A couple of weeks ago I got an email from one of the better PR folks in the industry, Karl at Paramount. He had a list of people who would be available for interviews for Mission: Impossible: 3: Death by Colon, and wanted to know if I would be interested in any of them.
There was a name that was very conspicuously missing from that list, and really it was the only person I wanted to talk to. Leave JJ Abrams and Tom Cruise and Philip Seymour Hoffman for the “professional” press. I wanted Simon Pegg, who’s in the movie for just a few minutes.
Here’s the thing – Simon’s busy shooting Hot Fuzz. Paramount asked if I would mind doing an e-mail interview. Usually the answer to that is a resounding no – if you see an interview on CHUD.com you can be sure that we were either in the room with the person or on the phone with them. Either way, a CHUD.com interview is always a personal interaction between us and the interviewee.
Well, except this time. I said yes because, frankly, if Hot Fuzz ends up not being as great as possible I don’t want to be sitting in that theater thinking “Man, if only I hadn’t kept Pegg off set that day…”
One more thing, though. I thought I would be clever and I would be one of the only guys asking for Pegg. Turns out that a bunch of other sites did the same. What ended up happening is that Paramount consolidated all the questions into one email interview. A couple of mine never made the cut, but I see that some of my did in fact get through. Oh well, I’ve interviewed Simon twice, once in a lengthy one on one, and I expect more opportunities in the coming year.
So here, without further ado, is the email version of a roundtable interview.
Q: How did you end up in a Mission: Impossible movie anyway?
Pegg: I got a call from JJ out of the blue. He said he’d enjoyed Shaun of the Dead and how would I like to be in the movie. It was a no brainer really. I had to have a little sit down after our conversation, just to get the heart rate down.
Q: What’s coming up after M:i:III and Hot Fuzz? M:I 4? A sequel to Shaun of the Dead? Any other genres?
Pegg: There’s a few things on the horizon but I don’t want to say too much about that now. As far as a Shaun sequel is concerned, it might be a little hard, with how things ended up. Sequels can sometimes sully the memory of the original too. Once a sequel is in place, it’s virtually impossible to watch the first film and feel any amount of closure at the end. Look at Aliens; once you’ve seen Alien 3, you know that Ripley’s efforts at the end of the former are a complete waste of time. Having said, someone will throw this interview in my face at the premiere of From DuskTil Shaun.
Q: Are there any directors you really admire and would like to work with?
Pegg: Yes loads. Raimi, Tarrantino, Speilberg, Jackson, Rodriguez, The Coens, Mann, Sodeburgh, Greengrass…I have a list at home. I can go and get it. I’d love to work with JJ again.
Q: What was your most memorable experience on the set of M:i:III? What was it like being on the set for such a short amount of time?
Pegg: I completely went to pieces on my first take. I looked at Tom and Ving and thought, how the hell did I get here!? I had jet lag, the whole experience felt a little dream like. Although, I was only on set for a number if days I was in LA for a few weeks. I love LA it’s like a safari park with movie stars. You’re driving down the street and suddenly there’s a famous person in their natural habitat. Sometimes they even climb on the car and pull off your wipers. I quickly learnt you should never keep an undressed tuna salad on the passenger seat.
Q: Were you ever intimidated to work with the impressive cast of M:i:III? What was it like working with Tom?
Pegg: Apart from my little freak out on my first day, everyone was lovely. I was made to feel very welcome. JJ felt like an old friend as soon as we met and Tom was the epitome of professionalism. Friendly, chatty and not at all starry. It was enormous fun.
Q: Please tell us a bit about Hot Fuzz and the tone of comedy it will use.
Pegg: Hot Fuzz is a police/action/comedy/thriller/comedy. We’re doing for the cops what we did for zombies. Taking a well used and traditionally American genre and putting it in a very British context. The cops aren’t armed in the UK so it’s not an ideal place for an action hero but it’s a great place to start, when your destination is complete carnage. Imagine Masterpiece Theatre doing Lethal Weapon.
Q: We had to wait forever for Shaun to come out in the US. How long will the wait be for Hot Fuzz?
Pegg: It’s being distributed by Rogue Pictures who distributed Shaun. I can’t wait to work with them again. Our Shaun press tour was a hoot. With any luck it will be released simultaneously in the US and UK next February.