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> Interview with Edgar Wright, The results are in
post Oct 12 2004, 06:11 PM
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Standing on the shoulders of giants

Group: Blokes in Charge
Posts: 2,800
Joined: 1-August 02
From: Graceland
Member No.: 35

Hello Everyone, thanks for all the questions, here's the answers:


[Margate Steve]
How does Edgar really feel about a series 3?

I'm torn about a Series 3. On one hand there's definitely more scope to continuing the adventures of Tim & Daisy, but then I do like the way series 2 wraps it all up. The seemingly endless talk of maybe/maybe not doing specials is not a bullshit way of keeping fans sitting on the edge of their sofas. We have genuinely talked about it and have some neat ideas that could work in a Before Sunset / Whatever Happened To The Likely Lads kind of way. If we're talking about the former - expect to see the special in 2009!

The other irony to the whole series 3 business is that there's no actual guarantee that C4 would actually commission a 3rd series or specials. Let us not forget that C4 still haven't repeated the second series.

Given his cameos (in Spaced and SotD, both visually and audibly) does he have a yearning to be the other side of the camera?

Not really. I do enjoy doing my cameos in Look Around You. Supremely silly stuff. Wait til you see the second series. It's insane.

Does he share Simon's reported favouring of movies over TV in future?

Yeah, I do in a way. There was a time at the end of the second series where I was totally burnt out and it did seem like the show wasn't quite getting out there (apart from of course with the endlessly enthusiastic SpacedOut massive). I do remember thinking 'fuck this for a game of soldiers', maybe we should move on. The strange sense of anticlimax that came at the end of the series 2 definitely motivated me to move on to something else, namely 'Shaun'. Not to dismiss 'Spaced' in any way, but I did think, well we've done 14 pretty good episodes, should we just quit while we're ahead?

That said, in the interim the show's following continued to grow and grow. It's very surreal to be in the US, Oz or New Zealand and people to ask about 'Series 3' or whether the DVD is going to get an international release.

And also, doing the documentary for the DVD was a great experience. Our day trawling locations with Simon & Jess was really fun and strangely rewarding. I really missed the old house!

Sophie or Sarah?

Sophie. Sarah is the original beeatch!

Any advice for any budding directors/producers/writers?

Just get out there and do your own thing. I didn't get my start in any conventional way, even though I attended a supposedly great film course in Bournemouth. I got my break through making video shorts. I owe it all to Matt Lucas actually, who saw Fistful Of Fingers at the Prince Charles in 1995 and asked me to direct Mash & Peas on Paramount shortly afterwards.

Is Edgar at all involved with La Triviata?

Not really, but will be around to peruse scripts and offer advice.

Will he return for the second series of Look Around You?

Oh yes. And my beard is even larger and more wonderous than ever.

Will A Fistful of Fingers ever see a DVD release?

It might well actually. In the wake of Shaun selling very well, the distributors of Fistful got back in touch. Given that I'm pretty embarassed by this early effort, I would make sure that the extras are pretty darn silly. Got some neat ideas for some very daft commentaries. Watch this space.

Does he ever visit his IMDb page?

Not really. You get so many weird spammers on these popular sites, that it's an ordeal to wade through all the non-related crap. The Shaun IMDB site seems to always break out into a Brits Vs Yanks catcalling brawl which is a little disheartening. Both me & Simon are the kind of people who take even the tiniest bit of negativity very personally. So regardless of having a quote from Tarantino proclaiming 'Shaun' as the best film of the year, reading just one post from a guy in Idaho saying 'I downloaded it and it sucks' can ruin one's afternoon. Tis probably best to adopt the Woody Allen habit of not reading nuttin.

[skip 2 the end]
Is there going to be a new film by Edgar and Pegg?

Yes. As soon as I stop reading IMDB and start writing!

Is the Spaced book ever coming out?

Yes. We've wanted to do one for years, but the turnaround time on books is a lot longer than DVD's etc. We've been talking about both Shaun & Spaced script books, but they may not be til next year now.

