Capone lunches with the SPACED crew--Simon Pegg, Edgar Wright and Jessica Hynes!!!
Published at: Aug. 23, 2008, 1:06 a.m. CST by Capone
Hey everyone. Capone in Chicago here, saving the best of my Comic-Con coverage for last.
Two of my absolute favorite people in the known universe are Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright. I first met them (along with Nick Frost) briefly after a preview screening of SHAUN OF THE DEAD in Chicago a few years back. Shortly after that, I tracked down an import DVD of their "Spaced" series, which remains one of my all-time most cherished shows to watch and rewatch. Like most right-thinking human beings, I fell into a deep state of crush with Jessica Stevenson (now Jessica Hynes), who played Daisy to Pegg's Tim and co-wrote the series with him. The series remains one of the great geek love stories in history.
My first proper sit-down interview with Pegg, Wright, and Frost happened the day after I hosted a post-screening Q&A following a sold-out HOT FUZZ showing. (I even somehow managed to make it onto the documentary on the trio's U.S. promotional tour, featured on the film's DVD; a certain Harry Knowles and the original Alamo Drafthouse in Austin are prominently featured as well.) As you might suspect, these three are a fun and easy interview, and they are without a doubt loyal supporters and readers of this site.
Until recently, the one question that inevitably came up during any Q&A in any city where some combination of these three appeared was "When is 'Spaced' coming out on DVD in the states?" The answer to that question inevitably involved a sad story of music-right clearances in the U.S. But today, things have changed. Just before Comic-Con began, "Spaced" was released on DVD stateside. For those who already own the DVDs from the UK, the main added U.S. feature are fantastic additional commentary tracks from the likes of Kevin Smith, Patton Oswalt, Quentin Tarantino, Matt Stone, Diablo Cody, and Bill Hader, all of whom rightfully worship the show.
I knew that Pegg, Wright, and the lovely Mrs. Hynes would be appearing at a Comic-Con panel (moderated by Moriarty and running opposite the WATCHMEN panel, which meant I could not attend), and the three hosted a screening of three episodes of the show that night. So when I got the call to interview the "Spaced" crew, I immediately said yes. After scheduling and re-scheduling early-morning times for the meet, an even more intriguing offer came: How about lunch? Immediately images of John Favreau's "Dinner for Five" (or in my case, Four) sprung to mind, and I couldn't get the word "Yes" out of my mouth fast enough. As much as I love Simon and Edgar, I knew the real score here was Hynes (I think most autograph-seeking followers of "Spaced" would agree), who doesn't make it to the states often thanks to a ridiculously busy film and TV schedule, which in recent years has included appearances in such movies as CONFETTI and SON OF RAMBOW.
Anyway, I had a fantastic time visiting with my old friends and making one new one, and I hope that the fun we had hanging out and talking translates in this transcription. We begin by talking about "Spaced" but branch off into every direction possible regarding upcoming projects, including a certain STAR TREK relaunch for Pegg; the final installment in their "blood and ice cream" trilogy; what TV shows everyone is watching; and a whole lot more. Enjoy…
[We've just ordered lunch and are just getting settled.]
Capone: Are you going to Steve Coogan's HAMLET 2 party tonight?
Simon Pegg: We're not going to go see the film, but we've going to go an say Hi at the party.
Capone: I'll probably see you there. I'm moderating the Q&A with him after the film.
SP: Oh, you are? Cool.
Capone: Have you seen the film yet?
SP: No, I haven't, and I really want to.
Edgar Wright: Is it good?
Capone: Yeah. It's just nuts. And I just saw TROPIC THUNDER again last night, and he's great in that too.
SP: How did that go down?
Capone: It was phenomenal. Audiences are digging it, and I loved it. They actually had to add a midnight showing because so many people showed up for the earlier screening.
EW: I know, we nearly went to the later showing.
Capone: Edgar, I've heard you on Steve Jones radio show a couple times, and I really loved the music selections.
