Revisiting ‘The World’s End’ With Edgar Wright: His Favorite Scene, Films That Inspired the Movie and, Yes, Ant-Man Too
Edgar Wright is a busy man. His apocalyptic sci-fi comedy ‘The World’s End‘ hits DVD and Blu-ray today, loaded with an impressive lineup of special features (all curated by Wright himself). Not to mention, he’s up very early, pulling double duty and talking to us while eating a quick breakfast, before heading Marvel’s ‘Ant-Man‘ production office to start what will begin a long process of making that superhero movie he’s been patiently developing for over five years. It’s the kind of workload that would make the more temperamental of his peers testy, but Wright is perpetually cheery and polite, even for a Brit.
Below, our chat about why it’s important for him to have a great DVD and Blu-ray, his favorite ‘World’s End’ scene that still makes him laugh and what it means to finally get to work on his Marvel movie.
Well, today’s the day of the big ‘World’s End’ Blu-ray release.
Yeah. I’m actually going straight to work after this. I’m eating eggs as we speak and then I have a full day of work. My work is done! The Blu-ray is out. I don’t have to physically go out and sell them.
You’ve certainly put a lot of care into this release though.
The Blu-ray itself, we wanted to make it as thorough as the other two ['Shaun of the Dead' and 'Hot Fuzz']. People really like the other Blu-rays and we wanted to make this one just as good, quality-wise.
I watched this movie again recently and it’s almost better the second time around. Do you ever go back and watch your movies again after you’ve finished them? Even by accident?
Sometimes. Not by design. I don’t think I’ve ever sat down and said, “I’m gonna watch my own movie!” I don’t think I’ve ever done that. I think me and Simon [Pegg] watched ‘Shaun of the Dead’ and ‘Hot Fuzz’ back-to-back in L.A. once, but we did that because we were hosting a Q&A and thought we would stay and watch it together. Sometimes if I see something on TV, I’ll watch a little bit and get caught up in it. It’s always surreal for me to see them on TV. If I’m clicking around and it’s on, I might watch a bit of it.
Are you able to watch them impartially? Or are you re-evaluating your work?
I definitely have things in all the movies I’d like to change, but there’s not much you can really do about it (laughs). I can’t imagine myself going back and tinkering with things. There’s one tiny bit in ‘Scott Pilgrim’ I’d like to fix, but it’s not like you’re going to go do a Director’s Cut to go back in and fix something like that (laughs). You just have to make sure you’re as happy as you can be with the finished cut.
One of the movies that seems to have inspired you and Simon while writing this movie was ‘Always Fair Weather.’ Were there other movies that were influential as you were gearing up to make this movie?
It wasn’t something where we didn’t have the idea and we watched some films and suddenly thought of this movie. We always knew what the film was about. Obviously, a lot of it coming from our own lives. But, we did get together and watch a couple of other reunion shows. The only films we watched before we started were ‘Always Fair Weather’ and ‘The Big Chill.’ ‘Always Fair Weather’ is an interesting one because it’s bittersweet and about people reuniting after the war and 10 years later they don’t really know each other any more. But, we already had the idea for our story, because so much of it was coming straight from our own lives.
Speaking to that, do you find yourself in each of these five characters?
I think in all of them, yeah. Simon would say the same, too. There’s pieces of us in all of them, including Gary. You sort of sometimes model people on your friends, or group of friends, you had as a kid, so you bring some of your essence into each of these people. There are elements of Gary in me and there are elements of Andy in me. The bully thing – me and Simon had been through a similar thing, and having a crush on your friend’s sister…it’s just sort of, your experiences and memories come flooding out and pouring into the script. It’s funny, you’re making a sci-fi comedy about robots and the apocalypse and somehow it’s still writing what you know. That’s what they say, write what you know, so you just put that into the story.
There’s been a lot of discussion about this online and I’m curious as to your take on this – is Gary King supposed to be a likable character?
Well, I think even if you can’t relate to him, you probably know someone like him. I think that’s what it’s about. A lot of people have somebody in their life like that and have different ways of dealing with it. Some people want to help and some people don’t want to deal with it at all and run. Because there’s that something where people have that person in their lives, it was just an interesting character to deal with. He does some terrible things in the movie and is a really bad friend, and yet, he’s trying to find his own personal happiness, but doesn’t really know how to do it. His heart is in the right place in moments, but he’s constantly thwarted by reality.
It helps that Simon is an inherently likable guy.
Yeah. Simon has said that this is his favorite character to play. Switching that around, since he always plays the “nice guy,” was sort of fun. To be honest, we absolutely loved writing it. Writing Gary’s dialogue was the most fun we’ve ever had writing, because it was quite liberating to not have to worry about being (laughs) a nice guy or anything. I think my favorite bit of dialogue because it’s so beyond the pale of political correctness is that line that he says to Rosamund Pike in the disabled toilets, and Simon’s delivery of it, makes me laugh every time. It’s so ridiculous given that he’s also trying to chat her up at the time. Propositioning her for sex at the same time as — well, I won’t repeat it because it won’t be as funny here.
Is it weird that you’ve been working on ‘Ant-Man’ since 2006? Most of the other directors only have to answer annoying fanboy questions for a few months, but you’ve been dealing with this for five years. It must be nice to finally get started.
Yeah. Some of this is by my own making. I actually had the chance to make this a few years ago. ‘The World’s End’ came up though and we felt like we really had to make it then or it would never happen, and we’d regret it if we never did. And Marvel was very good, when I explained the situation, they just said, “Come back in two years and we’ll wait for you.” I was very fortunate that they were cool with that.