[Lazlo Woodbine]
would he ever consider shaving that beard?

It's gone. Where have you been? Check out our blogs on the www.shaunsquad.com site (in the news archive) to see endless shots of a cleanshaven me. Also wait for the aforementioned Look Around You series 2 for spectacular beard action.

[Chapman Baxter]
How did he set out to give Shaun of the Dead a different look and feel from Spaced? (Apart from spending a lot more money.)

Well for starters we didn't have that much more money than Spaced. As any of the very patient people who stood around for 14 hours on set as a zombie will tell you, it wasn't the biggest budget film of all time (special props go out to the 'window silhouettes' who I think had the most thankless task in the whole film). As we've said many times before the film would have suffered enormously without the support of the site.

As for the change in style, there was definitely a concerted effort to change the look. We didn't want it to be 'Spaced: The Movie'. As this was a film proper, we decided to ditch almost all of the spoken pop culture references - certainly the film references. After Scream and its many rip offs, the whole horror film self-reflexivity thing had been done to death, so we decided to play it as if Shaun & Ed had never seen any zombie films. Thus, apart from Clyde, the only spoken references are about music. The characters were never intended to be the culture vultures that Tim & Daisy are.

Also in terms of the visual style - we had this idea that as the film becomes more surreal, the visuals become more naturalistic. Thus the first half plays more like a stylised horror than the 2nd zombie half. So the first act has some of the stylistic tricks of Carpenter and Romero, but once the zombies come into the film, it becomes more about the realism, almost more Ken Loach or Mike Leigh. We like to think of the film as Life Is Sweet with zombies.

It was a concious decision to move away from the Raimi-isms of Spaced and make something that felt a little more naturalistic. I think I may have even used the word 'versimilitude' on set a couple of times to make myself look a bit more cleverer. (sic)

Of course there are exceptions to all these rules and the '3 plans' sequence is a total nod back to Spaced. Which I hope you enjoyed!

The last aspect would be that in a 24 minute sitcom there's no time to do 3 minute steadicam shots. So inspired by my Bugsy Malone vid for the Bluetones, I decided to throw in some mammoth 'in one' shots. Which I also hope you enjoyed.

[Stella MM]
I read on IMDB recently that Fistful of Fingers is set in Somerset, where I'm from. Which bits did he film in and why?

Somerset is well known for its resembalance to Monument Valley.

No, that's bollocks. I used to live in Wells, Somerset, so the whole shebang was filmed around Wells, Priddy and Wedmore.

Edgar, will you consider giving Bill Bailey a role in yours and Simon's forthcoming policeman/action film?
(Manny Pretends To Be A Cop 2)

Ha. Certainly if there was a part that was right. Bill was busy touring during 'Shaun' so we couldn't get him in anywhere.

edgar, what have been yr favourite films and tv programmes recently?

Film: Hero, Napoleon Dynamite, Garden State, Ong Bak.
Tv: Curb Your Enthusisam, Arrested Development, The Mighty Boosh, Nighty Night, Garth Merenghi.

does anyone ever get really pissed off with working with you seing as you tend to faff around and spend forever getting a multitude of shots. if so name names!

Oh they do sometimes. Won't name names though. Usually the people who I've worked with before know the deal and understand that, sometimes, god is in the faffing.

That said, watching that bit in the Spaced docu where I do 13 takes and keep walking into shot (looking not unlike Daniel Kitson) was toe curlingly embarassing.

who would you like to work with in the future?

Paddy Considine, Rob Brydon, Steve Coogan, Noel and Julian again, Sam Rockwell, Jack Black, Bruce Campbell, Graham Low and many, many others...

where did you see yourself in ten (fifteen, whatever) years.

On the set of Spiderman 4. Or the set of Anacondas 4: Even More Snakes! Either is cool.

when you chose to become a director?

When I saw Jonathon Ross' 'Incredible Strange Film Show' about Sam Raim. It was a geek ephipany.

how do you take your tea?

