Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles - I kind of always thought it would be all right. I thought I'd do okay. I have a lot of self-belief. By that, I don't mean arrogance, but I feel like you have to have the courage of your convictions in terms of what you want to do, you have to believe it, and I sound like a motivational speaker. Hi, I'm Simon Pegg, and this is the timeline of my career. [lively jazz piano music] - Tell us about everything. - Well, I believe that the films "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" and "RoboCop" both borrow heavily from my own life experiences. I never thought at any point in my career I would be speaking to Vanity Fair about "Six Pairs of Pants." "Six Pairs of Pants" was a sketch show. It wasn't even on national television in the U.K., it was on local television, and it was a comedy sketch show. But it's where I met Jessica Hynes and forged a relationship which would carry me forward to "Spaced" and beyond, so it was a very important show in that respect. I think you can probably find bits of it on YouTube. I hope not. I'd come out of university and decided to do stand-up as a way of having some autonomy and not having to wait for the phone to ring. And this comedy sketch show, they put an alert out for stand-ups to come and audition for their show, and my agent just sent me along and I got it. It was just an audition, you know? So I was a stand-up, but I wanted to get back into acting, 'cause that was kinda my first love. I always wanted to be an actor, from when I was a kid, and my mom was sort of into community theater and I used to go along to it with her, and I was in a load of shows when I was a kid. And when I was about 15, I realized that I could quite possibly do it as a career, even though I was from essentially, Tatooine, in terms of the town I was in. But I didn't really set out necessarily to be a comedy actor. I wasn't like, "I always wanted to be a comedy actor." I wanted to do everything, you know. - [Interviewer] Right. [someone wails in background] - I think you're upset about the house! [Brian sighs] - Why would I be upset about the house? This house is the one thing I can rely on, it's the one port in a storm. - Yeah, Jess and I just sort of really hit it off on "Six Pairs of Pants." We tried to do as many sketches as we could together. She just made me laugh so much, and that I always find that incredibly sort of attractive in anyone. I love people that make me laugh, and Jess was just an expert at that. And when we came to do a show on the Paramount Comedy Channel called "Asylum," which Edgar Wright was directing, there was a dearth of female actors in the show. It was mainly stand-up comics, and stand-up, like, sadly, many areas of everywhere, was male-dominated. And I knew a girl, I knew a girl from "Six Pairs of Pants" who was brilliant, and funnier than anybody else in the room, and we should get her. So Jess came along to do "Asylum," which was directed by Edgar. And there was a producer working on "Asylum" who was moving over to a different network who had the idea of Jess and I having a vehicle written for us to be in, because we worked really well together in "Asylum," 'cause we'd come off the back of our chemistry on "Six Pairs of Pants." And Jess and I said, "Yeah, we'd love that, "but can we write it?" And so we wrote "Spaced," and we asked if Edgar could direct it because we'd loved working with him on "Asylum," and that was how that little trio came about. I look back on that time and think, "Man, we were so lucky." We were that sort of naive and sure of ourselves, And the people around us as well, the personnel were all fairly young and they were sort of making roads into network TV, and Jess and I just went, "Yeah, okay, but we want to write it." That was our stipulation, like we had any kind of wiggle room to negotiate. but they were like, "Sure, okay." And along the whole way, for a long time, it was just like, "Sure, yeah, okay, yeah." We were enabled. I'd stepped into this world thinking, "Hey, everything just gets handed to you. "This is great." It's not the case. And I don't think "Spaced" would get made now. It would be experimented on, on a deep network, a digital satellite network somewhere, before we even saw the light of the mainstream. We just wanted to make something that really spoke to us, but none of the programs leveled at 20-somethings at the time really spoke to us in any way on a personal level. They were all very aspirational and they were full of beautiful people. As much as we loved "Friends," we wanted to make the anti-"Friends" and have it be about what unemployed loser dropouts do. And people seemed to respond to it, which was lovely. Oh my God! [zombie gasps] She's so drunk! [chuckles] I wrote a scene in "Spaced" where Tim is playing Resident Evil under the influence of amphetamines and starts to live out the game, which was just an