INT: Edgar Wright
sound of mass disgust is addictive” – Edgar Wright
So that is the kind of guy Edgar Wright is.
And thank whoever put us here that it is.
Because his talent for mass disgust and his flair for comedy,
horror and action is refreshing. If
you have not witnessed the beauty of SHAUN OF THE DEAD or caught a
glimpse of the BBC airings of SPACED, you have not witnessed the
man, the myth, the legend. His
brilliant trailer featured in GRINDHOUSE for “DON’T” had me in
hysterics. And his new hit HOT
FUZZ [in the
He is one of the best that the film world has to offer as a writer and
director, because he makes movies fun again, but without dumbing
them down. The FUZZ offers up
so many different tastes of different genres, action and comedy
being the main ones. But it
also offers up a pretty cool “giallo” horror feel and some very
genre pleasing cameos. This is
the kind of film that will be around a very long time and hopefully
more audiences will cough up their hard earned dough and see it in
the theatre. Let me put it
this way, I’ve been to two press screenings and I still
plan to pay my share and check it out at the Arclight in
So when I got the chance to talk shop with Edgar, 1-on-1 style, at the Four Seasons in Beverly Hills...I had a blast. It was informative and just plain fun. The dude knows movies. He can tell you the writer, the director and the cast of almost any movie. Much like Quentin Tarantino, he really loves film and that shows in his work. We got the chance to talk about the horror that inspired HOT FUZZ. And we also talked a lot about cop flicks and Dario Argento.
We spoke of the homoerotic nature of such films as LETHAL WEAPON, POINT
BREAK and BAD BOYS 2. It’s
really a wonderful thing to see a director who loves movies as much
as he does and hasn’t fallen into that jaded trap.
Let’s face it… there is room for all types of motion
pictures and that would include FRIDAY THE 13th PART 5 and DEATH
WISH 3. So make sure this
coming Friday you go and check out HOT FUZZ.
It is more than just a homage or a spoof, or any of that
nonsense...it’s just a damn good film.
Edgar Wright: I am about to drop dead so my only request would be to only ask me the most random question you could possibly think up.
The one question that is off the menu today is “you’ve done zombies,
you’ve done cops… what’s next?”
we gotta talk about “Hot Fuzz”, so you mentioned [Dario] Argento
earlier who is one of my
I love Argento too.
is f*cking brilliant.
Yeah, yeah… and Mario Bava
all that… so how much of that did you use as inspiration for the
gore sequences in “Hot Fuzz”?
Well, I’m a big fan of “Deep Red”.
“Profondo Rossa!” And
definitely kind of the killer is in traditional kind of Argento
style with the sort of, man in black and the bloody Argento gloves,
so I really… I mean there are a lot of elements to the set pieces,
but I did like that we had logic to the murders, as Nicholas Angel
gets closer to them each time… And in a weird way [describing a
murder which I will not give away here] it was slightly inspired by
“The Bird with the Crystal Plumage” whereas, I like the idea of
seeing like a murder behind glass.
And the idea that like, somebody’s been murdered behind
glass, you can’t hear them screaming.
So I thought that was kind of cool, seeing like the victim
and the killer and it being silent.
So, yeah, I love Argento and all the Giallo films.
know… when I discovered “Suspiria”…
I was just blown away. And
ever since then I’ve kind of gone back and…
There’s nothing really like that. “Suspiria”
is a weird one in terms of that there really isn’t anything else
like it. I don’t
really like “Inferno” that much.
That one really doesn’t do it for me.
But I like all those Giallo ones.
And I slightly tuned out after “Tenebre”… some of the
later ones I… “Opera” is good.
Don’t really like “Creepers” that much.
didn’t see “The Card Player” yet though.
Nah, the last one I saw is “The Phantom of the Opera”
Which was so bad… it was bad. I
quite like “The Stendahl Syndrome” and I liked “Opera”.
And what’s really… have you seen my “Grindhouse”
I did. I loved it.
Well that’s the thing… my “Grindhouse” trailer was my, kind of
like, tribute to Bava and Argento…
and “Legends of Hell House”.
But particularly, I love those kind of horror films that are
kind of like waking nightmares.
In a weird way I was never a big fan of the “A Nightmare on
Elm Street” films. I
liked the idea of them. I
liked the premise and I liked some of the visuals but I never liked,
kind of, the boring exposition bits in between.