Milk. No sugar. Or more often Green!

if you were any character from 'The Muppet Show,' which one would you be and why?

Rolf on the piano. Because he's got the best floppy ears.

what is your favourite memory of your recent trips to the USA?

Too many to count. It was a extended month long blast. Highlights include the L.A. screening with Quentin Tarantino and David Carradine (who bit my neck while trying to explain how vampires were cooler than zombies), the Austin Aint It Cool screening with Robert Rodriguez waving his cowboy hat in the air, the 8am phone call with Bruce Campbell, getting an e-mail from Tom Savini and having dinner in Noo York with Jon Spencer!

For more shameless namedropping, do check out our blog on the newsarchive of the aforementioned www.shaunsquad.com.

As an American fan my questions will skew more towards that angle:
What do you make of the success of Shaun of the Dead in the US?

It's overwhelming and too much to take in. The reviews were great and the press quotes from a lot of our favourite directors and are enough to make me want to crawl into a hole and never come out.

Do you think it means America is ready for more of the Pegg/Wright comedy style?

One would hope so, the butchered versions of Spaced seem to be going down well on Trio too.

Will there ever be a proper airing of Spaced in the States, or at least a DVD set?

There a lot of hot gossip about it showing on BBC America maybe as well as the DVD seeing a proper Region 1 release.

What is your favorite scene in Sleeper? One of mine is cut out from the dvd where Milo (woody allen) is eating in time with the music.

Maybe the robot servant Woody fighting a giant mutant pudding.

What is the best promotional thing/merchendise youve found from shaun of the dead?

The Shaun pint glass was pretty cool, also the massive standee they had in the States. Also was very proud to do the two 2000AD strips.

Did yourself, Simon or Jess have any say in the cuts made in Spaced by the tv station Trio, which airs the programme in the states?

No, had no idea that had happened until it had already been out. Same thing happened to the League on Comedy Central. It doesn't help that almost every episode of Spaced has a different running time. The second series especially often runs way longer than the alloted 24 minute C4 running time.

[fried gold]
I just looked on the imdb. Says he's got a film called Hot Fuzz coming out in 2006. Have you got any details for us, Edgar?

We intend to make the most OTT British film of all time.

Also are you collaborating with the Black Books team at any point in the future?

I don't know. It was a blast to work with Dylan on 'Shaun' and since Black Books is made by our very own Nira Park in our little Big Talk offices - it kind of feels like a sister show anyhow.

Don't you think Simon Pegg looks a wee bit like Martin Freeman when he does that funny look?

And vice versa. Simon & Martin are great mates and it was fantastic he played Shaun's parallel universe twin in Shaun. Plus he's every bit as lovely as you think he would be. Swoon x

Was Spaced originally a two series idea as the last episode really ties everything up, or was that just the way things turned out?

The latter really. We certainly made the first show without knowing whether there would be anymore - hence tieing up a lot of loose ends in series 1.

Why only seven episodes per series?

Because when there's only a small team, Simon, Jess, me & Nira, seven episodes is about all we could handle a year. And even that was almost too much to handle. Both series were so ambitious they ended in total mental and physical breakdown. Don't forget that 22 episode monsters like Friends had whole 20 strong writer teams and squillions behind them.

Can anyone these days just start to act, given the opportunity. just like Nock Frost? I remember a long time ago you needed to hold an equity card and all that bumph.

Things have definitely changed. In the wake of a move towards naturalism and comedians becoming actors, unions are not the force they once were.

What do you think of Space Balls?

Not a huge fan I'm afraid to say. Love a lot of Mel Brooks, but this one has the unfortunate distinction of being the only spoof to come out both 10 years too late and ten years too early. With Mel Brooks, the quality of the spoof is directly related to his passion for the genre; hence Westerns, musicals and Universal horror films reap great rewards, but StarWars and Robin Hood? - not so hot.

have you ever thought of doing stand-up?

Once, briefly, at art college. Thankfully I decided otherwise.

