Some nine years after Shaun of the Dead, six years since Hot Fuzz, and after countless fan requests, Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost team up once again for The World's End, the final installment of their legendary Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy. “We were always going to make this movie; always come back together because we decided we were going to make three,” said co-screenwriter and star Pegg.
Director and co-screenwriter Wright revealed, “We had the idea for this at the end of the Hot Fuzz press tour. We had the story—genre element and everything—worked out in 2007, but we went off and made other films.” He contended that the break made for a better film. “We get older and got to have more to put into it.”
Pegg and co-star Frost portrayed radically different characters from the previous trilogy movies. “The change is more of a motivational change in both our characters,” Pegg asserted. “It was a breath of fresh air. I really enjoyed it.”
“It's important we just don't keep doing the same thing and people just get bored of it. What's the point of that?” added Frost. “We are both actors. Any chance you get to be someone else and to change things up and change yourself is what we do.”
Similar to the other films, enjoyment of The World's End does not rely on a prior knowledge of its antecedents. “There are no Cliffs Notes you need to read before seeing this movie,” explained Wright. Though he readily admited that the social science fiction genre influenced the picture. American movies such as the original incarnations of Invasion of the Body Snatchers, The Stepford Wives and Invaders From Mars; the film adaptations of British literature such as John Wyndham (Midwich Cuckoos, which became Village of the Damned), John Christopher, and Nigel Kneale (The Quatermas series); and the legendary U.K. TV shows Dr. Who, The Avengers and The Prisoner all influenced the story. “So much of this is such a big part of our upbringing. And coming from small towns and you have an overactive imagination, that's when you want to imagine it's happening all around you,” concluded Wright.
Neither Wright or Pegg rewatched any of those films prior to writing the script. “The only two films we actually rewatched before we wrote the screenplay,” revealed Wright, “was The Big Chill and this Gene Kelly musical It's Always Fair Weather. It's about wartime buddies meeting up 10 years after the war and discovering they have nothing in common. It's the reunion films we went back to.”
Though all three films delivered chaotic combat sequences, the action reached a new level in The World's End. “We worked with Brad Allan, a fabulous stunt coordinator and fight choreographer from Australia who worked extensively with Jackie Chan. He brought wonderful invention and almost clowning to the fight sequences,” revealed Pegg. Allan managed to establish continuity throughout the fights by not using stunt doubles for the actors. “It was very important that we all did the fights ourselves and remained our characters in the fights. We wanted to make sure that even in the midst of that chaos, we stayed in character.”
Luckily, Frost had just finished playing a dancer for the movie Cuban Fury. “In terms of learning vast choreographies, I was good. I trained for kickboxer for 3 1/2 to 4 years in my early 30s, so I'm quite good at punching, too. This was a dream for me to come do this.”
“It was really fun because, unlike Shaun of the Dead, where it was just zombies, we wanted to come up with something that was slightly different,” said Wright on the film's villains. “Of course, they have precedents in, be it The Stepford Wives or replicants in Aliens to Blade Runner. I always liked the idea of baddies that can speak and seem benign.”
The fragility of the toylike aliens played a prominent role. “This whole idea that these baddies are action figures that break apart easily. You can twist their heads off. Break them apart,” offered Wright.
The blue blood further played into the concept. “And the blue stuff is suppose to be like ink. Like when you were a kid and you came home from school and would often find your hand and face covered in ink because a pen would break in your pocket and you'd rub it on your face,” says Pegg.
To which Frost immediately added, “You'd be a Smurf monster!”
“We deliberately didn't do that joke, but we did like the idea of it making the actors look like kids,” concluded Wright.