And it’s almost like the Bava and the Argento are like the
horror films with the boring bits cut out; they’re all kind of
like in this dream state. I
really like that aspect. And
“Suspiria” I just think is the ultimate one like that.
It’s just totally kind of like its sole intent is to be
surreal. I’d love to
make a film like that. So
[speaking into my recorder] if you’re listening… “make
‘Grindhouse’ a big, big hit so I get to make ‘Don’t”.
agree with that.
[Laughing] Start the
campaign, do an on-line campaign.
your favorite "Don’t"
Well, the one that inspired me, I know it as “The Living Dead at
Manchester Morgue” and the American title, “Don’t Open the
Window”. I’d go for
that… [with Creepy Trailer voice] “Don’t open the window…
whatever’s out there will wait!” What a stupid tag line.
reminded me of all those Eighties horror trailers, like “Happy
Birthday to Me”.
You know what, I haven’t seen that film and I just watched that
documentary “Going to Pieces:
The Rise and Fall of the Slasher Film”, which was
brilliant. And I think
they show the “Happy Birthday to Me” trailer.
Is that like the one where the graphics are coming up saying,
“Don’t answer the phone… He knows your there.”
Yeah, yeah, yeah, the other trailer that is on that “42nd
Street Forever” DVD, the trailer for “Corruption” with Peter
Cushing. Which is
absolutely f*cking mental. And
I saw that trailer DVD and I saw that trailer for “Corruption”,
[it] just blew my head
off, so some of the graphics in my “Grindhouse” trailer are a
bit influenced by that.
what did Quentin [Tarantino] say to you?
How did he approach you?
I think I was with Eli [Roth]. I think, sort of, that I was with Eli at Quentin’s house, this was in 2005. And he said, “yer doin’ something with ‘Grindhouse’ right?” And he said there was this thing, there were going to be fake trailers and will you guys do a trailer each? “F*ckin’ yeah! Absolutely!” I mean, I did mine for free; I didn’t take any fee on my trailer at all.
Yeah, absolutely. I just thought… Well, I’ll tell you what it was, me and Eli; neither of us took a fee. Because there was a point that they were really busy with their films, Robert [Rodriguez] and Quentin and we didn’t hear anything for like, a year, and I assumed it had gone away. And I rang Eli and said, “So it got a bit quiet. Do you think they thought better of it?” And we all worried because we really wanted to do it. And I said, “…tell him we’ll do it for free.” So I made the offer and I said, “Hey, just so you know, I’ll do mine for free.” And I thought for some reason it had gone away and of course, it hadn’t, they were just busy. Yeah, but it was great and I just wanted to make sure all the money was on screen.
it was there.
I got paid for “Hot Fuzz”, so it was alright.
“Hot Fuzz” man… I gotta tell ya, it’s my favorite film of
Oh, thank you.
I mean I know the year is…
I know it’s only April. [Laughing]
Are you saying it’s better than “The Reaping”?
I don’t know because… “What hath God wrought?”
that rated R or PG-13?
I don’t know actually.
Is it really?
cuz you’ve gotta sell it to kiddies.
Right, right, right.
[Surprisingly, it is R, I found out afterwards… sorry about that]
Yeah, I like the fact that “Shaun of the Dead” and “Hot Fuzz” are
you conscious of that, about getting an R?
The weird thing is. The weird
thing is… In the UK, I don’t know if you know about UK
certificates, they’re both… “Shaun of the Dead” and “Hot
Fuzz” are both 15’s. Not
Which is amazing and we’ve been very lucky both times that they’ve
been so lenient with us. And
I think the reason is, even though they’re violent and
foul-mouthed, they’re quite sweet-natured.
Do you know what I mean?
And like in “Hot Fuzz”, when it’s done it’s not kind of
mean-spirited. I think
that maybe the violence, in that aspect, in “Hot Fuzz” and in
“Shaun of the Dead”, it’s just trying to recapture that
illicit thrill of watching those films when you’re a teenager.
Like, I would get so excited watching…
I remember the first time I saw “Robo-Cop” on VHS and it
just blew my head off. I
had never seen something so exciting.
Probably because it was so ridiculously violent and I
remember thinking this is the best movie I’ve ever seen.
It was freaking me out. It’s
great making an audience laugh.
It’s even better making an audience jump.