excuse, really, to shoot a sequence where I was jumping around killing zombies. I think it was one of the first things that we shot. Edgar really wanted to sort of lay out his stall and show what kind of show we were making to the producers. And we shot the sequence and we edited it together and showed it and said this is the kind of thing we were gonna do. And I never forget the degree of pride that I felt when "Spaced" aired, just after "Friends" finished on Friday night at 9:30, within minutes of "Friends" finishing, of their being a sort of lovefest on the couch at Central Perk, I blew off a zombie's head on television and felt such a joy, a swell of pride. And after shooting that sequence, Edgar and I were like, "Oh, it'd be great if we could make "a zombie film, wouldn't it? "Our own zombie film. "It could be about just us, you know, "like what would happen if it happened to us?" [laughs] And then that's how it was born. It's a wonderful thing when you step onto a film set of something you have written, because you see your own imagination writ large, you see your own imagination realized in places and situations, and that's really, really amazing. And so, to suddenly find ourselves in the Winchester set, or walking around Crouch End when it's literally teeming with zombies, was an amazing thing, and it still is. I didn't really think of where it was gonna be shown or if it would get shown or whether it would ever see the light of day in any other country other than the U.K. It was just, we were in the moment, we're making our movie and not hobbled by [laughs] the burden of expectation. It was kind of, "Let's just get this on DVD and then we can give it to our moms and that'll be fun." And then it came out in the U.K., and it was well received, and then it started to get attention in the U.S., and George Romero saw it and a lot of our favorite directors saw it, and there was a little campaign to get it a theatrical release, which it did. And then we went out on tour, on a six-week tour of the U.S., me and Edgar and Nick. It was like being in a band. It was amazing. It was more like being in a band when we went back with "Hot Fuzz," 'cause people had liked our first album, so then we felt like little indie rock stars. Yeah, it was extraordinary. I look back on it now and just think, I'm glad I was that naive in a way. Oh, no, no, I'm serious. I've just come out of a relationship. [Shaun yelps] - Benji, what do you got? - Well, these hard drive platters are just fried. They just made a mess of them. There's just holes in them and stuff, and it's got scorched all the way through. And then there's, look, this one's got a hole in it and stuff. I don't believe it, I can't even look at it. Edgar and I were writing "Hot Fuzz," and the phone rang upstairs and we put the call through, "Oh, J.J. Abrams is on the phone." I said, "What, the 'Alias' man?" We had a chat and he'd said he'd liked "Shaun of the Dead," and he'd seen me and Edgar at the Saturn Awards, but he said he [laughs] didn't have the guts to come and say hello, which is hilarious to me because J.J.'s the most gregarious, ebullient human being you could ever meet. But he said, "Do you wanna come and do a bit of 'Mission: Impossible III'?" And I said, "Yeah, all right, why not?" And that was that. It was a really odd. And he said, "I'm gonna send you, I've got this new show." [laughs] This is great. "So I've just done this new show for ABC. "I'll send it to you." And he sent me the whole of the first season of "Lost" on individual DVDs, I got this big box, and I binged the whole show before it had even shown in the U.S. And I just thought, "Oh, this is amazing." Because I'd seen episodes of "Alias," but I wasn't a regular viewer of the show. But that was it. I was, "Oh, this guy's brilliant. "I'll do this." So I went over and did my little cameo playing Tom Cruise's GPS. And it was just that period of time was a particularly rough patch, And I found myself in L.A. and I didn't really know L.A. I was in some hotel in Beverly Hills, and I couldn't quite understand how I couldn't walk anywhere. I'd step out and I'd look up these long boulevards like, "Where the hell is the shops [laughs] and stuff? "What is this place?" "This is bizarre." So I wound up just stuck in this hotel room for eight days waiting to be called, as these big movies, sometimes, the way they move, it's unpredictable, and [inhales sharply] I was just sorta slowly going insane. And I eventually got to set and I did my bit, but I was totally wired and very jet-lagged, and it was all very surreal. It was very strange to be occupying a space that I had kind of always dreamed of, making a movie in Hollywood with one of the biggest stars in the world, probably the biggest star in the world, and not to be enjoying it particularly. But that all turned around with the next one, thankfully. Well, however you spin this, there's one thing you haven't taken into account.