If there's even a hint of real-life inspiration in The World's End – the sci-fi comedy and latest collaboration between director Edgar Wright and stars Simon Pegg and Nick Frost – a night of pub crawling with the trio could get more than a little crazy. But even a late-morning round of Starbucks with the longtime friends, whose previous collaborations include the British TV sitcom Spaced and the films Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, is a lightning round of quips even before the caffeine kicks in, especially when the group was coming off a grand night of celebrating the film with their own private party at Comic-Con.
As they settled into a not-too-painful morning after, they opened up about closing out their Three Flavors Cornetto Trilogy (Wiki it) with a tale of old friends reuniting for one epic pub crawl that ultimately leads to repelling an alien invasion, as well as reference-checking wingmen, threesomes, benders and geeking out over meeting Dawn of the Dead's Ken Foree.
Fandango: Has being on this journey to Hollywood together from the beginning made it easier to deal with all the stuff that's getting thrown at you?
Simon Pegg: It's good to have a wingman. Wingmen is better.
Edgar Wright: When I actually sit back now and look at it, I feel very proud that we made three films together, and we're best friends. It's an extremely fortunate and lovely position to be in.
Pegg: We've been through a lot together, and it's great to have people along for the ride. It has been a journey, and the first time we sort of literally went to Hollywood and started meeting the people that have inspired us and stuff, it was great to have somebody to geek out with and go, "Did that just happen?'" Friends are nothing but a good thing.
Fandango: How are things different from when you started out and how are they the same, as far as filmmaking goes?
Nick Frost: I think it feels exactly the same. The core of it is Simon and Edgar's script, and then when on the shoot, I think you have to forget that with each film we've done there's more and more trucks outside as the budgets get slightly bigger. But the core of it is exactly the same. It's us three, and the rest of the cast and the boom swinger and the camera operator, and you kind of have to forget everything else.
Wright: It is a family operation as well, that we work with [producer] Nira Park and Big Talk, and we've made three films with Working Title. We wanted to make those movies, but it's great that we've been able to make them all together. If we had gone to another studio or gone with other producers, the movies would not be the same. There's something really nice about the consistency of working with a family of crew.
Pegg: The landscape of filmmaking has changed. The film industry is morphed over the last 10 years, and we've seen various trends and changes occur, but we've managed to stay sort of consistent throughout that and stick to our guns, which is important.
Fandango: How much of an unspoken shorthand do you guys have while working, where you can practically read each other's minds?
Wright: The thing that we do is that we rehearse the script – a lot of movies don't rehearse with the actors. They don't have time to. But we write the script, and I think we spend at least two weeks rehearsing with the actors. So that process takes a lot of discussion on set away, which is really good because we're trying to make an ambitious movie in not a very long amount of time. But then on top of that because we work together a lot, we do have like a shorthand and telepathy where I don't have to say too much to Simon and Nick to get the performance I want because we've already discussed it, and that's very good.
Pegg: That's exactly what I was going to say!
Wright: Aha, ding. What about you?
Frost: I was thinking it. How you guys have vocalized it. It's amazing.
Fandango: In the film we see how the group of friends fall into the same familiar pub-going patterns at first. When you guys are on an epic pub crawl in real life, what are roles you fall into?
Frost: We essentially carry Edgar home after three beers.
Wright: Thank you. At some point, the other two will stop me from dying.
Frost: We have to protect our boy.
Pegg: Or we end up fighting the man that Edgar winds up as he stumbles up the street.
Frost: Edgar's very much like King Joffrey.
Fandango: What's been your biggest geek meltdown at Comic-Con? When your inner geek has just lost it because you got to meet so-and-so or do such and such?
Pegg: Meeting Bill Paxton was pretty close last night.
Frost: Yeah, that was good.
Pegg: He was a really good person. And at our first Con, we queued up to meet Ken Foree, who plays Peter Washington in Dawn of the Dead. We got to the front of the line, and we told him about Shaun of the Dead, and he stood up and went, "Hey. I know you guys. I heard about that movie." For me and Edgar to approach the guy that stars in the film that inspired us to make our film and for him to respond in that way – and later on we met with him and Greg Nicotero and went to a screening of the movie – to watch the film with those two sort of luminaries of the zombie genre was just insane, and that was just the beginning of a thousand geek-outs that have happened over the years. So we feel very privileged.
Fandango: And what do fans say when they see you? What's the typical fan reaction when you're here?
Pegg: "You got red on you." We get that a lot. No, I think people are really lovely. I think they're surprised that we're so approachable and always happy to pose. We're just a group of fellows who like making films and that seems to appeal to people.
Frost: We're fans as well. I always try to put myself in the position of the person that's coming up to say hello because that's me. I do exactly the same thing. And I always behave as I would want someone to behave towards me if I came out and said hi. It takes a lot of guts to do it. It's nerve-wracking, and sometimes people shake and stuff, and you just want to go, "It's okay. It's okay. This is going to be a nice experience. Don't worry about it." But yeah, you try and do unto others.
Fandango: Now you're closing out your Three Flavors Cornetto Trilogy. Do you want to work together again as a trio? How do you think your collaborations are going to play out going forward?
Wright: I don't know. We haven't really – we only just finished this film like a month ago, so haven't really had a chance to even talk about what we're doing next, but we'd like to work together again.
Pegg: I think it would be nice to make something with the three of us, because with this one Edgar and me sat down to start, and with Paul and Nick and me would start, and with Scott Pilgrim, and Edgar would go work with Michael Bacall. It would be fun for the three of us to actually try and come up with something together. I don't know what that experience would be like. I've never written in a threesome before.
Frost: [To Simon] You've been in a threesome.
Pegg: I've been in a threesome. I've been in a couple.
Fandango: When all is said and done promoting this film, are you guys going to do a big bender together?
Pegg: There's always a big bender.
Frost: Our lives have changed a lot, you know. Edgar's big bender is like, 40 mill of lager. Simon doesn't drink. I have a baby. We're getting on a bit now.
Pegg: We're past it.
Wright: I think our big bender is going and eating a whole bunch of ice cream.
Frost: I'm on a big bender. I had three sliders last night.