EW: When I did it last November, those were all my picks. That was really fun; I had a blast. But it was really bizarre to be asked to fill in for a Sex Pistol. I couldn't be more different from Steve Jones if I tried, but he's amazing. It's kind of changed my perception of him, that show, because your perception of him from the Sex Pistols is that he was kind of like a bit of a yob. But he's so funny and sweet on that show, and his music picks are so not what you would expect form him at all. He's playing skiffle and Doris Day and Cliff Richard. Its' amazing. Steve Jones playing Doris Day on a Los Angeles indie alternative radio show.
Jessica Hynes: I love Doris Day. Does that make me gay?
EW: No, I don't think so. Doris Day was a honey.
Capone: And it's alright if you are. You can be gay for one person.
Capone: I'm going to attempt to turn this into a real interview if I may. Was there anything resembling a mission statement when it came to "Spaced"? Was there something going on at the time that you were hoping to tap into or perhaps stay clear of?
SP: I don't know if it was like a master plan…
JH: I had a master plan.
SP: [laughs] Did you? Were you working your master plan? For me, it was more organic, kind of what we wanted to do, and I guess that mirrored what people wanted to see, I suppose. It was less ordained or intended.
JH: My feeling about it was there seemed to be an enormous chasm between my life experiences and my experiences in the world and what I was seeing on television, even those shows that we intended to show my life experience. There was a British show on at the time--and I can't remember what it was called--but it was a kind of flat-share sitcom, and it bore absolutely no resemblance to me or anybody I knew or anything that was going on in my life. And I just felt instinctively that there was a gap in the market, a space on television, a space for "Spaced." But there was something that wasn't happening that should be happening, which is a kind of voice of certainly of me and my friends. As it turned out, it was a voice of our generation, which is about being young, living out of home, how you kind of make friends, how you forge a life for yourself in the confusion of the world. And doing it in a way that was in no way second-hand. You're not creating a world that's filtering through some sort of…you're not reinventing a story and writing it slightly different. You're actually studying your own life and your own friendships and experiences and finding a way of comedically and creatively and entertainingly putting that on screen.
One thing I didn't like was the sort of gritty, kitchen sink things, in terms of their interest to me. I enjoyed them, but it wasn't anything I wanted to do as a writer creatively, to follow someone around with a shaky camera doing normal things. The intention always in "Spaced" was the create a kind of authentic, idiosyncratic world populated with heightened but totally believable and interesting, complex comedy characters, and elevate their world, create a kind of world of magical realism. I think at the time, I thought, "Oh, we can do a whole episode like 'Friends' or a whole episode like 'X-Files'" and have a total understanding of how those shows worked. But then Simon said, "Well, that's what they do on 'The Simpsons.' At the time I met Simon, I'd watched a bit of "Simpsons," but nothing like the amount I then subsequently watched as a result of meeting him. And suddenly, we'd created a sort of style for the show, which was all about their living through these pop-culture references, which Simon and I were also always bandying about. It's like, whenever you sit down and write a comedy scene is say, "Has this been done before? Who's done this before?" And you write an idea or you think of a set up and virtually every single…whether it's a leaving scene, a partying scene, a leaving scene, a love scene, a death scene, they've all been done in different ways in film and television over the last 50 years. There were so many references to borrow from, and that's kind of how the style…
SP: Have you just injected coffee into your eyeballs or something?
EW: [laughs] He's got to transcribe all of this, you know?
JH: "Skip to the end."
Capone: No no no. I'm not stopping you. But it's like you said, it was very much this combination of realistic friendships mixed with this hyper-realism that allowed you to siphon in all of the sci-fi, action, horror references.
EW: One way of looking at it is that the Tim and Daisy have grow up so suffused with popular culture, video games, comics, TV, music, films, that that is the only way that can articulate themselves. And in a way, the show is almost as if this is how they would imagine that their lives are really like. There's an element of naturalism in terms of what they're wearing, the style of their performance, how ordinary and mundane the locations are. But then the stylized look of it can drift into other genres, so it has this heightened feel of a genre film. A TV reviewer in the UK once said it was like "Friends" directed by Sam Raimi, which we all took as a high compliment.
To go back to what Jess said about the time that it was made, because it was a show about 20-somethings, it was the only show on at the time written by, starring, and directed by 20-somethings. We were all the same age as the characters. I was 24, Jess was 25, and Simon was 27. We were all exactly that age, and we were all living in those kinds of apartments, playing those games, watching those films on VHS at the time.
