CS Interview: Simon Pegg on Lost Transmissions and Future Potential Projects
ComingSoon.net got the opportunity to chat with legendary English comedian and screenwriter Simon Pegg to discuss his latest film, the drama Lost Transmissions, which sees the 50-year-old star in an against-type role as a music producer struggling with schizophrenia.
Based on a true story, Lost Transmissions follows Theo Ross (Pegg), a respected, Los Angeles music producer. His friend, Hannah (Temple), a shy, aspiring songwriter, discovers that he has lapsed on his medication for schizophrenia. In an effort to get Theo the help he needs, Hannah and their group of friends, chase him as he outruns his colorful delusions through the glamour and grit of Los Angeles’ music scene.
Lost Transmissions premiered at the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival and went on to receive wide acclaim on the festival circuit, including Best Actor honors for Simon Pegg at the DTLA Film Festival.
Also written by O’Brien, the film was produced by Filip Jan Rymsza for Royal Road Entertainment alongside Tory Lenosky for Pulse Films, alongside Al Di for Underlying Tension, and Olga Kagan. Executive Producers were Pulse Films’ Thomas Benski and Brian Levy, Bo An, Alan Li, Katharine O’Brien, and Robert Schwartzman. The film is co-produced by Craig Newman, Alyssa Swanzey, and Jo Henriquez.
Being based on and inspired by real people in the music industry, Pegg was able to draw inspiration from many artists for his character, namely American singer-songwriter Daniel Johnston, who struggled with mental illness for much of his career until his death last year from an unspecified kidney problem.
“Daniel was an artist who suffered from similar health issues that have really become relevant today,” Pegg explained. “It sort of made singing his music in the film extra poignant for me. But yeah, the film and especially Daniel Johnston, it all really struck a chord with me.”
Much like many actors’ concerns when getting a character suffering from a mental issue, Pegg felt it was of the utmost importance that the film not draw any kind of false connections between mental illness and creativity.
“My character didn’t have multiple personalities and split personalities,” Pegg said. “There’s also this very romantic idea that mental health issues can inspire great art when i think that great art perseveres despite mental health issues. To me, it was important to make sure I had a working understanding of what schizophrenia did to the mind.”
With his character being an iconic music producer, Pegg and co-star Juno Temple (Maleficent: Mistresses of Evil) have both had various experiences in the music world and sought to use his experiences for even the smallest of moments and details in the film.
“As a sort of music producer in the movie, what I needed to learn how to do was drive a mixing desk, so that I could appear skilled in tweaking all of those knobs,” Pegg described. “I’ve been around enough studios to know what goes on and how it works, to try to use some of my own experiences to make it look authentic. He’s a very accomplished music producer and has been around a long time, so I wanted him to seem quite naturalistic.”
Pegg is well-known for being the co-lead of the Three Flavors Cornetto Trilogy alongside Nick Frost (Tomb Raider), having been friends in real life for decades, and his on-screen buddy is always ready for their next collaboration.
“Well we haven’t made a movie about us at age 70 yet,” he chuckled. “But yeah, we’re definitely in it for the long haul. I’m looking forward to whenever we get to work together again, that’s something I always love to do.”
In addition to the Cornetto Trilogy, the two have starred together in the cult British series Spaced, which Wright also directed multiple episodes of, the 2011 sci-fi comedy Paul, which they co-wrote together, and the 2011 adaptation of the iconic French comic The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn, which has been seen by some as Indiana Jones for younger viewers. Despite Pegg having starred in numerous pop culture touchstones, including Star Trek, Star Wars and Mission: Impossible, the Harrison Ford-led adventure franchise is not one he is in any rush to join just for the sake of it.
“I don’t know, I kind of feel like what it really comes down to is that I don’t just want to tick boxes just to do it,” Pegg said. “I’ve been in a number of huge films, and it’s always lots of fun, but I think there needs to be a better reason as to why I’d participate in a series.”
Lost Transmissions will be available in theaters and On Demand on March 13.