster and steak…

PEGG: Yeah, and then you get this amazing sort of beautiful pork belly and roast potatoes and you’ve spent all morning eating beef jerky.

KP: So what were the craft services like on Shaun or Hot Fuzz?

PEGG: We don’t really have craft services. We have catering companies that come along. You get your breakfast and then you get a midmorning snack, possibly, and then you have your lunch, and that’s it.

KP: So, it’s literally like you’re in school.

PEGG: Exactly. It’s not like there’s a running buffet - it’s regimented.

KP: You should issue milk cards or something to the cast, and they can go up and get them punched. “I’m awfully sorry, but you’ve had your juice for the day, Nick.”

PEGG: Exactly, (laughs)

KP: “Can I have one more?” “No, you’ve already had your chit.”

PEGG: It is. It’s like Dickens.

KP: So you’re living Oliver Twist.

PEGG: Exactly. That’s what the British film industry’s like, it’s like Oliver Twist!

KP: What was the biggest, besides craft services, sort of culture shock doing a Hollywood production?

PEGG: It was remarkably similar. In fact, that was almost the bigger shock, was that the production structure remains the same. There’s still the director and the 1st AD and the gaffers and the props people and the costume and makeup. It’s all pretty much exactly the same - it’s just happening on a bigger platform. The video village is more high tech and there’s more chairs, but that’s it. I mean generally speaking, you’re doing the same job of work. It’s not like everyone is walking around on gold hoverboards.

KP: Were you expecting that?

PEGG: I don’t know what I was expecting. I kind of arrived in Beverly Hills and stayed there for a few days on my own trying to get over my jet lag, being slightly freaked out because I hadn’t received any script pages. And then…

KP: Welcome to Hollywood…

PEGG: Yeah, and then like received this monstrous monologue the night before I had to shoot it. And turned up extraordinarily disoriented - which is compounded by suddenly being face-to-face with Tom Cruise. So it was a strange but gratifying experience. I went back again and shot some more stuff, and that was a lot easier. I had a much better time because I kind of knew what to expect and I was looking forward to seeing JJ again, who I got on with really well. So it was a good experience.

KP: Well, you and Edgar used to - and it’s more common in the UK, where the rehearsal process is usually a big part of the production.

PEGG: Massively, yeah. It’s absolutely vital to us that we have a period of time where everybody can get together and go through their lines and have time to come up with stuff, as well. I think because the way Edgar shoots, there’s not really much room for impro once we get on the set. It’s pretty regimented when we’re on there because the camera works sort of symbiotically with the script, so the minute you start adding things, the cameraman might not get to his right point at the right time. So we like to have a period where it’s just us. Particularly with Nick. We get Nick a week before anyone else and we go through the whole thing. All his lines. Anything that he wants to bring to it or that he kind of… a joke he thinks of will, if we like it - which is usually yes - we’ll feed it into the script.

KP: Is there anything for which you’ve had to tell Nick, “No, that’s not working…”?

PEGG: Sometimes you do. Edgar and me are quite anal, and obviously Nick is on our wavelength, so pretty much everything he says we love, but sometimes people will suggest things and you kinda go, “Um, yeah, we could try that…” which basically means no.

KP: That’s what you told Bill (Bailey), wasn’t it?

PEGG: Yeah, (laughs)

KP: “I can’t bring the otter?”

PEGG: Yeah, exactly. (laughs)

KP: “People are always saying that to me.”

PEGG: (laughs)

KP: Of course, he was talking about Phil Jupitus.

PEGG: Yes, yes, of course. Yeah, his otter thing was hilarious.

KP: By the way, that was a very good use of Bill in the film…

PEGG: Yeah. We worked with Bill on Spaced a long time ago, and he’s always grateful. I find him very hard to work with because he just makes me laugh. It’s actually slightly shooting yourself in the foot when you employ him for me. But he’s great, and it was lovely to have him in the film. Because we did write him a part in Shaun of the Dead, but he couldn’t do it.