SP: That was our lives. That's why in some respects it would be hard to return to the show as it was, because our lives have changed so much. We aren't those people anymore. We've all done different things, big things in our lives, whether that be personally, professionally. And I think, we were kind of Tim and Daisy really. We were in that situation. We're not really now.
Capone: The one major thing about the show I never really looked into was its success. Was it successful in its initial run?
SP: It was a complete disaster.
EW: It probably had a bit more viewers, but it was a comparative success to something like "Arrested Development," maybe we did a bit better than that. But if you put it against "The Office" or "Little Britain," it was maybe getting a quarter of the viewers of those shows.
EW: Well, okay. Maybe a quarter of "The Office" and one-tenth the viewers of "Little Britain." That show was fucking huge. But when it came out, it got really good critical fanfare. And we immediately got a very fervent and loyal fan base. By episode three of the first series, this fan called Nick Lee has already started Spaced Out, the fan site. So he started that fan site before the first series has even ended. And so it was right around the time when the internet was really blowing up, and it had that kind of support, where people would pour over every detail and every joke and every character, so that was really interesting. Then we got nominated for a bunch of awards, we won two. Jessica got Best Female Comedy Performer twice. No, Best Newcomer and Best Female Comedy Performer. But really when the second series came out, it never made a huge ratings splash, and I think at the time--and we worked on it really hard--it was a little bit deflating for it to only rate so much, and you put so much blood, sweat, and tears into it.
Then the DVD is what we attribute the continued success of the show. I think more people saw it on DVD than saw it when it was originally transmitted, and not just in the UK but it started catching on around the world. One of the reason we're here now is because of places like Comic-Con, when we were here four years ago to promote SHAUN OF THE DEAD, the very first question we got asked during the Q&A was "When is 'Spaced' coming out on DVD?" And even at a screening of that film, when a "Spaced" reference would come up, there would be a ripple of applause. And then to do that screening last night in front of 1,500 people who knew it all off by heart, that was amazing. In a different country, where until this week, the show really hasn't been available, it barely got shown on BBC America in a cut form. So for the show to have done well through Region 2 DVDs or people watching it on the internet, it's amazing.
Capone: I bought my Region 2 DVD the day after I saw SHAUN OF THE DEAD. And the long delay had to do with music rights, is that correct?
EW: Yeah. When we made the show, we weren't really thinking of it beyond being on Friday night on Channel 4. When you're in a situation where you have a really great piece of music and somebody says, "We can get this cleared everywhere except North America," you go, "Fuck it! Go ahead; it'll be fine." We never thought we'd be here eight years later talking about it.
SP: I think we've done more press in the last week than you and I ever did for the show in Britain.
EW: I know. It's true. That's absolutely true.
SP: Do you remember doing any press for the show?
JH: No, we didn't do any.
EW: I remember once doing a thing for Time Out with Emma when we got drunk.
JH: That's right, we did that thing drunk with a journalist. And then I got up and did karaoke.
EW: You sang "She's Strange" by Cameo.
JH: Happy days!
Capone: Was there a defining moment for any of you when you first realized that "Spaced" had taken off in ways and to a magnitude you never anticipated?
JH: That defining moment happened this year for me. It probably happened earlier for these guys.
SP: For me it was here for SHAUN OF THE DEAD, and I couldn't sleep and I went out really early, like 7 a.m. to get a coffee. I was walking blurry eyed through the streets of San Diego, and bumped into two girls who had t-shirts on with pictures of Jess and Me, the cartoon version of Tim and Daisy. They might have had one Tim, one Daisy. Not only was it weird that I should see them, but it was weird that I should see them walking around at 7 a.m. That gave me some idea that there was an awareness of the show here. And I kept coming back and saying, "Jess, you'll never guess what I saw."
JH: I was kind of like, "Oh yeah sure." If you're not there. I was in a very different kind of world…
JH: Right, London. Not really a different world, but a different part of the planet.
SP: North London.