I recently saw an episode of 'Murder Most Horrid' and knew instantly that you'd directed it... what was Dawn like to work with?

Very, very sweet. An absolute bundle of joy.

Also how likely is a shaun of the dead sequel?

Not too likely. Having spent 3 years on this one, think we need to move on again. Had some nifty ideas though, maybe we'll do a graphic novel.

in how many different ways (if any) have you fantasised about disposing of Jar-Jar Binks?
if so, do you have any favourites that you'd like to share?

I haven't fantasised about killing Jar Jar, but I have taken my own tiny little stand against Mr Lucas by not buying either the new films on DVD or even the new original trilogy boxset. I'm sure he's all broken up about that! He must be crying into his glass of liquid gold.

Why hasn't spaced been repeated on C4? It seem crazy not too with the popularity in Shaun of the Dead and the new 3 disk boxset.

We're as confused as you. Actually make that a little pissed off.

Back at the start of the year C4 Video asked us if we'd be up for re-releasing the series as a box set. We agreed, once we'd finished work on Shaun. One of the intial suggestions was to repeat the whole series on C4 (not E4) to tie-in with the re-release, especially as the second series was never actually repeated on C4. Plus interest in the series had peaked again after Shaun and also it was to be the 5th anniversary of the show in September. Seemed like perfect timing to everyone. We all wrote a letter to C4 to this effect.

As we were beavering away on the documentary, the other extras and the new artwork, we got the word back from Channel 4 that no, they wouldn't repeat the series and 'didn't see the point'. This was a bit disappointing, to say the least.

We've appealed against it, especially as the new DVD is also selling well, but we shall see. It's all a bit frustrating to be honest. So like I said, there's no guarantee that C4 would even be up for making more Spaced...

(It's worth pointing out that C4 Video and C4 scheduling are two different departments and the former are as baffled as we are)

How come the character bios on the DVD weren't updated? We now know what happened to Daisy and Tim (thanks, it was lovely to be able to check in on them and see they're OK) - but what about everyone else?

Well, if we do ever make more, we want to leave the character's fates wide open...

Are you looking foward to the release of the Peep Show DVD?

Yes, as I barely saw any of it on C4. Also did a funny scene with David Mitchell in the new Look Around You.

If you could rehabilitate just one faded celeb, who would you choose?

Can I have three? If so, The Goodies.

Edgar, my dad was recently visiting and I had Spaced on in the background while we were drinking tea. My dad, who's normally not one to give praise to 'programmes for young people' commented that he admired your style of directing and the look of Spaced. How does this make you feel? Warm and fuzzy inside?

Very much so. To get props from your pop makes it all worthwhile.

Also, how much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?


how do you respond to people saying that the Spaced Box Set is just a rip off and trying to get fans to buy the same stuff over again?

It makes me feel sad to be honest. Ever since the second series (undoubtedly a superior disc) came out, I had pondered revisiting the first series DVD and improving it. At the time we did the first series, comedy/TV DVDs were somewhat in their infancy and we had made it in a bit of a rush before doing series 2. As such the menus and special features were not half as good as the 2nd series.

Also at the time, we had to do the S1 out-takes and raw footage pretty much from memory and it had always niggled me that there might be more footage in the first series that was of interest. As it turns out, our ridiculously patient editor Paul Machliss personally sat through all 100 tapes of Series 1 footage for the new boxset and came up with all the new clips that are on the first disc and the documentary.

Also having invented the homage-o-meter for Series 2, it seemed to make sense to make Series 1 as good as the Series 2 disc. (For the record there was nothing more to add to the 2nd one. That literally is everything!

So basically, when the offer came up to re-release both series and improve S1, we jumped at the chance. We decided to do as extensive a documentary as humanly possible as the third disc. This was a lot of fun. Having Jim & Jason do all new artwork was great (cos let's face it the old HMV boxset always looked like an 'Aliens' DVD to me) and having Osymyso sprinkle his audio magic on the 1 and 3rd discs was a treat.