KP: It’s unfortunate that more people haven’t utilized Bill’s talent.

PEGG: I think so. He’s very much still a standup comic, though. He’s still very much a live performer. He does the odd TV and movie, but first and foremost he’s a standup comic. It’ll be nice to see him on the big screen a bit more I think.

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KP: I’ve always been curious exactly what your standup act was like…

PEGG: I would say it was like surreal observationalism. It’s hard to remember.

KP: I’ve heard about what it was through the filter of Nick, when I talked to him a few years ago…

PEGG: Yeah. It was conversational and a bit absurd. It wasn’t a character as much as an extension of me. It’s the most immediate and exhilarating form of performance, I think, because you’re validated immediately. Even more than in theater, because in theater there’s the pressure to just sit and watch rather than actually respond. And also it’s you - generally speaking, if you’re a standup, it’s your material. So it’s like the crack cocaine of performance.

KP: Do you miss it at all?

PEGG: Absolutely. I don’t miss the grind of it. I don’t miss the schlep. People would say, “Oh god, it must be the hardest job in the world,” and I would actually disagree. I think it’s probably one of the best, in terms of how great it is. Because once you get to a point when you know your material’s good and you know you’re good, you’re pretty unflammable, in a way. Even if you have a bad gig and you walk into a room that doesn’t want to listen, you know it’s not your fault. It’s not demoralizing. It doesn’t happen very often, either, when you get to a certain match fitness. So, that, I don’t miss - but what I do miss is the fact that as a jobing standup, you would pretty much have to spend your entire weekend in a pub without drinking. And that’s tough to do. I could now. I could probably, if I had the wherewithal and the time, I could set up like a little stint in a West End theater and do a live show. But I wouldn’t want to go in there half-cocked. I’d want to get back out on the circuit and get an act together that was really good, and then do it.

KP: Do you ever see yourself getting to a point where you would do that?

PEGG: I’ve done a couple of gigs recently. I did a couple of little quick shows at the Comedy Store, and when we were filming Hot Fuzz I did a gig at the local comedy club. It was fun. It reminded me of just how much fun it was. It is. So you never know. Never say never.

KP: So there is, at this point, no video of your act…

PEGG: I did some television appearances in the 90’s…

KP: On the Comedy Store program?

PEGG: A show called The Stand Up Show, for the BBC. Which I have, but I doubt anyone else does. They probably won’t turn up on YouTube or anything.

KP: Are we taking bets?

PEGG: Well, you never know. That’s the weird thing - it’s incredible what does turn up on the internet…

KP: Anything that you’ve been surprised at, or shocked at, or disappointed, that’s turned up on YouTube?

PEGG: Not disappointed… Oh, the one thing - there’s a clip of some guy who supposedly looks like me, playing the guitar, and it says underneath “Simon Pegg Shredding It Up” or something. I just saw it the other day. And it’s just not me. It’s just someone who looks maybe… insultingly like me.

KP: Well, that’s nice. And I bet he gets free drinks and free dolls.

PEGG: Yeah. Everything else… I quite admire the ingenuity of people to bother to put these things up. There are little phone camera segments of us at various things we’ve been to recently in the run-up to Hot Fuzz. Oddly enough, I think the most watched thing that’s up there is a DVD extra that Nick and I did for his…

KP: Danger, 50,000 Volts

PEGG: Yeah. This Danger, 50,000 Zombies. It was this ridiculous bit. The whole thing happened because the company that made Nick’s show lost all the tapes, all the rushes for the show. So when they came to the DVD there was no hope of deleted scenes or outtakes or anything. So we thought, “We have to make this…” And then they were charging a lot of money for this DVD. Nick was saying, “I’ve got to make this worth people’s money, otherwise it’s just insulting.” So we hastily put together this kind of half-improvised survival guide to zombies. It’s just utterly ridiculous anyway, and it’s on YouTube, and it’s had like 150,000 hits or somerhing. It’s quite bizarre.