JH: North London. So it didn't register to me. And it was only when I came out to do the DVD commentary in March , and we were in a sound studio in L.A. with Quentin Tarantino and Diablo Cody and Matt Stone and Kevin Smith. And I thought, "Okay, yeah, yes. 'Spaced' is popular in America. [laughs] And the penny dropped.
EW: The thing is, before this tour, I said to Jess, "You're going to be MVA, most valuable autograph, because people have gotten me and Simon and Nick a whole bunch of times. But no one has managed to get Jess. And then on Monday, when we did the first screening at the Village East in New York, the cheer you got when you came on stage was amazing because you haven't done any press for this show over here. It is absolutely true what Simon just said. We've done more press this week than we ever did for the show in the UK, when it was on.
Capone: I'm still a little heart broken this publicity train isn't coming through Chicago, because, my God, you number of people who would show up would be unlike any other event. We turned hundreds of people away from the HOT FUZZ screening.
SP: Yeah. That was a big night, that was a big theater.
EW: And you're on the documentary about the U.S. press tour, right?
Capone: That's right. My first DVD appearance. Thank you for that. And I'd bought the two-disc UK DVD of that because it came out first, but it didn't have that documentary on it. It wasn't until weeks after the U.S. release that a friend of mine said, "Hey, you know you're on this DVD, right?" So I had to buy it again.
EW: Have you watched the longer version on the three-disc edition?
Capone: I have.
EW: That's a funny documentary. [To Jess] Since this is Ain't It Cool, why don't you send a message to the Austin people.
JH: Oh, I know. I've got to go back to London. I've got rehearsal commitments back in London. I thought I might be able to get back somehow, but I can't. And I'm absolutely mortified that I'm going to miss it.
Capone: They're going to be mortified that you're not there.
JH: Somebody mentioned Butt-Numb-a-Thon in December. And Edgar and Simon were like, "Are you sure you want to go to that?" It sounds like fun. Also, I've heard Austin is the best city ever. I've never been to Texas, and I really want to go down there. Maybe it's a curse around the ["Spaced"] marathon. I missed it in London too.
SP: She agonized over letting down her next job to do it.
JH: I don't want to let these guys down or the Austin guys down, but I can't let the guys down back there either. It's not a normal quandary for me, and I'm terrible at making decisions. I left it and left it and left it, but I have to do the right thing. I'm really upset I'm not going to be there, because I know it's going to be the highlight of the tour.
SP: It's a shame as well because it's been really nice hanging out with each other again, just spending time with each other.
JH: Um, speak for yourself.
SP: I'd forgotten how much fun Jess could be. I mean that even though I said it in a funny voice. I'd forgotten what a laugh the three of us have, and doing the interviews this morning in particular has been quite fun. We're slightly tired; we went out late last night. We were in that kind of dazed, mischievous mood. I think we sang the whole theme song to "Diff'rent Strokes" in one interview, which was a way to start off.
JH: I'll be finished what I'm doing by December, so I do want to come back over. And see as how the U.S. seems to love me, I think I love the U.S.
Capone: You mentioned the new DVD commentaries. Whose idea was that? You've certainly collected new friends over the years, who seem more than willing to do those sort of things for you.
EW: It had taken eight years for the DVD to come out, and the distributor said, "Do you want to add anything else?" And I was thinking that we should just release the Collectors' Edition. And then I thought about it, and it was around the time when the U.S. remake was floating around, and we'd gotten press quotes from our various celebrity fans, and I thought, "Maybe we should do some new commentaries. We're not going to replace the existing ones." They're still on there. In fact, all of the content from the UK Collectors' Edition is still on there, and it just seemed like a really nice way for people who are fans of the show, some of whom who saw it after SHAUN OF THE DEAD; some of whom like Patton Oswald and Bill Hader, who had seen it before SHAUN OF THE DEAD. So Quentin and Kevin Smith and Diablo and Matt Stone--it's like a G8 summit of geeks.
SP: I think it's the G7.
EW: The cool thing about it is, more than SHAUN or HOT FUZZ, there are probably British references in "Spaced." Not that they're difficult to get, and we took time between the Homage-O-Meter and the 28 commentaries, I think people will be up to speed.
Capone: Diablo Cody is a very interesting and timely choice.
EW: She's a lady geek.
