Of all the films on display at this year’s Comic-Con International San Diego, it’s quite arguably Edgar Wright’s The World’s End that deserves the prize for going the distance. Between a special fan screening, giveaways in the street, a viral trading card hunt, and lots of other surprises, it was made well-known that the Wright’s “Cornetto Trilogy” is releasing its final chapter on August 23rd. It was Friday’s Hall H presentation, however, that emerges as one of the Con’s highlights, simply for the laughs-per-minute ratio doled out when Wright joined stars and creative collaborators Simon Pegg and Nick Frost on stage.
The “Cornetto Trilogy,” so known for its references to the three original flavors of the European ice cream brand, also includes 2004’s Shaun of the Dead and 2007’s Hot Fuzz. Linked by thematic threads, Shaun explored zombie films with Fuzz tackling cop action movies. Now, The World’s End take on British science fiction.
“Our TARDIS in this film is beer,” Pegg joked at the head of the panel.
“We should have called it ‘Doctor Hooch,'” Wright shot back, not missing a beat.
Although both Pegg and co-star Martin Freeman appeared in the first two films, Wright laughed that he now has the advantage of having both Scotty and Bilbo Baggins in his film. The years, after all, have been very good to Wright and his friends, even if it meant a six-year break since Hot Fuzz. In that time, Wright went on to direct Scott Pilgrim vs. the World and Pegg and Frost (among other projects) re-teamed without Wright for the Greg Mottola-helmed Paul.
Pegg described being on the The World’s End set as being like “putting on a pair of comfortable slippers,” while Frost’s metaphor was a bit more extreme.
“It’s like having a brief love affair,” he smiled, “and you come back to your marriage and it just makes it stronger.”
Initially drafted by Wright and Pegg, the script for The World’s End was then given to Frost so he could “sprinkle his fairy dust” on the material.
“It’s actually dandruff,” Frost deadpanned.
“If Nick Frost stops you on the convention floor,” Wright immediately warned, “and tries to sprinkle you with fairy dust, run.”
Frost, who earned the nickname “Pink Hulk” on set for his character’s epic, rage-fueled action scenes, pointed out how much of a departure his Andrew Knightley is from Shaun‘s Ed.
“At times,” he joked about the experience of shooting Shaun, “they just came into my house and shot stuff as I was laying about.”
Shot entirely on location, The World’s End has a number of action-heavy sequences, some of which were quite a challenge to shoot with the actors doing most of their own stunts.
“We basically created a new art form called ‘Pub-Fu,'” Pegg said.
During one fight scene take, Pegg unfortunately managed to break his hand. A (perhaps overly dedicated) consummate professional, Pegg refused to tell anyone about his injury until six takes later, knowing that the reveal would mean an end to shooting for the day.
Although Pegg, Frost and Wright are done with the trilogy, they all agree that it’s a good bet they’ll be working together soon, albeit in what will likely be a different form. It won’t, sadly, be with another series of “Spaced,” the television show that originally brought them together.
“I don’t think we will ever do [a third series of ‘Spaced’],” Wright said in response to a fan question during the panel, explaining that the series was largely about youthfulness “ I want to leave them 26 forever.”
After The World’s End arrives in theaters, however, fans already have something to look forward to in the home video release. Wright promises that the film offers “the easiest drinking game in the world.”
“Here’s the rules,” he laughed. “Take a drink every time a character takes a drink.”
Now playing in England, The World’s End opens domestically August 23.