KP: And now that DVD’s available in the US. I’ll bet half the people don’t even know it’s out here.

PEGG: I know, I know.

KP: Does it disturb you how many people are coming forward claiming to look like you?

PEGG: Yes.

KP: In fact, one of them works for us.

PEGG: Oh really? I have two MySpace impersonators.

KP: He met you a few weeks back and introduced himself as your son.

PEGG: Oh yeah, right, yes. That’s happened a couple of times. Any sort of faintly ginger, potato-headed, snub-nosed person is going to claim to look a bit like me. It’s a cross that they have to bear as well as I do.

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Pegg and Quick Stop’s own Ian Bonds

KP: Does anyone go up to Nick and say that? You never see them showing up with a Nick counterpart…

PEGG: We did a radio show in Seattle recently and there was a guy… the main DJ on the show was a big fan and he had a kind of sidekick who was a hefty guy a bit like Nick, and we were joking about him being Nick’s equivalent. And it turned out they were actually born on the same day, which really freaked us out. There’s an on-air freak-out in Seattle on opening day.

KP: Well, that’s good.

PEGG: Yeah.

KP: I’ll bet that’s on YouTube.

PEGG: Well, you know what, it might be, because there was video footage. It was opening day and it was about 7 in the morning, and we went to this radio station. It was our first press engagement of the day. And everybody was drunk. It was like a big beer celebration and we walked into this bar and it was like, “Hang on, what time of day is it? This is ridiculous.” It was 50% sort of baseball jocks with pitchers of beer and 50% are sort of fans, these lovely colorful geek kind of people that we are.

pegg-05.jpgKP: And by the end of the day you had won them all over.

PEGG: By the end of the day we’d won 50% of them over.

KP: You can’t beat that effort.

PEGG: No it’s pretty good.

KP: And now that you’re working on the road comedy with Nick, you’re finally, fully going to become Kermit the Frog and Fozzie Bear.

PEGG: Absolutely, yeah. We’re trying to. It’s not easy when you’re doing a press tour as intensive as this one. We came away with the best intentions of, like, “We’ll ride on planes and we’ll grab five minutes here and there.” But the second that we can switch off, we literally just, you know, (laughs) don’t want to do anything. We sort of lie on our back in a cold dark room.

KP: I found it interesting - obviously in tackling Shaun of the Dead, and particularly Hot Fuzz as a genre piece - within UK films, you don’t exactly see big action pieces like Hot Fuzz

PEGG: No, not at all.

KP: In fact, I was talking to Edgar about it, that it seems like the entirety of British cinema is in 1:85, and to have a British 2:35 film that isn’t a Bond film is quite rare…

PEGG: Yeah, exactly. Well, Edgar was very specific about that.

KP: He was surprised, and pleased, that I commented on it. But another genre that you don’t really see in the UK is a road picture.

PEGG: Right.

KP: Which I’m assuming is just because of the size difference.

PEGG: Absolutely. There’s no… you can travel the length of the country in eight hours.

KP: I can’t even travel the length of my state in eight hours.

PEGG: Exactly. And you can travel the width of it in less, so that whole thing doesn’t really exist unless you’re doing a film about somebody who’s going up and down.

KP: Or runs a fish & chip van.

PEGG: Yeah, and is trying to circumnavigate the UK. The film we’re writing is set over here, and when we came up with the idea, in the back garden, when we were shooting Shaun of the Dead, it was something that we always envisaged as being set in the U.S. - I mean, it’s about two British guys, but it’s definitely set in the U.S.

KP: What was your perception of the country the first time that you arrived in the U.S. and transversed it at all?

