British trio share their thoughts on their latest comedy sci-fi effort during whirlwind trip for its NZ premiere.
The British comedy trio behind spoof horror films Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz have made a whirlwind 20-hour visit to New Zealand to promote their new sci-fi comedy The World's End, which had its red-carpet NZ premiere at the Embassy in Wellington on Saturday.
The film, which opens in cinemas on Thursday, sees five old school friends reunite in their home town to recreate an epic pub crawl - but the night soon descends into drunken robot-fighting mayhem.
APNZ reporter Matthew Backhouse headed to Foxglove bar in Wellington to speak to director and co-writer Edgar Wright and actors Nick Frost and Simon Pegg, who also co-wrote the film.
MB: The World's End is the last in your so-called Cornetto trilogy. What makes it different from the past two films?
Wright: The difference with this one is that the actual character comedy is a little more honest and frank. I'd say it is both darker and also sillier, which seems like an odd combination, but I think when you see the movie, you'll see why.
Pegg: You can't do the same thing over and over again - we never wanted to do that. We wanted to make a different film. There are things that we returned to, things that we were fascinated by and things that bond the three films together as a threesome, or trilogy if you want to use a lofty term. Those things are friendship and the struggle of the individual against the collective.
MB: Sir Peter Jackson has been a big supporter - did you have time to catch up with him?
Wright: Peter said, and I quote, it was his favourite of the three. You can quote Sir Peter Jackson on that. So given how much he loved the other two, that was very pleasing for us.
Frost: I think he was counting The Lord of the Rings trilogy in there.
MB: How much has Sir Peter's support meant for this film premiere?
Wright: It was amazing... it's always really, really gratifying to come to New Zealand and feel welcomed with open arms.
Frost: Out of everywhere we go, Wellington always feels like the nearest to our home audience.
MB: Is that because it's so grey here?
Pegg: It's never grey! This is the first time I've seen Wellington grey.
Frost: [Pointing to the grey sky and howling wind outside]: The sun's coming out, I mean, it's quite nice.
MB: Here we are at a pub - are you getting sick of pubs at the moment?
Frost: I'm sick of not drinking in a pub. I think it's terrible, you're in pubs and you don't have a drink - I think that's a shame.
Pegg: We spent three months in and out of pubs, because nine of the pubs we shot in were real, and three were sets. I don't really go into pubs so much - it's not easy for us to go into pubs any more, just because pubs are places where people are a bit loosened up and sometimes it can be a bit difficult when everyone wants to come and talk to you.
Frost: Yeah, when they go like that: 'There he is!'
Wright: After this film they'll say, 'Hit me with a stool!'
Frost: I want to shoot a film in a brothel, we'll get to do all our press in a brothel.
Pegg: I don't drink anyway, so it's kind of, it's not part of my life.
MB: There's a huge binge drinking problem here in New Zealand. Are you expecting a backlash to the binge drinking in the film?
Wright: I don't think so, because as you'll see in the movie, it doesn't glorify drinking. It definitely shows the negative sides of it too.
MB: The film is a sci-fi/comedy/robot apocalypse film, but it's also a bit of a cautionary tale, isn't it?
Wright: Aside from all the sci-fi mayhem, it is a cautionary tale about not looking back. There's that phrase, 'You can never go home again' - I think a lot of people have been through that experience, whether it's going back to a home town or going to a wedding or a school reunion where you reconnect with old friends - it's always bittersweet. We came up with this idea about five friends, four of whom have become adults and one person who wants to be a teenager forever, and him trying to recapture that - not even glory days, but one glory night. And you know, the sting in the tail is that he gets a wild night of a different hue.
MB: This is the last film in the trilogy, but it's not the last time you'll all work together again, is it?
Wright: I hope not ... I'd definitely like to work with Simon and Nick again, because it's like working with your best friends.
Who: Simon Pegg, Nick Frost and Edgar Wright
What: The Brit big screen comedy trio behind Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, now The World's End
When: Opens at cinemas on Thursday.