SP: It was important for us to have a female voice within the commentary because the show is equal parts male and female. It would be a shame if it ended up being a boys' affair.
JH: The geek word, it's interesting, because I've never heard anyone feminize it. I'm not sure it needs to be feminized.
SP: There's no geekess. A geek's a geek.
JH: It could be leek. Or geedy. Geekella. Geekette. Feemeek.
EW: A feek?
JH: I don't think you really need that distinction.
SP: We didn't want Jess to be one her own, or be the only one flying the flag for estrogen in the commentary.
JH: Diablo is a total film buff. She's a brilliant writer.
Capone: She's a great talker too.
JH: She IS a great talker. I'm so excited about her new movie.
SP: It became a little bit of a lovefest between the two of you to be honest.
JH: I'm so excited about seeing J-BOD (JENNIFER'S BODY); I really am. I know it's going to be absolutely brilliant. I'm sure it will divide opinion, and there will be people saying all sorts of stuff about it, but I think it's going to be really exciting and I'm really excited about seeing it.
EW: There is a point on commentary with Diablo where you start interviewing her about JUNO for 15 minutes, and it turns into the JUNO junket, which I know Diablo was saying afterwards, "Can you take that stuff out? I already talked about all of that on the JUNO DVD."
Capone: I certainly wish some American series would take a cue from the British series and allow for shorter seasons, fewer episodes in a season, only two or three season of six to eight episodes per season.
EW: I don't think it's always a conscious thing. There's basically a thing that everyone talks about called "The Curse of Fawlty Towers." And I think that network executives really bemoan the face that John Cleese set that bar with only 12 episodes of "Fawlty Towers" and then saying, "I can't write anymore. I'm very happy with the 12 episodes. I don't want to write anymore because I'm done with it." And after that, it set a precedent. The next show that did that was "The Young Ones," and they did it in a very punk rock way--life fast, die young, leave a good-looking corpse. 12 episodes; that's it. After that, with those two shows…I don't think "Spaced" was like that at all. The chance of a third season was there, but things got in the way. Ricky Gervais has done that twice now, with two seasons of "The Office" and two seasons of "Extras" and then quitting. One of the reasons that these things happen is that there's just not that much money in British TV. There's not the same huge infrastructure of the money hose that gets turned on when shows take off. And they are made with really small teams. "Spaced" was basically the work of four or five people--Simon and Jess, myself, two producers, and that's kind of it. It's a small team.
JH: To some degree, as well, Edgar broke the mold as a British TV director, because I think it took people a long time to realize that it was his directorial style that was so intrinsic to the look and feel of "Spaced," as intrinsic as Simon and my writing. I think that that was something that was not reflected initially, even after the first two series. You can't do it with someone else. He was just too good.
EW: It was exhausting making the two series as well. Jess had just had her first baby three months before the first series. And the second series was particularly exhausting because it was more ambitious. We had a bit more money for the second series but not much more, so we really put everything into it. Especially at the time, when the second series came out and it didn't rate so brilliantly after we'd spent a whole year making it, I said, "Fuck it. I'm done. I've put everything I can possibly put into this thing." Obviously I feel different now because the DVD has been so enduring, and we're sitting here talking about it as well at Comic-Con. There was time before DVD box sets came along where TV seemed so ephemeral. I don't think that's the case anymore.
Capone: I'm sure you've been asked this before, but did you ever consider wrapping up the "Spaced" storyline with a TV special like "The Office" did or a movie?
JH: I think it would work. We were talking about doing a Halloween special as opposed to a Christmas special. More than anything, when you're talking about--particularly for Simon and Edgar and how busy they are--it's difficult logistically to make that happen. I love the characters, and it makes me sad to think I'm never going to write them anymore.
SP: Me too, me too.
EW: I think one of the question marks and one that kind of hangs over it is that the show was about young people. We couldn't go back to it picking up where we left off. We would have to address the fact that it's been 10 years. So, not to say that Tim and Daisy don't have lives beyond their 20s, but what is "Spaced" about? We'd have to look into their futures, and doing stuff now is going to have to be a different show than where we left off after the second series.