PEGG: Well, we had a little sort of research trip at the beginning of the year. I was utterly floored by the size of it and the crippling emptiness it engenders when you’ve been traveling for an entire day and you haven’t seen a single soul and the road seems to come to a hill and you think, “Okay, well, there’s going to be something over this hill…” and it’s just more road. It’s quite incredible. But then the scenery can be fantastic. We had this day on the trip that we called “awe day”, because it was just… I think we were coming through Utah into Wyoming, past Salt Lake City and over the mountains, and it was really snowing. We’d had a load of snow and it was just… every single corner inspired this awe from us, which was great. It was wonderful. So, that was amazing. But it was incredible to be in a country with such a gigantic population and travel for so long and not see a single human being.

KP: There are certainly different perspectives on the U.S., from a UK point of view. When I was talking with Phil Jupitus, he talked about one of his dreams is to take a road trip across the U.S. And then you hear about the perspective of the U.S. that someone like Jeremy Clarkson has, which isn’t particularly pleasant. I’ve talked to Neil Innes, who did a tour the year before last, and he just was continually baffled in being able to time things right, because he always thought he’d be someplace hours sooner than he actually was.

PEGG: Yeah, because our perspective is just different. Our notion of size and distance is different. It was weird. We’ve had two odd experiences which we kind of hoped might bode well for Hot Fuzz. But on two occasions, both on this trip and when we were doing our road trip, we racked up in a tiny little… it was literally like a kind of a town in Nevada that was just some trailers and a diner. And we went in, and immediately two guys went, “Hey, Shaun of the Dead!” (laughs) But we hadn’t seen a single person for 100 miles. And then we were in Waco, Texas, driving from Dallas to Austin, and stopped off at a gas station, and the same thing happened again. These two guys, “Hey, Shaun of the Dead!” So it was a peculiar thing to be so far away from everything and yet still be spotted. It was both creepy and encouraging, I guess.

KP: What has been your view - as a comedian, as an actor, performer, writer, filmmaker - on what success in the U.S. means? There are UK comedians like Eddie Izzard who chased establishing themselves in the U.S., and there are some that could care less about the U.S. …

PEGG: It has to do with - what kind of fundamentalizes our sort of output, in terms of Shaun and Hot Fuzz, is it’s kind of a diet of American culture, growing up. There is a desire - and it’s nothing to do with finance or even credibility - it’s to do with getting it right. The acceptance of Hot Fuzz or Shaun of the Dead in America means that we’ve done what we set out to do. Do you know what I mean? Because we sort of adopted American archetypes. So, for us, it’s gratifying, because it just means that we got the subject matter right. We’re finding on the press tour that the American audiences seem to respond to Hot Fuzz with even greater enthusiasm than the British, in terms of how they receive it, and that’s amazing. It’s also, obviously - in terms of making movies - it’s the biggest territory in the western world for moviemaking. So you do tend to need to have a presence here in order to progress in the industry.

KP: Why do you think that so few British filmmakers tend to try to attempt a film of this type?

PEGG: I think, generally speaking, British film will be about British things, and there’s a cultural barrier between us, in that we live in different countries and, despite speaking the same language, we have different life experiences and different… the minutia of our cultures are different, and often British films will be about those things. And, you know, what you have essentially is a foreign movie. In this territory, a British film is a foreign film, and a lot of people see it that way. I guess the way that… without ever being divisive or even meaning… using this as a way of doing well here, the thing that we’ve done is kind of take what we’ve learned from American cinema - what’s inspired us growing up - and kind of tried to make those films at home. So, immediately you have the familiarity both home and abroad which seems to have worked quite well.

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KP: It always upsets me when people try to say that these films are spoofs in any way…

PEGG: Yeah.

KP: But is there anything else that you’ve seen - besides a road picture and what you’ve already done - as a sort of American genre that hasn’t been tackled before in British cinema?

PEGG: I don’t think so. The UK had a great tradition of genre cinema leading up to the 70’s. And then America kind of took over in some respects. I think particularly when it came to, like, horror…

KP: Hammer horror being the biggest…

PEGG: Hammer horror was sort of bludgeoned to death by the likes of Landis and Carpenter. That’s not to say that was a bad thing, because they came forward with this new horror, which I love.

