The British writing duo of Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg announced themselves to the world in 2003 with the horror-comedy Shaun of the Dead, finding success in the hard-to-crack American market and around the world.
They repeated that feat in 2007 with Hot Fuzz, the second part of what is referred to as their Three Flavours Cornetto Trilogy.
This week they are back with the final part of their opus, The World’s End, following a group of friends who visit their hometown after 20 years, only to find something very strange has happened to the place.
The project began not in a meeting room or a writer’s retreat, but while waiting for their luggage in an airport.
“Edgar and I never really like to talk about our next thing until our current thing is out, so we usually use the press tour as a way to talk about the future,” says Pegg, who’s also the film’s lead. “We were on a baggage carousel in Sydney and Edgar had been kicking this idea around about this film that he’d written in his teens.”
Although he played quite sensible characters in the previous two films, Pegg’s character for this film is something of a departure: a man-child who has never quite got over the glory days of his youth.
“Gary King [his character] is probably my favourite role in all these films just because I was completely unrestricted,” he says. “It was really fun to play him.”
In the last decade, the pair have gone from being well-regarded cult moviemakers to being feted by Hollywood. Does success ease the pressure or double it?
“I guess over the three films the budget has gone up, but not in any dramatic sort of way,” says Wright. “There’s always pressure when making a British film, particularly when you’re doing something complicated and ambitious.”
The experience hasn’t changed much for the star either. “The process of filmmaking doesn’t alter a huge amount from film to film,” Pegg explains. “The biggest change going from Star Trek to The World’s End was getting used to the weather!”
Unlike Shaun of the Dead or Hot Fuzz, there are fewer film references hidden within The World’s End – and for good reason. “We tried to make a movie that was coming from personal experience,” says Wright. “I think a lot of people have had that experience of going back to their hometown with old friends, and having a slightly weird experience and feeling alienated.”
The film has been a huge success in their home turf of the UK and abroad, opening up the second stage of their careers. All eyes are especially on Wright, who remains tight-lipped about a forthcoming Marvel project. But he has definite plans for his career.
“I think my next film will be an American one. It’s one of the strange perks of the job, getting to make movies in different countries. But I’d like to keep doing British films as well,” he says.
For Pegg, however, the ball is already rolling. “I’m going to Australia to make a movie called Kill Me Three Times. Then I’m back in the UK towards the end of the year to make a movie called Man Up, then I think the new Mission: Impossible will go next year, then I’m doing a movie with Terry Jones from Monty Python. I don’t foresee a break, much to my family’s disdain.”
• The World’s End is out now in UAE cinemas