Getting THE WORLD'S END Write

Once Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright knew their film THE WORLD'S END would be structured as a pub crawl, the fun began, as the two pulled in influences and inspirations as disparate as classic British sci-fi and '80s reunion films.

Once the divergent projects were completed, everyone did gravitate back to each other. "We were very keen to keep the team together," states Simon Pegg. "That meant the same producers as well; Nira [Park] and Big Talk Pictures are like family - we go back a long way - and we are so thankful for the supportive relationship with Tim Bevan and Eric [Fellner] at Working Title which began with SHAUN OF THE DEAD."

Edgar Wright says, "They were our knights in shining armour on that movie, and kick-started our film careers. Here we all are 10 years on and moving forward together."

Fellner reflects, "I remember that first meeting with Edgar and Nira over a decade ago. When you get to meet with a lot of creative talents, you can tell when you're in the presence of exciting ones.

"With a larger canvas, it took a while for THE WORLD'S END to come to fruition. But I knew the idea would spring from Simon and Edgar's heads; they're a clever team."

Park reveals, "When we all started out, it was basically seeing each other every night and then meeting up the next day. We didn't have families then. To get THE WORLD'S END off the ground at the scripting phase, I did a timetable for Edgar and Simon to show exactly how and where we could get them in the same room for a couple of weeks.

"Because what they do is, they plot out every single thing on a flip chart. You can walk in and they will talk you through every single scene."

Pegg confirms, "Edgar and I do in fact always write together in the same room." In mid-2011, they got to work in earnest on THE WORLD'S END script on-site at Working Title's U.S. offices. "By then, we had been thinking about it for a long time," says Wright. "It all came pouring out."

"It was quite a swift writing process," agrees Pegg. "By now, we have a rhythm. We understand each other's way of working. We were on the same page perhaps more than ever, and brought a lot to writing THE WORLD'S END from our own life experiences.

"In terms of a genre, we're taking on the tropes and ideas of British social science fiction. We're not parodying them; we're looking at the concepts in a comedic way. The author John Wyndham was a big influence on us."

Wright adds, "As were the Quatermass films, as well as Invasion of the Body Snatchers and the works of John Christopher. I think the reason we zeroed in on social science fiction from the '50s, '60s, and '70s is because of the thematic fun we could have with questions of identity. There are rich themes in the gulf between your older self and younger self, as well as in the strange alienation you feel when returning to your hometown and finding that nothing has changed and yet everything is different."

Fellner notes, "Simon and Edgar know that genre, but for me what's important is that this story stood on its own."

Wright concludes, "So what we have in THE WORLD'S END is a sci-fi paranoia film combined with a reunion for a pub crawl, which here is like a medieval quest with an extremely irresponsible King Arthur at the head of it!"

While writing the script with Wright, Pegg as actor was drawing a bead on the lead character of Gary King. He remarks, "Edgar and I joked about how in reunion films like The Big Chill there's a corpse because someone has died. In THE WORLD'S END, Gary basically is the corpse! When he first sees his old friends individually to talk them into doing 'The Golden Mile,' it's like they're seeing a ghost from their past."

Wright muses, "We wanted Gary to appear that way at the start. I believe a lot of people have had the experience of cutting off, for whatever reasons, a friend who they were very close to at school. Maybe this friend had problems and you're not willing to deal with them.

"We all have a character like Gary King in our life and in some ways, there are elements of him in myself and Simon, more than we'd care to admit."

Pegg notes, "The two of us figured that the reason he's dressed a certain way is not necessarily because he's been doing so since 1990 but more that it's for this particular night, like a military officer suiting up with medals and white gloves. "

Wright confides, "If you've read Simon's autobiography, then you know he went through a 'Goth phase.' The pictures show his hair with a specific style, and that was something we wanted for him as Gary - it makes Simon look different than in our other movies. The temperament of this character is so different from his others [in the team's earlier movies]."

Pegg points out, "I never dyed my hair black, so having it done for this movie fulfilled a lifelong ambition. The costumes really are what I would have worn when I was 18."

Wright says, "Gary could feel a little tragic, but I think Simon actually pulls off the look. He surprisingly looks kind of cool to me."

Pegg muses, "Actually, I do feel that Gary is a walking tragedy. He's dyeing his hair black every two weeks. He's clinging to his heyday of this one night over 20 years ago, which was the pinnacle of his achievements. What made him fun to write, and play, is that he has so little regard for his personal safety - and that he still gets everyone in his thrall, for far more of adventure than even he expects."

The process of convincing the others to get back on board with Gary for "The Golden Mile" was, says Pegg, "great fun to write, those persuasion scenes. As an actor, I find it quite satisfying to have whole days where it's dialogue. Gary kind of bullies Peter, flatters Oliver, challenges Steven, and emotionally blackmails Andy.

"I often step back to let Edgar write the action beats. For example, the fight at The Beehive is extraordinary; having worked with [supervising stunt coordinator] Brad Allan before, Edgar was able to envisage what inventive things Brad would come up with."