It’s even better making an audience go, “Whoooaaa,
uggghhhhh!”, like the sound of mass-disgust is addictive.
That sounds like a good quote, can you put that in quotes at
the top of the article? Edgar
Wright… “The sound of mass disgust is addictive… 2007”
Edgar Wright, the director who sadly died, earlier today.
Clark just died.
I know. That’s terrible.
totally bummed. “Black
Christmas”, one of my favorite movies [needless to say, the
original by the way].
It’s weird because in the UK, nobody knows “The Christmas Story”.
Yeah, it’s not a thing. It’s strange. And I know everybody here… it’s like a real staple isn’t it?
never seen it. I’m
like the only one.
But it’s very famous isn’t it?
yeah. I’m kind of
embarrassed that I don’t know it.
Right, right, right. Yeah,
and that’s [Bob Clark’s death] horrible.
really weird when you hear about all these people we grew up on,
when they pass on and it’s just
kind of like, “Oh no, not
I know, and Stuart Rosenberg died the other day.
It’s sad. He did a really
good cop film, “The Laughing Policeman”.
your favorite “cop” film?
I tell you what. I’ve got
so many, so can you break it down into kind of like sub-genre?
Since we are talking “Grindhouse”, what is your favorite
“Grindhouse” cop flick?
Oh, um… That’s a good
one. I would say… well
Quentin showed me a film actually that was pretty f*cking amazing
called “Live Like a Cop, Die Like a Man”.
haven’t seen that.
Italian film, I think, it’s not by Fernando di Leo… [It’s Ruggero
Deodato] It’s got Ray Lovelock in it from “Don’t Open the
Window” in fact. He’s
one of the cops. And
it’s ridiculous. I
really enjoyed that. What
is another good grindhouse? Well,
it’s not a grindhouse film, [but] one I would say is pretty…
it’s got grindhouse elements is… I showed it at the festival in
Austin… is “Sudden Impact”.
“Sudden Impact” is quite trashy.
What I like about it, it’s really well made.
The DP, Bruce Surtees… like, it’s really well shot.
And yet it’s got this “I Spit on your Grave” element to
it. It’s a proper
rape/revenge type of drama. And
the rape scenes are really nasty.
And it’s quite blood-thirsty and it’s completely stupid
and cartoonish you know, “Dirty Harry” is probably my favorite
cop film of all time.
And “Sudden Impact” is my second favorite Dirty Harry film cuz it’s
so entertainingly trashy. So
that would be a good “grindhouse” cop film.
Okay… gimme another one.
know which one I remember; did you ever see “Vice Squad”?
You know I never have, but weirdly…
I meant to see that because, weirdly… That’s Gary Sherman
He did “Dead and Buried” and “Raw Meat” [which is]“Death
Line”… which is great. So,
I’ve never seen that. I’d
like to. Can you get
that on DVD?
I think so. Although,
God, you know, I saw it in the theatre when I was a kid.
This was f*cked up!
I’d like to see that. Okay,
hit me with some other cop sub-genre’s.
Let’s do cop comedies.
Comedies… okay, I’m gonna go for… there’s one that I really like
which is again, not available on DVD.
“The Super Cops”, Gordon Parks [directing] with Ron
brilliant. I remember
watching it on TV when I was a kid and the reason I remember it
vividly is because Greenburg and Hantz, the cop’s in it are
nicknamed Batman and Robin. And
right at the end, the final scene has a Batman “POW”.
And it was written by Lorenzo Semple Jr. who wrote the
“Batman” TV series, the “Flash Gordon” remake and “The
Parallax View”. Amazing
career, Lorenzo Semple Jr. had.
“Pretty Poison”… what else did he write?
“Papillon” he had a crazy career.
and they are all varied too.
Yeah, very varied… And “The Super Cops”, even though it’s based on a true story, is really funny and I think that’s a real lost gem. MGM needs to release that on DVD, it’s great.
Well nowadays the action movies
are these PG-13 flicks with loads of CG and there’s nothing really
to it, it feels empty.
Yeah, yeah, yeah.
And when I was watching “Hot
Fuzz” I was ‘This is the perfect film’. [Edgar Laughs]
It has everything… horror,
action, comedy and even
gore… and then you have the love story which was hilarious.
