BY Ben Silverio
In The World’s End, Gary King gets his four former best mates back together to take on the Golden Mile, a pub crawl featuring twelve bars that they attempted twenty years ago in their hometown of Newton Haven, but never made it to the final pub. However, when the gang returns to their old stomping grounds, they begin to notice some pretty big changes, like the alien invasion that has taken over pretty much everyone and everything.
After pleasing the crowd at the Awesome Fest in a double feature with Hot Fuzz and a Q&A with the stars and the director, The World’s End is finally ready for American audiences. The last chapter of the Cornetto Trilogy opens in theaters this weekend, but while the filmmakers were in town for their special festival appearance, we had the chance to chat with director Edgar Wright and star Nick Frost about their latest movie.
During our intimate conversation with Wright, Frost, and a few members of the press, we learned about what inspired the film, a few of their past and future works, and some of their favorite pubs. But we also got down to some of the nitty gritty of this new movie.
First, nostalgia plays a pretty big part in the film since Gary King is still living in the past and he sort of refuses to grow up. When asked about a time that they were nostalgic for, they had this to say:
Edgar Wright: Well, Nick’s going to have a less sentimental answer than me. But I guess, one of the things that the film’s about or what it’s inspired by is that I do think about the past a lot and I do have frequent attacks of nostalgia, and I wonder why because I consider myself pretty happy with my life and stuff. And I do think back to school a lot and I think back to those times, and pretty much the opening of the movie, the first three minutes where you’re in 1990 is just like a time capsule to me.
And I think there’s bad things about looking backwards, it’s silly to want to try to turn back the clock and do things differently because, even if you could have a time machine and try and do better at school or go on a date again, it would have the wrong ramification through history. Good kind of nostalgia is just listening to music and it taking you straight back. I can listen to that suede song on the soundtrack and remember a car journey where me and my friend had an audio cassette and just sang along to that song over and over again. So I would be nostalgic about school days, yeah.
Nick Frost (with a straight face): No. [laughter] I don’t know. I’m not sure if it’s lucky or unlucky but I’ve always kind lived in the now, I’m happiest now. My oldest friends are Simon and Edgar so…As a person I’ve always kind of felt and lived with my impulses so I don’t have that thing where “Oh God, I wish I’d told her I loved her” because I probably did tell her I loved her, or “I wish I hit that bully” because I probably did hit that bully. So I’ve never had that thing where “I should have done that then,” I probably did it. I figured it’s the opposite “I shouldn’t have done that then”.
There is a time in my life I lived in Israel when I was eighteen for two years and just got into adventures. If there was ever a point I’m sitting around thinking “I wish I was picking fruit and trying to have sex with Swedish girls,” that’s the time I think about. But apart from that, right now, this is my focus.
Then, Frost talked about all the action scenes that he was involved in throughout the movie.
NF: I loved it, it was amazing. I love the action in this, and I loved the chance to also unleash my inner Sammo Hung. [laughter] Also, I think there’s a kind of preconception that big men can’t get shit done in terms of the physical side of stuff and I wanted to blow that myth out the water, essentially. There was a time in one of the original drafts of the script that Edgar actually had me tearing my shirt off, the whole thing coming off, and me being topless for the rest of the film. [laughter] I was the only one who said, “Probably shouldn’t do that”
EW: And then when it got into night shoots and minus ten
NF: Thank you so much for sticking your heels in the sand, didn’t want to do that. But yeah, we trained a lot. We trained for four weeks initially with Brad Allen, who is just an amazing stunt director, fight choreographer. He kind of put us through our paces to see what we could do, what, if anything, in my case nothing, we couldn’t do. And him and Edgar, they designed these amazing fights. And you’d come in in the morning and he’d open his laptop and he’d say, “All right, come and look at this”. And they would put the whole fight together in the rehearsal room with pieces of cardboard, bits of cardboard for stools. And if you were to watch that and watch the fight, they are kind of exactly the same. But the thing about Brad is he’d say, “What do you think? What do you think now?”
EW: “You need to put your performance into it”
NF: Because we wanted to keep the characters in the fighting. It’s no good creating a character and you just become a slugger as soon as you start the action side of it. We wanted to keep and retain those characters throughout the fight too. And it was fantastic.
Finally, Wright touched on the dark nature of this film compared to the other two in the trilogy and how they handled the comedy differently this time around.
EW: The great thing about making these movies is, as geeks we’ve got to make a zombie film, a cop film, and a sci-fi film, but on the comedy side of it it’s really personal stuff. It’s really sort of…you know some people say, “oh, this one’s quite dark”, and I wouldn’t use the word dark, I would say that it’s honest. I feel like a lot of American comedies that are about the man-child or the idea of being a big kid forever never ever scratch below the surface that much. And so with this I was just thinking if you set up some of these issues you’ve got to tackle them head-on. And so that, to us, is the thing that I feel is a good thing to do. And we definitely wanted to make it on a promise to the fans, but you’ve got to make the films you want to do, not the films you think you ought to do. So as such I think the comedy in this is a little more prickly and complicated than the other two, which is a good thing, because we’re older.
After it was all said and done, The World’s End was a fitting end to the indirect trilogy that they’ve created, yet it still managed to standalone as an excellent film all by itself. Out of the many awesome films that I’ve seen this summer, this one definitely makes the list of top five best ones. It might even be one of my favorites of the year so far. Everyone should consider seeing it multiple times in order to enjoy the last bite of this Cornetto.
The World’s End starring Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Paddy Considine, Eddie Marsan, Martin Freeman, and Rosamund Pike is in theaters right now.
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