JH: Ultimately, me and Simon would have to come up with a good enough script for Edgar to want to direct.
Capone: I think people would be willing to watch a show about where Time and Daisy end up.
SP: I agree, just to go back to the characters would be cool.
JH: I think it's important to do; I'd like to do it.
SP: The thing is, the ideal situation would have been to go straight on into that third series and wrap up that story. Anything we do now would be out of the plan. That was never the idea, to do two series and stop.
JH: But writing something successful and truthful and funny is only ever about reflecting. If we were borrowing from our own lives now, it would be a way of reflecting. Obviously bridging a gap from the first two series.
SP: Oh yeah. I just mean, that's not what we set out to do--to do two series and then one later on.
EW: It's always been an enticing prospect, and I guess where it goes back to the John Cleese-"Fawlty Towers" thing is the terror of doing more and having it not be any good. The terror of it becoming our own PHANTOM MENACE.
[We take a quick break while the food is brought in.]
JH: It's going to be a good night [in Austin].
SP: Without you? No it won't. It'll be a shame.
EW: I just want to say, if you can put this up online in the next 15 minutes [leans into the microphone]: "Jess don't go. Don't go back to London; come to Austin. Please."
Capone: Mr. Beaks admitted to me last night that he was very nervous about talking to you last night.
EW: Patton Oswalt has a huge crush on Jessica. When he met her on Jonesy's Jukebox the other day, the first thing he said was, "Jessica, my marriage is shaky. Just putting it out there."
Capone: What are some of your passions right now? Movies? TV?
EW: TV-wise, "Arrested Development," which was amazing; still is amazing. "Flight of the Conchords" I really like a lot. "Human Giant." "Tim and Eric Awesome Show [Great Job!]" What else? A lot of American comedy is not only popular in the UK, but it's very influential. Shows like "Seinfeld" and "Curb Your Enthusiasm" were hugely influential. "Larry Sanders" was hugely influential, I think, in the last 10-15 years. "Seinfeld" has an influence on "Spaced" in the second series, the plotting and stuff. It was on BBC2 a lot at the time.
SP: I think "Lost" really got its mojo back this season. I drifted away from it slightly in season 3, completely actually, I didn't really watch it. But season 4 was right back to how good it was in the beginning.
[At this point, Jessica pulls out a DVD of MEAN JOHNNY BARROWS, a Fred Williamson-starring and -directed film from 1976 that she's picked up on the show floor.]
SP: You see, the second I start talking about what I like, she starts pulling out DVDs. "Hey, look at this." I had to live with this for fucking 10 years. I'm enjoying "Heroes"; the second season has only just started in the UK, so I need to get it on DVD and actually watch it.
Capone: I just saw Hayden doing a signing in the hall. That's the longest line I've ever seen in my life.
SP: Oh did you? I bumped into Milo [Ventimiglia] over at the Hard Rock. And I worked with Zach [Zachary Quinto, who plays Mr. Spock to Pegg's Scotty in STAR TREK].
EW: How did Hayden make it through the convention floor?
Capone: The NBC/Universal booth is right by an entrance.
EW: I would have thought she would have caused geek dominos.
SP: "We're gonna to need a bigger booth."
JH: I never really made it through "Northern Exposure" when it was out, and I found out my mom is a massive fan, so I started dipping in and out of that.
SP: My wife and I have been plowing through "Entourage." I'd dipped into it when I was in the states, but it's always been very out of order. So we got season 1 to wherever it is now.
Capone: Have you seen the episode set at Comic-Con?
SP: Yeah. It's funny actually, because it's the one episode of that show where the believability kind of falters because they clearly couldn't get the rights to use any major characters, so there are just people walking around in bunny rabbit costumes. If you've been here, that episode fells like of light.
JH: The best film I've seen recently, Edgar invited me to the double-bill of GRINDHOUSE. That was one of the cinematic experiences I've had ever. So now I'm a complete fan of Zoe Bell, and I loved those films.
Capone: She popped up on "Lost" for about three seconds in the most recent season, and then she just disappeared.
SP: She just jumped off the boat. What the hell was that about?
Capone: I was excited when I heard she was going to be on the show.
JH: Yeah, she's great.
