Placeholder Image

Subtitles section Play video

  • - 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.