RLJE Films provided ComingSoon.net with the chance to have an exclusive chat with Simon Pegg for Terminal, the new noir thriller from director Vaughn Stein, which arrives on Blu-ray this week. Check out the interview below in which Pegg talks about working with Mike Myers, the upcoming TV show Truthseekers as well as working with director Edgar Wright again on a future film!
Terminal stars Academy Award nominee Margot Robbie (I, Tonya), along with Simon Pegg (Star Trek), Mike Myers (Austin Powers), Max Irons (The White Queen) and Dexter Fletcher (Kick Ass).
In the dark heart of a sprawling, anonymous city, Terminal follows the twisting tales of two assassins carrying out a sinister mission, a teacher battling a fatal illness, an enigmatic janitor and a curious waitress leading a dangerous double life. Murderous consequences unravel in the dead of night as their lives all intertwine at the hands of a mysterious criminal mastermind hell-bent on revenge.
Terminal was produced by Robbie alongside Tom Ackerley (I, Tonya) and Josey McNamara (Dreamland) under their LuckyChap Entertainment banner, David Barron (Harry Potter) of BeaglePug, Highland Film Group’s Arianne Fraser (Barely Lethal), Molly Hassell (The Trust), and Teun Hilte (The White King).
ComingSoon.net: What initially drew you to “Terminal”?
Simon Pegg: A couple of things, actually. Firstly, I was really intrigued and heartened by the fact that it was essentially a group of ADs that were deciding to put themselves forward in the industry and become producers. I really like that desire to do that. Margot got attached which gave them some momentum, and Margot’s an extraordinary actress. It just felt like something I wanted to get involved with. It was a spec script, it wasn’t any specific product that was being rebooted or recycled, even though it was essentially a genre reboot. Secondly, the script was like a play. I just liked the fact that it was so dialogue heavy. I really liked the fact that the character I was playing seemed, in the outset, to be an amiable sad sack likeable guy, and then turned out to be the devil. I like making the audience feel a certain way about a character and then saying, “Well actually no, he’s this.”
CS: When something is as stylized and heightened as this movie do you have to modulate your performance, or do you play it the same way as if it were some hyper-grounded Mike Leigh movie or something?
Pegg: The reality of it is heightened. It’s not a naturalistic piece, but then again it’s also not some Brechtian, alienating style either. We’re sorta playing it straight but at the same time knowing you’re in a heightened world. Most of the scenes I have are with Margot, and it was really fun to sit across from her and spar. You could pretty much put all our scenes into a short play and have it be dinner theater, you know? That was really fun. You modulate your performance in terms of what you’re talking about, because they’re talking about such crazy stuff. Like they’re talking about death but the idea was to make it sound like they were talking about sports or something.
CS: It was cool to see you have some scenes with Mike Meyers because years ago Quentin Tarantino originally had you pegged to play the role Michael Fassbender played alongside Myers in “Inglourious Basterds” and you couldn’t do it. Did this feel like a kind of reclamation of sorts?
Pegg: It was nice to finally meet him, yeah, because we’d sort of missed each other a few times, not least that time. That was a strange week where I had to choose between doing a Tarantino movie and a Spielberg movie, which is not a terrible problem to have. At the end I’d already signed on for Tintin so it was a no-brainer because I couldn’t renege on the deal, particularly because it was Steven. It was nice to finally get to hang out with Mike. He’d just given Edgar Wright permission to use his face as a mask in Baby Driver so I was able to thank him for that. We had fun! He’s very concentrated on set, he was using the prosthetics and he has this incredible… not like a method actor… but he did have this incredible backstory he comes up with to find the depth in what happened before. He really loses himself in it. Because that character is very eccentric, and the idea that he’s being portrayed by a bad actor (laughs) if you know the whole story behind it. There were times when he pushed it just a bit too far and I’d crack up or forget my lines, but it’s a great performance by him I think.
CS: It’s also interesting to see you two paired because you’re both known not only for developing your own material but also the material you guys develop is very personal. I think that makes both of you very unique within the entertainment realm.
Pegg: Yeah, absolutely. And also what we’ve done has been mainly comedic and we’re not either of us known for dramatic pieces, so it was fun to do something like that with him. In any other situation we’d be doing comedy. (laughs)
CS: You and Nick Frost are doing the show “Truthseekers” and that had me excited because I know from reading your book that you were legitimately into the occult. I think you had a comedy troupe named after David Icke. What are you going to bring from your own interests in the occult to the show?
Pegg: Nick and I have always had an interest… I mean, neither of us have any real belief in the occult. (laughs)
CS: Oh yeah, not a belief but an interest.
Pegg: Yeah yeah. We used to go ghost hunting for, like, sh*ts and giggles. I don’t think I’m gonna be in the show, Nick and I are gonna write it together and Nick’s gonna be in it. It’s not gonna be a two-hander. We’ve got other plans for stuff where we work together. We have a screenplay we’re working on together and at some point Edgar will be available to come make a film with the three of us. The Stolen Picture production company has loads of stuff we want to do, that’s all to come.
CS: The occult is just a fascinating thing to me, especially the stuff from the 70’s where you saw an explosion of public interest in things like the yeti, crop circles, cow mutilations, “Chariots of the Gods,” all those kind of things.
Pegg: There was a magazine released in the UK called “The Unexplained.” It was a monthly magazine and you collected them and there was a binder and you put them all in the binder. It was full of spontaneous human combustion and UFOs and the Nazca Lines and all that stuff. One of our writers had them all and he brought them into the office and it was such an amazing trip down memory lane. What’s hilarious is all these pictures of spontaneous human combustion are always grim pictures of charred bodies but it’s always next to a three-bar fire or something. (laughs) It was always fairly obvious what happened. “Yeah, that old person just fell into the fire.” There are so many people willing to believe in the extraordinary rather than the ordinary.
CS: I know you’re planning on doing a more improv-based two-hander, and you said Edgar wants to do another movie as well?
Pegg: Oh yeah, that’s like a given. The only reason we haven’t is just timing. Me and Edgar and Nick are not colleagues, we’re friends. We go back a long time and we have a relationship that transcends work, but if only to hang with each other for an extended period we’ll make another film again. It’s just with our various commitments we have to find the time to write and make it. Me and Edgar talk about it all the time, and whenever we’re together we start brainstorming and we have certain ideas we want to develop. It’s just a question of “when,” not “if.”
CS: This will be outside the realm of the Three Cornetto, because you guys put a bow on that, right?
Pegg: Yeah, that ended up being a loosely thematic trilogy of films. The next thing we do will be different in terms of the preoccupation. It depends. It won’t be a Three Cornetto film, and that was something that evolved over the course of making those three movies, which were almost loose sequels even though they weren’t narratively connected. You could thematically link them… with ice cream. (laughs)