As for it being a rip off, I don't know what to say. The original HMV double box set first came out in 2002, so it had already been out for a good two and a half years. Although people seem to hold us personally responsible, the fact that it got 'reissued' in April to tie in with the Shaun cinema release was not really within our control. Ideally we would have liked to release the 3 disc set back then, but we had no time to work on it then.

On top of that, as has been hinted at on this site before, we don't actually make anything much from the DVD's. I personally see no money whatsoever, as UK TV directors (unlike the US) see no residuals from repeats or merchandise. Given the work I've put into them, it's galling to say the least.

Simon and Jess also make next to nothing, the result of all three of us pretty much signing away rights when we were younger, more naive and most importantly, just keen to get our first show on air. Coupled with the fact that Spaced has not one, but three parent companies (one of which no longer exists) we're left with pretty much diddly squat. Reports of me & Simon 'laughing all the way to the bank' have been greatly exaggerated.

So even with that taken into account, I still grabbed the chance to make the DVD boxset as comprehensive and as good as it possibly be. If people still conned, then I apologise.

What's the pettiest crime you've ever committed?

Stealing a copy of What's On In London that had a good review of Fistful Of Fingers in it. I was beyond broke at the time. Would have been quite fun to have got caught and try and explain that one.

When in a newsagents do you check the top shelf to see if they sell porn, even if you have no intention of buying any?

Not really. I think in the wake of FHM and internet porn, the topshelf really is only the preserve of the creepy old man. Most porn mags seem like there stuck in 1986.

Who is your favourite superhero?

The honest answer would be SpiderMan. The cool answer would be the Grey Hulk.

What was the last kids movie you saw and was it any good?

If School Of Rock counts, then it was fantastic!!!

What's the worst film you own a copy of?

Death Wish III. Have become a little obsessed with Micheal Winner of late, for no other reason that his films are soooo bad, they are ridiculously entertaining. Honestly if you haven't seen the third one (shot in Hackney doubling for NY!) then watch it with a bunch of friends. It's the best fun I've had since Ricky Oh: The Story Of Ricky. I just watched 'The Sentinel' too, Michael Winner's very starry Exorcist rip off, which is so both enormously cheesy and in incredibly poor taste. Great stuff.

Edgar, what are your opinions of the following directors:

-Robert Rodriguez
An inspiration to a generation, a fantastic stylist, a world class editor and the hardest working director known to man.

The biggest film fan in the world. Meeting him was felt like going down several hundred geek-places. He can riff for hours on British films that I've never seen. Plus Kill Bill was awesome, had many moments that made me want to go out and make a film that night.

-Kevin Smith

Definitely a big inspiration again as a young film-maker. Remember vividly seeing 'Clerks' after making my own way-too-ambitious first effort and thinking 'why didn't I think of that'. Curious to see his next move, hear he's going to do 'Clerks: Ten Years Later'.

-Michael Mann
Haven't seen Collateral yet, but always think his films are fascinating. Especially the Insider, one of best shot movies ever.

Have you seen "Bubba Ho Tep"? If so, what did you think of it?

Yes, I was at the UK premiere (of sorts) the week before last. I think it's a great film, a real one off. Although I think if you're expecting an Evil Dead 2 style horrorthon, you'll be somewhat bemused. The truth is, it's a beautiful, poignant black comedy about getting old and eleventh hour redemption. Plus it has an enormous mummy. Also Bruce Campbell's performance is fan-tastic! Bring on the sequel.

First, congrats to you and everyone on Shaun of the Dead being such a huge success.
Now for my question. Do you think any of the Spaced characters (apart from Tim and Daisy) could carry a spin-off show if one was planned?

I think Mike could do a very good Worst Case Scenario type survival show on Channel 5...oh hang on...

Busted or McFly?

Neither. Maybe the latter at a push since they namecheck BTTF.

[Little Birdy]
Just wondering if you guys had seen the Australian zombie flick Undead and what you thought of it?

Nein. Haven't seen it yet. Was waiting for a theatrical release, but may end up getting the DVD.

