The World's End marks the end, and a fittingly apocalyptic end, of ’s Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy, which fans might better know as the Blood and Ice Cream trilogy. This trio of genre-tastic comedies, Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz rounding out the list, launched the careers of Wright and his two principal collaborators and . In honor of this epic conclusion, opening in theaters on Friday, we bellied up to the bar with Wright, Pegg, and Frost to get some insights into the film and to provide you, the reader, with even more reasons why you should see it.
Reason 1: Simon Pegg Plays His Darkest Character of the Trilogy, Calls him Beetlejuice
It was a breath of fresh air. I really enjoyed it. I think Gary has probably been my favorite experience, in terms of acting, out of all three films. It was the opposite of Nicholas Angel. Nicholas Angel is such a reactive character, that he doesn't even smile for forty minutes in 'Hot Fuzz'. And as much as I loved doing 'Hot Fuzz', he wasn't a massively fun character to play, but he was a necessary part of a larger story. Whereas Gary was enormous fun to play because he’s just so annoying. But also I never at any point forgot why he is the way he is. He’s incredibly driven and super divisive and manipulative. He’s mobile the whole time. He never stops moving, because he can’t. If he stops, the whole horrible truth of his existence will come crashing in on him. It was fun to play, essentially Beetlejuice.
It’s important that we don’t just keep doing the same thing and people get bored of it. Any chance you get to be someone else and to challenge yourself, that’s what we do. I think people just assume that we’re those characters. I’m probably more like this character than any I’ve played before, with the exception of Ed…when I was like Ed. It’s important to keep evolving, that’s what this film is about: keep moving forward. Like our friendships, and like the friendships in the films that we portrayed, they have to change. They have to evolve.
Reason 2: It's As Much Based on Gene Kelly and British Literature as it is upon Science-Fiction Films
There's no cliff notes that you need to enjoy this movie. We never wanted it to feel like we were being exclusive in any way. Funny enough, the only two films that we actually rewatched before we wrote the screenplay, we didn't rewatch any of the sci-fi stuff, were 'The Big Chill' and a musical called 'It's Always Fair Weather'; about war time buddies meeting up ten years after the war and discovering that had nothing in common. It was the reunion films that we went back to. Then there's a lot of British literature, and great writers, that then were adapted into film and television. Things like John Wyndham's 'Midwich Cuckoos', which becomes 'Village of the Damned'. There's also John Christopher, and Nigel Kneale who wrote the 'Quatermass' series. A lot of these filter into TV like 'Dr. Who','The Avengers', and 'The Prisoner'. So much of this is such a big part of our upbringing.
Reason 3: The Apropos Soundtrack
Very early on, you know exactly what song you want in the movie. Like ['Whisky Bar'] by The Doors, just the lyrics of that song...straightaway we knew that's got to be in the movie. If we can afford The Doors, by god we'll have The Doors. It's either The Doors or David Bowie. We can't have both, too expensive. If you look at the soundtrack album, just the song names alone are like DVD chapters. 'Fools Gold' by The Stone Roses plays when Gary is thinking about someone else's beer. That's rock bottom, drinking someone else's beer, that's fool's gold. We liked the idea of having songs that are very prescriptive. Even the songs Gary has on his mixtape are all these hedonistic party songs.
Gary quotes from three of those songs when he’s [fighting The Blanks].
Even the songs he loves help him at the time of apocalypse.
Reason 4: The Epic Fight Sequences
I broke my hand. We trained very hard in the run up to the shoot. Not just the fight training and learning the choreography, but just getting in shape because the fight scenes took a lot of energy and stamina to complete. We worked with Brad Allen, a fabulous stunt coordinator from Australia who had worked extensively with Jackie Chan. He brought that wonderful invention and almost clowning to the fight sequences. What Brad does really well is that he manages to make sure that the characters are sustained through the fights. Usually in films when a fight breaks out, you hand it over to the stuntmen and the characters stop being the characters; they're just throwing punches. It was very important that we all did the fights ourselves, and that we maintained our characters in the fights. You've got Gary never wanting to put his pint down, you've got Andy becoming this sort of beserker, Paddy's throwing these big hay-makers, Martin's always wriggling out of things, and Eddie's always hiding. We wanted to make sure that even in the midst of that chaos that we stayed in character. That was very much bred of Brad and Edgar's collaboration.
I was really lucky that I did a film before this that was a dance film, so I trained to be a dancer for seven months. I had a week between that wrapping and the rehearsals for this beginning. So in terms of learning vast choreographies, I was good. I also trained as a kick-boxer for three to four years in my early thirties so I was quite good at punching too. This was like a dream for me to come and do this. You're there all day doing that, fighting for fourteen/fifteen hours per day. So you have to be fit. I think a fear of mine was being hurt, being injured. So that was the [motivator] to stay fit.
Reason 5: Unlike the Characters in the Film, Wright and Company Agree It's Time to Move On
If the movie's about anything, actually says, 'you've got to go forwards and not backwards.' It's dangerous to try and recapture former glories, that's what the movie is about. So much of cinema these days is about trying to recapture the highs of a film that came out twenty years ago or a toy that you played with when you were a little kid. If there's any meta aspect to 'The World's End', it's that we as a culture are obsessed with the past and it's time to move on. Gary is a guy who is trapped in that cycle, and when he forcibly turns back the clock he gets much more than he bargained for.
It's always been on our minds though. Each one of our films is about the loss of identity; the possible loss of identity to a marauding homogenous force, whether it be zombies or the NWA or The Blanks. The Blanks are the synthesis of the zombies and the NWA; they're aggressive modifiers. And maybe that's because we're making small films in the UK in a huge industry that isn't always easy to navigate. Maybe that's what that is, it's our own sense of self against the mass.
We would say that 'The World's End' has the happiest ending of the three. Most comedies, you could laugh straight for 100 minutes in the theater and have completely forgotten about it by the time you pick up your car. We aimed to do something that people would think about, think about their own lives or someone they know. We make these movies at a certain budget level so they're uncompromised. Then they can be personal, and by being very specific, you end up resonating more.
Things We Learned Before Last Call:
Nick Frost Wants to Play James Bond
They've never had a plus-sized Bond. Big Bond. 0007. I can't wait to chop Blofeld in the neck.
They've Been Working on The World's End Since 2007
You've got to make movies that you want to do rather than the movies you think you ought to do. We had the idea for this at the end of the 'Hot Fuzz' press tour. We had the story, the genre element and everything, worked out in 2007. It was good actually having the break, because we got older and had more to put into it.
We were always going to make this movie; always come back together again. We decided after 'Hot Fuzz' that we wanted to make three, and we realized we were allowed to make three and that became our ultimate goal.
We Should Stop Holding our Breath for Certain Wright Projects
We've never done anything just because the people that follow us have demanded it, much as we love them. We never made a third series of 'Spaced' and we were asked about that a lot, we still get f***ing asked about that.
I will also never make a feature version of [my fake trailer] 'Don't.'
Pegg, Frost, and Crew are Facing...Action Figures?
With the design, one of the themes in the film is that Gary is aggressively regressing his friends with alcohol; turning back the clock and they start acting more like teenagers as soon as they start getting drunk. And the baddies themselves are like action figures. We wanted it to feel almost like they were playing with their toys. The idea was that these baddies are action figures that break apart easily; you can twist their heads off, break them apart, and it's not clear how they work. We talked about the heads being like Easter Eggs; a hollow bauble that you could smash really easily.
And Finally, Nick Frost Drops Some Mad Truth Bombs
Have a look around, if you don't know a Gary King, you might be Gary King.