Capone: That Comic-Con "Entourage" episode is the one where Rainn Wilson plays a Harry Knowles-like character.
SP: That's right. It's interesting though, because it's quite a reduction. You know what I mean? It's disappointing when a show goes for the obvious angle a little bit, and I find that whole episode isn't one of the strongest ones. And I think that character is what people who don't know anything about what that world is about assume that world is like.
EW: Also, you couldn't pay off Harry Knowles with only two hookers. It would take at least 20.
Capone: And some memorabilia.
SP: Yes. Twenty hookers with HELLBOY fists.
EW: Oh. My. God.
SP: I didn't mean that in a sexual way. I just know that when Harry was on the "Spaced" DVD, he's got a HELLBOY fist on, and I know he likes HELLBOY.
EW: You don't say "hookers" and "fist" in the same sentence and say that isn't sexual. [sings] "Hookers and fists!"
Capone: Simon, you brought up working with Zachary Quinto, so I'll just bring it up because I'd get fired if I didn't.
EW: STAR TREK!!
Capone: You put it out there. Tell me what you can tell me. I'm sure it will be fine with everyone involved.
SP: Ah, there's so little I can tell you. I can only say what I have seen is really, really cool. I think J.J. was sensible to not just come here with nothing to show the fans. I think there was a consensus that, yes, STAR TREK was going to be here this year [neither the new STAR TREK movie nor Paramount had a panel at Comic-Con this year]. And J.J. made a point of not short changing anybody by just bringing in something that wasn't finished or doing another "Here's the cast" kind of thing. And I think it's just going to serve to make the anticipation greater. When he finally is ready to show something…I mean, I've seen a little bit and I was screaming. I had my hand over my mouth "Oh my God!" It's so good. I just think it's going to be huge.
EW: Before the "Spaced" screening last night, Simon announced that they were going to show the first hour of STAR TREK, and they went nuts. And then we had to clarify that actually, we were going to show the first hour of STAR TREK V: THE FINAL FRONTIER. Or we could watch three episodes of "Spaced." Your choice.
Capone: Can you give me any insight into playing Scotty and how you played him?
EW: Maybe you'd like to meet his dialect coach [laughs and gestures to Simon's wife Maureen, who is sitting at the table next to ours].
SP: Maureen was on set the whole time. Her family are from Glasgow and Scotty is from Linlithgow, which I think is in the northwest, right babe? Out of respect to James Doohan, and I'm on record as saying this so this is nothing new, I just approached it as any actor would with a character. I didn't look at James; I just looked at the character and said, "Okay, he's Scottish and he works in space and he's an engineer and he's a bit of a brawler. He likes to drink. And I approached it like that. It was easy to do because it was all there in the script. I was fortunate to have Chris Doohan be my assistant in one of the scenes in one of the rooms on the Starship Enterprise. Perhaps moving things around. [laughs]
EW: You've spoiled it now. Now we know the Enterprise is in it.
SP: Chris is James Doohan's oldest son, and he contact me, and we hooked up. And it was really lovely to have him sit next to me so we could talk. And he plays one of the crew, and he told me loads of stories about hanging out with his dad on set. He was there when they were filming "The Trouble with Tribbles" and I think they apparently opened the little hatch where all the Tribbles were and send them spilling everywhere much to his father's consternation.
EW: If J.J. is not doing the second film, I would like to do a whole Tribbles feature for the second STAR WARS, I mean, STAR TREK film.
SP: STAR WARS?
EW: Yeah, STAR WARS. You know how they're doing the final three, and the Tribbles are coming into it. That'd be a good crossover. Tribbles and Ewoks, who wouldn't want to see that? I'm just going to put it out here now on Ain't It Cool, some executive, maybe somebody at Fox will be listening to this. ALIENS VS. PREDATOR was successful. Why not TRIBBLES VS. EWOKS: REQUIEM. Put it out on imdb; 2012; Edgar Wright directing.
Capone: The merchandising alone…
EW: Who wouldn't want to see that? That's a lot of fur. "This summer, things are getting furry. TRIBBLES VS. EWOKS.
SP: I think you've got it. TRIBBLES VS. EWOKS: THE FURRY.
