INT: Edgar Wright
The 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 DONT 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, Ive 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. Its really a wonderful thing to see a director who loves movies as much as he does and hasnt fallen into that jaded trap. Lets 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...its 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 youve done zombies, youve done cops whats next? [Laughing]
Well, we gotta talk about Hot Fuzz, so you mentioned [Dario] Argento earlier who is one of my favorite directors.
I love Argento too.
He is f*cking brilliant.
Yeah, yeah and Mario Bava as well.
Yeah, all that so how much of that did you use as inspiration for the gore sequences in Hot Fuzz?
Well, Im 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, somebodys been murdered behind glass, you cant 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.
I know when I discovered Suspiria
Yeah, I was just blown away. And ever since then Ive kind of gone back and
Theres nothing really like that. Suspiria is a weird one in terms of that there really isnt anything else like it. I dont really like Inferno that much. That one really doesnt 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. Dont really like Creepers that much.
I didnt 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 whats really have you seen my Grindhouse trailer?
Yes I did. I loved it.
Well thats 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 its almost like the Bava and the Argento are like the horror films with the boring bits cut out; theyre all kind of like in this dream state. I really like that aspect. And Suspiria I just think is the ultimate one like that. Its just totally kind of like its sole intent is to be surreal. Id love to make a film like that. So [speaking into my recorder] if youre listening make Grindhouse a big, big hit so I get to make Dont.
I agree with that.
[Laughing] Start the campaign, do an on-line campaign.
Whats your favorite "Dont" movie?
Well, the one that inspired me, I know it as The Living Dead at Manchester Morgue and the American title, Dont Open the Window. Id go for that [with Creepy Trailer voice] Dont open the window whatevers out there will wait! What a stupid tag line.
Dont reminded me of all those Eighties horror trailers, like Happy Birthday to Me.
You know what, I havent 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, Dont 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.
So 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 Quentins 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 didnt take any fee on my trailer at all.
Yeah, absolutely. I just thought Well, Ill 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 didnt 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 well do it for free. So I made the offer and I said, Hey, just so you know, Ill do mine for free. And I thought for some reason it had gone away and of course, it hadnt, they were just busy. Yeah, but it was great and I just wanted to make sure all the money was on screen.
Yeah, it was there.
I got paid for Hot Fuzz, so it was alright.
Well Hot Fuzz man I gotta tell ya, its my favorite film of the year.
Oh, thank you.
Well, I mean I know the year is
I know its only April. [Laughing] Are you saying its better than The Reaping?
Well, I dont know because What hath God wrought?
Was that rated R or PG-13?
I dont know actually.
I think it's PG-13.
Is it really?
Yeah, cuz youve 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 Rs.
Were you conscious of that, about getting an R?
The weird thing is. The weird thing is In the UK, I dont know if you know about UK certificates, theyre both Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz are both 15s. Not 18s.
Which is amazing and weve been very lucky both times that theyve been so lenient with us. And I think the reason is, even though theyre violent and foul-mouthed, theyre quite sweet-natured. Do you know what I mean?
And like in Hot Fuzz, when its done its not kind of mean-spirited. I think that maybe the violence, in that aspect, in Hot Fuzz and in Shaun of the Dead, its just trying to recapture that illicit thrill of watching those films when youre 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 Ive ever seen. It was freaking me out. Its great making an audience laugh. Its even better making an audience jump. Its 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.
Bob Clark just died.
I know. Thats terrible.
Im totally bummed. Black Christmas, one of my favorite movies [needless to say, the original by the way].
Its weird because in the UK, nobody knows The Christmas Story.
Yeah, its not a thing. Its strange. And I know everybody here its like a real staple isnt it?
Ive never seen it. Im like the only one.
But its very famous isnt it?
Oh yeah. Im kind of embarrassed that I dont know it.
Right, right, right. Yeah, and thats [Bob Clarks death] horrible.
Its really weird when you hear about all these people we grew up on, when they pass on and its just kind of like, Oh no, not them.
I know, and Stuart Rosenberg died the other day.
Its sad. He did a really good cop film, The Laughing Policeman.
Whats your favorite cop film?
I tell you what. Ive got so many, so can you break it down into kind of like sub-genre?
Alright. Since we are talking Grindhouse, what is your favorite Grindhouse cop flick?
Oh, um Thats 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.
I havent seen that.
Italian film, I think, its not by Fernando di Leo [Its Ruggero Deodato] Its got Ray Lovelock in it from Dont Open the Window in fact. Hes one of the cops. And its ridiculous. I really enjoyed that. What is another good grindhouse? Well, its not a grindhouse film, [but] one I would say is pretty its 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, its really well made. The DP, Bruce Surtees like, its really well shot. And yet its got this I Spit on your Grave element to it. Its a proper rape/revenge type of drama. And the rape scenes are really nasty. And its quite blood-thirsty and its 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 its so entertainingly trashy. So that would be a good grindhouse cop film. Okay gimme another one.
You 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 Thats Gary Sherman isnt it?
He did Dead and Buried and Raw Meat [which is]Death Line which is great. So, Ive never seen that. Id like to. Can you get that on DVD?
Yeah, I think so. Although, God, you know, I saw it in the theatre when I was a kid.
Yeah. This was f*cked up!
Id like to see that. Okay, hit me with some other cop sub-genres.
Okay. Lets do cop comedies.
Comedies okay, Im gonna go for theres one that I really like which is again, not available on DVD. The Super Cops, Gordon Parks [directing] with Ron Leibman. F*cking 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 cops 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.
Yeah, and they are all varied too.
Yeah, very varied And The Super Cops, even though its based on a true story, is really funny and I think thats a real lost gem. MGM needs to release that on DVD, its great.
Well nowadays the action movies are these PG-13 flicks with loads of CG and theres 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 that?
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. Theyre 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, hes seduced by the Swayze.
Well who isnt 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 theyre in bed with the lights off and they both look faintly androgynous. And yet, Swayzes both a mans man and has girly hair.
Nick has a theory about Gary Busey that like if Gary Busey only had one meatball sandwich instead of two, then Keanu Reeves wouldnt have left him for Swayze. Hes 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 Ive 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.
It felt very genuine.
Well , you know, I love the fact, in the male bonding scene where its 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 thats got that kind of like look at 300 for Gods sakes.
Youve read the graphic novel right?
I havent actually.
You should check it out its just short of wheres the gay sex scene.
[Laughing] Brokeback Sparta Thats 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.
What was the one about the rapist that went around naked?
Ah 10 to Midnight! Ah, my God, thats a crazy film. I havent seen that for a long time. So Ill tell you the Charles Bronson film that I absolutely love cuz its 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. Id love to watch Death Wish 3 with an audience now cuz its hysterical.
Well, you know my friend Matt hes always like, Why dont they remake bad films [Edgar laughs] like remake Death Wish 3. He wants to see them remake Friday the 13th Part 5.
Ive never seen that one you know.
Youve never seen part 5?
Nah, you know I havent. Ive seen 1 to 4 and 6.
Okay, 6 was awesome though.
Yeah, I quite liked 6. The others I couldnt 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. Wouldnt it be great to re-title all the New York films that werent shot in New York?
Sadly, 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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