KP: You could also say the small, quirky comedy type was basically an Ealing type…

PEGG: Yeah, absolutely. But I think, with us, we just kind of want to make the films that we want to watch. That’s always our starting off point, is that we never… without sounding selfish or exclusive, we never really make films for anybody other than ourselves. It’s like, “What would I want to go and see?” That’s how we judge what we do. It’s like, “Let’s make the film we want to see.” And you can pretty much guarantee that the whole… there are a lot of people around that kind of feel the same way. So it’s never like we think, “Right, let’s do period pics or let’s do this or that.” It’s more like we start with the story or just the feel of the film and go from there. The fact is, we grew up in the VHS age, at a time when we were renting films that were slightly unsuitable for us and watching them in darkened friend’s houses, and grew up on this diet of American cinema. So inevitably it affects our own output. I don’t really want to make a film about inner city problems in Birmingham, you know what I mean?

KP: You say that now…

PEGG: Yeah, I know.

KP: When we talk in five years, “I was really thinking about Birmingham inner city problems…”

PEGG: Yeah… (laughs)

KP: “And I felt I really needed to tackle this with Nick.”

PEGG: That’s never going to play well in… the only place it will play well is in Detroit and Alabama, where there are Birminghams. We might be able to trick people into going into the cinema.

KP: Every place has a Birmingham.

PEGG: Even the moon has a Birmingham.

KP: Yes. It’s on the dark side.

PEGG: That’s right.

KP: Is there any movement on the release of Spaced in the U.S.?

PEGG: Not so far. We’ve been asked a lot on this tour, and the problem remains just a simple clearance issue for six… there are six tracks on the soundtrack which we don’t want to change, which weren’t cleared for North America. Because when we made the show…

KP: I’m assuming some of these are dealing with Lucasfilm properties?

PEGG: No, not at all. We have a very good relationship with Lucasfilm. I don’t know if George has seen it at all, but the people at Lucasfilm, I think, quite enjoy… I think they have a vicarious thrill from the dissent in Spaced. Even to the point where, when they released the new film… I’m sorry, when they released the original trilogy without any augmentation - without any of the special edition stuff - I got a parcel in the post which I opened, and there was an embossed envelope with “Lucasfilm” written on it. And I opened it up and it was a card saying, “We thought you might like these,” and it was the three original films on DVD.

KP: So you can get that, but you can’t get Big Train.

PEGG: Yeah, I know! (laughs) See, that’s it. I’m treated better by Lucasfilm - who I have criticized vocally for their prequels - and the show that I’m in, I don’t get for free.

KP: Well, maybe you need to start criticizing it.

PEGG: Yeah, Big Train was shit.

KP: A box is on its way to you. Here’s hoping the Spaced set eventually comes out. Is the door completely closed on Spaced, as far as you’re concerned?

PEGG: I think so, yeah. I think the worst thing we could do now is spoil it. I’d hate to… you know, time and logistics aside, the notion of actually adding to it and diminishing it frightens me. I think it’s best left now. Because we’d want to kind of pick up where we left off, and we can’t. We’re almost 10 years older and it’s kind of… I think it would look a bit weird.

KP: And you certainly did have that coda in the “behind the scenes” features on the DVD set.

PEGG: Yeah. I’d love to do a kind of… it’d be nice to wrap everything up, but I just honestly don’t know how we possibly could.

KP: Do you see the doors being closed on you returning to TV at any point?

PEGG: I don’t think so. Never say never. TV is as valid as anything. I think the thing is, with films it just feels like you’re working in an arena which is slightly more permanent. One of the heartbreaking things about doing TV was that you’d work your ass off as hard as you would do on a film, and then it’s on and then it’s gone. Sure, DVD’s kind of changing that a bit now, but plenty of times you’d feel like it would be on and then the ratings wouldn’t be that good… like, Spaced only ever got about a million and a half viewers, probably max, when it was on TV. And it was quite soul destroying. And so film it feels like you’re working in a slightly more… in a medium that has a bit more permanence. But yeah, as an actor and a writer, you shouldn’t just say, “Right, I’m doing this now, and everything else is shit.”