EW: It'll be like THE QUICKENING. THE FURRYING!!
Capone: In addition to HOW TO LOSE FRIENDS AND ALIENATE PEOPLE, you've also got this script you wrote with Nick Frost, PAUL. Is that what's next for you?
SP: That's what we're shooting next, I guess. There's one other things we're shooting before that, but that's not our thing; that's for someone else. Yeah, we're going to do PAUL, and we're shooting it here.
Capone: I'm hearing you have a director. Or is that not out there yet? [This was before the recent announcement that SUPERBAD's Greg Mottola was directing PAUL.]
SP: It's not common knowledge yet. Some canny journalist from The Washington Post sort of door-stepped this particular man on the convention floor because he was shooting some footage for research for a film he was doing with a certain pair of British writer-actors. And she said, "Is it true?" And I went, "What?"
Capone: He's a great choice.
SP: Yeah, I'm absolutely very happy with the choice we might have made [laughs].
Capone: Jess, what about you? After this play, you have a new series, correct?
JH: I'm doing a series with Julia Davis, which is going to start at the beginning of 2009, and a couple of other writing things, but mainly that. My trouble is, I've got lots of idea, but not a lot of time. I think the Julia think is going to keep me occupied and hopefully lead to other things.
Capone: And of course, Butt-Numb-a-Thon in December.
EW: Jess, have you just had a caffeine crash?
JH: No, actually I feel fine. I'm just feeling quite relaxed.
SP: Your Comic-Con is coming to an end, Jess. It's a terrible shame.
Capone: Edgar, what's next for you? The SCOTT PILGRIM movie, or ANT-MAN?
EW: Yeah, SCOTT PILGRIM VS. THE WORLD is up first. I've been working on four different things, which have all been very fun to write. And a fifth thing as well. There's been a lot of writing in the last year. ANT-MAN, SCOTT PILGRIM, another project that I've got that's a solo thing, and then me and Simon have got this idea for the third in the "Three Flavors" trilogy. But I think SCOTT PILGRIM is happening in October.
Capone: And Michael Cera as your lead. Is your ANT-MAN a serious take on that character, because that's a really bizarre character.
EW: That's what's funny. I had lunch with Stan Lee. He said to me that Ant-Man was always the character that never took off that he wish had done better out of all of his creations. And I said, "Why do you think that was?" And he said, "The artists should have put him next to a pepper pot the whole time or next to a pencil. You should always put something in the frame. When he's just on his own, nothing. When there's a pencil in the frame, you've got something. But what attracted me to that is that I have this Marvel Premiere that John Byrne and David Michelinie that's sort of the Scott Lang story from 1979. And I've always liked that story and loved the cover. It's just a great image, and such a high-concept power to have. And the fact that he's slightly derided in the comics world makes we want to do it even more. Whenever somebody tells me that something's uncool, it makes me want to do it even more. That's what they said to us about HOT FUZZ, "Oh, don't do that. British cops are so uncool." Well that's exactly the point, take something uncool and make it awesome.
JH: That's what he did with me!
Capone: And the third part of your "Blood and Ice Cream" trilogy, is that…
EW: We can say Three-Flavor Cornetto trilogy now because apparently Cornetto is apparently available in the states at McDonald's.
EW: Yeah, Cornetto McFlurrys. Check it out.
Capone: Is that THE WORLD'S END?
EW: That's a working title, yeah. And it's not quite…I think people immediately assumed it was going to be some post-apocalyptic doomsday film, which it isn't. So that's something that we very much intend to write, and it's the end of a trilogy of tone from SHAUN to HOT FUZZ to this. And I think we might be more in the same vein as SHAUN. We like that mix of social comedy and genre. Don't worry, you're not going to get fired. I think you covered all bases.
Capone: I think you're right. Thanks so much for this wonderful meal and conversation. This is a first for me.
JH: It was lovely meeting you. Maybe I'll see you in December.
Capone: I hope so.
EW: Butt-Numb-a-Thon awaits.
SP: Good seeing you again.
Capone: You too. I think I'm seeing HOW TO LOSE FRIENDS shortly after I return to Chicago, so if you swing through town, let me know. We'll do it all over again.