[Kick in the Head]
As a fan of quirky Japanese contemporary alternative dance and pop (re: Cornelius, Fantastic Plastic Machine etc.), have you listened to and enjoyed any Supercar or Plus-Tech Squeeze Box?

No. But I must. I will!!!

And the rest of the questions....

[skip to the end]
Any advice for any budding directors/writers such as my 16 year old self?

As someone who started their career at 14 with a short film called 'Rolf Harris Saves The World', I'm not sure I'm the best person to dispense advice.

However as above I would say get out there, steal a camera if you have to and start making stuff.

[Stella MM]
When did he turn into a such a complete fox?

That's very nice, but I fear the fox I most resemble is Basil Brush.

[skip to the end]
Do you need any extras in the policeman/action film?

I'm sure we will. Who knows where we're even going to shoot it though. If we exploit the Spaced Out massive again; then I promise to pay them this time. It may be in Jaffa Cakes, but it will certainly be more substansial than last time.

Can I have a hug!?

Yes, I have set up an electronic hug at www.e-hugs.com - type in 'amazongirl' and the password 'Dr Huggles' for hug action.

[Jon 79]
Hi Edgar,
Would you be interested in looking over a script for an original supernatural comedy drama for consideration as a possible future project?
It's a really good concept & best of all, no-one's ever done it before. I can't say anymore here for fear of someone nicking the idea.

You can always send it to my agent - yes. Send it to ICM.

does edgar have any regrets about anything he has done over the past year or so?

Yes, I really shouldn't have had oysters again in Sydney; when I was violently ill the last two times. Neither should I have gone to see 'Aliens Vs. Predator'.

Do you consider yourself comparible to Kevin Smith, and are you in any way influenced by him?
When I Saw Spaced i really got a Kevin Smith feel, but thats just me.

Well certainly myself, Simon and Jess were all big fans around the time of the first series. Both he and Tarantion certainly opened a door for pop culture references in TV/film. And maybe we found our own Jason Mewes in Nicholas J Frost.

will there or wont there be a third series of spaced? -this needs clearing up once and for all.

I am totally forgainst it.

Gosh you're a cutie!

See 'Basil Brush' answer above.

Which is easier to get published-Porn or 'Erotica'???

I'd love to see his answer to that.

I'm not sure. What is the exact differentiation between Porn and Erotica? The latter always makes me think of Rubenesque ladies in sepia photographs.

What's Peter Serafinowicz's agents address? (sodding "free trial on imdb pro" my bottom is it free...) This is a legitimate question i tell you, I am writing the world's worst teleplay and want him in it to lend some gravitas. And yes, he would be playing "a dick"

Do you know, I have no idea. Isn't he with Talkback?

What does he think about accusations that his directing style is repetitive and that he's a bit of a one trick pony who's overly proud of what he's done so that he feels fault can never be found with it and that he can't take any criticism no matter how well meant?

Well I hope I can take some criticism. If you've listened to the Shaun's commentaries or watched the Spaced documentary you will know that me and Simon are both pretty hard on ourselves. I for one, have never said Shaun or Spaced are perfect. As for being a one-trick pony, well they don't call me Whip Pan Wright for nothing. I will try and expand my bag of tricks for you next time round.

Would he say that being a director is rather secondary to the writing and the acting in the same way that being a conductor is nothing like as talented as the composer?

Can't answer that one re: Spaced. Ask Simon or Jess.

As for Shaun, I did co-write it and did an appalling Italian accent in my role as the offscreen owner of Fulci's Restaurant. What more do you want from me?

[skip 2 the end]
Oh yeah, don't know if this will count but:

Do you need any 17 year old Welsh actors for any projects your doing in the future?

Very much so. As has been widely reported, we will shortly be filming the Shaun sequel; 'Dai Of The Dead'.

Boom Boom. (Told you I was Basil Brush).


Thanks once again to Edgar for taking the time to answer your questions. Hopefully he can do it again soon
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