KP: Are there any arenas that you haven’t pursued yet that you are keen to? Obviously you’ve done radio, you’ve done TV, you’ve done pictures. When’s your first musical role?

PEGG: I did a musical when I was at college. I don’t know if I have a strong enough voice.

KP: That’s what they all say.

PEGG: I’m not a big fan of musicals, either. That’s a genre that we probably wouldn’t spoof - even though we do’t do spoofs I thought Joss Whedon did it very well in that episode of Buffy. I think what has to be in place before we make a film is an utter devotion and affection for what we’re taking on. Do you know what I mean? Anything less… that’s why I think Mel Brooks’s films, they start to fall away as soon as he starts addressing things he’s not that interested in. Big, big horror movies and Hitchcock films and westerns are brilliantly done by him, but as soon as he starts… like Spaceballs. He hates Star Wars. He doesn’t really like it that much. And you can tell because Spaceballs is shit.

KP: And by then, he also had this feeling that he had to live up to a formula…

PEGG: Exactly.

KP: It’s like Airplane 2 or Naked Gun 3

PEGG: Exactly. Spaceballs is funny, though, because it’s a film that has the distinction of being 10 years too late and 10 years too early.

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KP: Do you worry about falling into the trap of becoming your own cliché?

PEGG: Yeah, but I think people are kind of second guessing us before we’ve had a chance to prove either way. The question we’ve had the most on this tour, the one that I trust you’ll finish with, because it would be a shame if you didn’t, would be, “You’ve done cops, you’ve done zombies, what’s next?”

KP: I wouldn’t ask that.

PEGG: (laughs)

KP: You know what? I’m going to leave you with a nice little sense of openness instead of closure on this. I would feel bad if I asked that.

PEGG: But it’s a fair question, in a way, because even though when you start to break down the two films, they’re actually pretty different - in terms of Shaun of the Dead is simply us kind of appropriating a genre as a context, whereas Hot Fuzz we are actually trying to say something about a specific genre. What links them is the sort of incongruity of seeing Romero-style zombies in Crouch End, North London and seeing Michael Bay sort of pyrotechnics in Somerset. They both take on board a sort of American ideal. Whether we do that for the next one or not, I don’t know.

KP: I thought what was fascinating with the two films is that it took the fantastic - and I don’t mean this as a criticism - and made it pedestrian.

PEGG: Yeah, exactly.

KP: It actually brought these things down - in talking with Edgar, we were talking about the ending in miniature of Hot Fuzz, it’s that you literally take these outsize concepts and place then within this easily manageable, and therefore enjoyable, sort of context.

PEGG: Yeah. It was like, with Shaun of the Dead, the whole idea was to try and highlight the mundanity of zombie invasions. The kind of ordinariness of it. And you just do that by reframing things. We didn’t do that much. In the final sequence of Hot Fuzz, there aren’t really any jokes - it’s just the joke is entirely seeing those kind of events unfolding in a village.

KP: It’s interesting that particularly in British sci-fi, every post apocalyptic British sci-fi film, Britain is the only country left somewhat intact.

PEGG: Yeah. That’s because we’ve got a great infrastructure.

KP: You’ve become fascist, but besides that, you’re still there. We’re a barren wasteland, but Britain is still relatively intact.

PEGG: Big Ben’s still ringing.

KP: When you end in miniature like that, you’re kind of proving that it really is about the characters, the films you make…

PEGG: Yeah, exactly. Exactly.

KP: Well I don’t want to end this with that question so I’m not going to. So I will say that I’m glad that your press tour’s finished and you can finally relax.

PEGG: Yeah, as I put the phone down I’ll fall, and there’ll be a shot from just beneath me falling - like Godzilla felled by a missile.

KP: That’s unfortunate.

PEGG: As you say goodbye, you can just imagine me tumbling like a giant oak.

KP: Goodbye… and “Timber”…

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