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Simon Pegg Talks About Run Fat Boy Run And More

Apr 1, 2008
David Schwimmer's directorial debut 'Run Fat Boy' is about to be released in the USA and lead star Simon Pegg has been discussing the movie.

Q, How did David convince you to come onto this project both as a writer and as the star? Did he just send you the script and ask?

Simon Pegg: Well I got the call and I read it again and I thought, "How is this going to work as a British set film?" because it very much had the spirit of New York in it. It had the New York Marathon, it was intrinsically New York, and at first I kind of resisted it. I was like, "Well, can't we just come shoot it here and I can play an American?" The (production) company Material are all about shooting in London, and obviously we want to keep our film industry going and make sure our crews work because they're brilliant and so I thought, "Well okay, this is a challenge then. This is going to be some hard work." It actually was easier than I thought it was, because I think London and New York have a similar sensibility. I think they have more in common with each other than say New York and L.A. in terms of the metropolitan feel of the place, so it was just the case of taking it on as a challenge, and I always like a challenge.

Q, Did anyone have worries about David being American trying to direct a British comedy?

Pegg: No, not at all. What he was doing was directing a comedy in Britain. He wasn't directing a Bollywood film, you know? The cultural difference wasn't that great, and he's a very adept comic and director.

Q, Did you actually have to create a marathon for this thing?

Pegg: Yeah, we were tied up in all sorts of nonsense. The London Marathon is sponsored by a margarine company and that entity is tied up with another film, so the rights to that event we couldn't get, so we had to invent an event which we did with the kind help of a major sports clothing company. It became this River Run, which doesn't really exist, so we shot it basically with about two hundred fifty people and then the magic of crowd replication, which you could do digitally, made it look like a real marathon.

Q, This was very low-budget, and I remember hearing stories about how you and Edgar did "Shaun" and "Hot Fuzz" with less money than most might expect. Did you have any tips for David in accomplishing what he wanted to do with this movie without a ton of money?

Pegg: He had his thing. I'm very conscious of when you're working on a project that isn't necessarily yours--I mean in terms of writing and creative level has got something to say if that's permitted--but directorially because that's always Edgar's bag and Edgar is entirely his own thing. I would never dare to suggest a shot taken because it's always in his head. My relationship with a director is always pretty much hands off.

Q, Were you responsible for bringing Dylan Moran onboard as your friend?

Pegg: Yeah, I mean Dylan came up and I suggested him and Dylan's great. He's got a wonderful sort of unkempt quality to him which was just what Gordon was all about. In "Shaun of the Dead" he plays a very sort of straight-laced; I mean we had to cut his hair and everything, he hated it, but Gordon is a lot closer to who Dylan is really in some respects. I really like working with Dylan. He's a very generous sort of sensitive guy who's also incredibly funny, a brilliant mind, so often he'll bring a little something to it, if he has a suggestion, you're lucky to get it.

Q, Did they have to cast his ass to make sure it would be funny?

Pegg: No, after the premiere he said, "I'm never getting my ass out again." Because it was seventy feet wide on the screen.

Q, Well, that is one of the film's funnier running jokes.

Pegg: Well that came in late. There was a weird thing. We got to the first cut of the movie and it was like, as this sporting metaphor takes over, the film becomes less comic and becomes more about the struggle, and more serious in a way I guess. We got a sense that at a certain point in the film there wasn't another really big whooping laugh and we thought, "How can we leave the audience on a high, leave them coming out of the cinema not warm and fuzzy, but still tittering?" And there was talk about putting bloopers in the credits which I'm really against because I think that's the wrong kind of laugh. Very few people laugh at those things because they're funny for a different reason, but the worst thing you can do is have a film and the thing you laugh at the most is when people forget their lines.

Q, Funny you should mention that, because there've been a number of bad comedies this year where everyone's leaving and then the blooper reel comes on and everyone stops and feels they need to stay because they know it'll be funny.

Pegg: For me, I think it's a bit of a cheat. Perhaps one blooper secreted among the credits is fine, but to actually use it as a way of getting more laughs I think is cheating. I don't know who wrote the rule book on that, so we needed a big old whoop, and we're racking our brains and I thought, "Well let's not be sophisticated about that, let's get Dylan to get his ass out and somehow get a callback to the line where it'll come on up and do the reveal," and it kind of works.
About the Author
Guide to Movie Stars explores the world of Hollywood and its stars so that you can find out more information about what films you watch. For more information please visit http://www.guide-to-movie-stars.com/
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