Who came up with
Well you know what. Somebody said about “Shaun of the Dead” that it was a romantic comedy between the two guys and it really made me laugh. And with this film, what was interesting is the first draft of the film had a girlfriend character in it for Nicholas Angel named Vicki… Victoria. And we were going to use the Kinks track “Victoria” on the end credits. And the first draft was too long, it was like 180 pages, and somebody suggested taking the Victoria character out and concentrating on Nicholas and Danny. And that was kind of the same, but what we did is, we took her out completely, and gave Nick some of her lines, so Nick Frost had some of the girlfriend lines. All that about the peace lily was kind of written for a girl.
But basically, any of those buddy films are like romantic comedies for guys. You know, they are like love stories. They’re exactly the same beats as there is in “Bringing up Baby” as there is in “Lethal Weapon” or “48 Hours”. Two people thrown together in a situation, they have their differences. They kind of hate each other, but by the end, they kind of love each other. The same with the buddy films and so many of those films have homoerotic subtext, particularly like “Point Break”. I mean, “Point Break” is like a gay love story under another name. You know, he [Keanu Reeves] is seduced by [Patrick] Swayze, he kind of cheats on his kind of androgynous looking girlfriend. He cheats on his older, flabbier partner. You know, he’s seduced by the Swayze.
who isn’t though?
Absolutely… and what struck
me again, watching it the other day is that Lori Petty and Keanu
Reeves have exactly the same hair.
And there is that scene where they’re in bed with the
lights off and they both look faintly androgynous.
And yet, Swayze’s both a “man’s man” and has girly
Nick has a theory about Gary Busey… that like if Gary Busey only had
one meatball sandwich instead of two, then Keanu Reeves wouldn’t
have left him for Swayze. He’s
getting fat and old. [Laughing]
And so the other thing about it is [back to “Hot Fuzz”] we wanted the
love story affectionate and sweet and real.
Because there are so many films that kind of have homoerotic
kind of… no, there is a lot of films that are homophobic, like
I’ve seen the trailer for that new Adam Sandler film [“I Now
Pronounce You Chuck and Larry”] that looks like, so kind of
tiresome you know, with jokes designed to make audiences sort of
cringe and such. You
know what I like about “Hot Fuzz” is that the love story between
Nicholas Angel and Danny is real and very sweet.
felt very genuine.
Well , you know, I love the fact, in the male bonding scene where it’s
kind of getting very homoerotic.
The punch line is they watch “Point Break” and “Bad
Boys 2”. Like “Bad
Boys 2”… any film that puts that much testosterone into a film,
to me, it starts to sound like, “Me think the lady protests too
much.” [Laughing] I swear to God.
You think about any film that’s got that kind of like…
look at “300” for God’s sakes.
read the graphic novel right?
I haven’t actually.
should check it out… it’s just short of… where’s the gay sex
[Laughing] “Brokeback Sparta”… That’s the Japanese title for
“300”. Going back…
Cop vs. serial killer… would have to be “Dirty Harry”.
All out action cop film has gotta be “Hard Boiled”.
was the one about the rapist that went around naked?
Ah… “10 to Midnight”! Ah, my
God, that’s a crazy film. I
haven’t seen that for a long time.
So I’ll tell you the Charles Bronson film that I absolutely
love cuz it’s so f*cking funny, “Death Wish 3”.
That film is hilarious. Absolutely
hilarious. I really
wanna have, like in the UK, a bad movie festival.
Not so much bad movies but kind of a trashy movie festival.
I’d love to watch “Death Wish 3” with an audience now
cuz it’s hysterical.
you know my friend Matt… he’s always like, “Why don’t they
[Edgar laughs] like remake “Death Wish 3”.
He wants to see them remake “Friday the 13th
I’ve never seen that one you know.
never seen part 5?
Nah, you know I haven’t. I’ve
seen 1 to 4 and 6.
6 was awesome though.
Yeah, I quite liked 6. The
others I couldn’t… there was a thing on a website the other day,
something that really made me laugh.
They refer to “Friday the 13th Part 8” as
“Jason Takes Vancouver” [Laughing] Really, really made me laugh.
You could say the same for like “Rumble in Vancouver”.
Wouldn’t it be great to re-title all the New York films
that weren’t shot in New York?
I think we are done. [Edgar was being summoned]
Well thank you very much. That
was fun man.
Let me know what you think. Send questions or comments to email@example.com.