On Monday night, Inside Joke moved from its usual confines of the UCB to a movie theater for a special screening of Hot Fuzz followed by a conversation with stars Simon Pegg and Nick Frost and director Edgar Wright.
First off, the movie is excellent. The incredible achievement in both Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz is that Wright and Pegg do genre parody without becoming Airplane or Police Squad. The situations are played for real - they’re people inside an action movie, even if it is an unlikely one. The action is shot exactly like a Michael Bay movie - almost to its peril because the action is occasionally as difficult to follow. They keep very true to the genre, even nailing the semi-homoerotic element of action movie pairings. Plus, if you’re a britcom aficionado, you’ll recognize familiar faces from The Office, Extras, Peep Show, Black Books and, of course, the team’s own Spaced. It’s about ten minutes too long in no particular place and it’s insanely gory at times, more than the likelier gorefest Shaun, so it sticks out a little. Those are quibbles though. It’s incredibly funny and well worth a look.
Then the Q & A followed. Host Carl Arnheiter kept his own questions short to allow the audience to have a chance to talk to the three creators. Some of the things learned:
- The homoerotic bits between Pegg’s and Frost’s character is quite natural as in an earlier draft of the script, Pegg has a girlfriend. After she was excised, Nick got quite a few of her lines.
- Wright and Pegg don’t really think in genres when approaching films, but rather like to shoot movies that aren’t normally made in the UK. No interest in doing work that, as Edgar Wright says, “fishes for Baftas.”
- Pegg believes it’s a myth that there a big difference in the UK and US senses of humor. He considers a bit like Nick Frost falling through a fence (see trailer above) an “International Joke.”
- After insulting Dire Straits at shite in Shaun of the Dead had to pay up to get the rights to use the group’s “Romeo and Juliet” for Hot Fuzz.
- Catering is a rarity on British sets and Simon Pegg’s experience in working for US crews have made him particularly in awe of smoothies. Fame’s effect: Pegg wants to have unlimited smoothies. When Pegg was questioned as to how many he could consume, Frost said the point would be to be able to take one and throw it on the floor if he wanted to.
- Taught the whole crowd how to say “Twat” the proper British way (it should rhyme with “bat” or “cat”). Then Pegg told us intentionally, and possibly to his wife’s consternation, to “Spread the twat.”
- The creators think the version they shout for TV might be hilarious on another level with the word they selected to replace the swear words. Their favorite: “Peas and Rice!” subbing for “Jesus Christ!”