Simon Pegg on his new film and his impressive career
After achieving success and critical acclaim on television, most notably with the off-the-wall sitcom Spaced, British actor Simon Pegg conquered the big screen with 2004’s zombie comedy Shaun of the Dead.
Since then, he has carved out a film career that has led to him becoming one of the more unlikely stars in Hollywood.
He’s become an integral part of studio juggernauts such as the Star Trek and Mission: Impossible franchises, while also playing on his geeky everyman persona in comedies such as Paul and Run, Fatboy, Run!.
And of course, he played the lead roles in the so-called “Three Flavours Cornetto” trilogy of films – also known as the “Blood and Ice Cream” trilogy – that he co-wrote with director Edgar Wright: Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz and The World’s End. Now he takes on a very different role in Kill Me Three Times, playing a charismatic hitman who finds out that other assassins are after his latest target. We caught up with him to find out more about the film and chat about his incredible career.
Kill Me Three Times is a smaller project than many of the films you make these days. What are the differences between working on, say, Star Trek and a film such as this?
Well, the process of filmmaking doesn’t alter a huge amount from film to film, surprising as it may sound. I went straight from Mission: Impossible 4 to doing A Fantastic Fear of Everything, which was going from a US$100 million-plus (Dh367m) film to a $2m film. The locations, schedule and the scale change but, ultimately, the process doesn’t change particularly. The biggest change recently, going from Star Trek to The World’s End, was the weather. I shot the second Star Trek in Los Angeles, where it’s beautiful all the time, and I shot The World’s End in England in the winter where it’s bad all the time.
Was it a good experience with a smaller production and cast?
Yeah, I mean, with Star Trek we all became like a family, particularly after two films, but you’re always on a tight schedule, because there are so many different factors involved. On this film there was a chance to play around a little bit, try things out and really work with everyone in the cast – particularly as I’m the lead, whereas being in an ensemble in the bigger films can limit who you work with.
This role is very different to the ones you normally play, which are not usually so tough. Was that fun?
It’s always fun to play something different – and this guy is a real badass. He’s also very mysterious, this character who wears all black and has a great moustache, and he’s the viewpoint for the audience – but still you don’t know a lot about him. Playing a character that’s bad, generally, or does bad things, is always a little bit more fun. It’s like a permission slip to do or say things that you wouldn’t in real life. He is in some ways like the character I played in The World’s End, who was just this complete force of nature. So I like characters that are both the good and bad guy.
What about the more violent scenes in the film?
I’ve actually done a lot of action in the past, but mostly with a comedic sensibility. This is a lot more extreme – it’s still comedic but we get to fire guns and blow things up.
You’ve been in 13 films in the past five years, and have four in production. Do you ever take time off?
It doesn’t allow for much of a break, much to my family’s chagrin. I’m fortunate enough to be in the position where I’m offered the chance to do a lot of interesting stuff, and really mix it up with the type of films I’m doing. Some of the time it can be things that you don’t say no to, such as working with Tom Cruise [in Mission Impossible] or J J Abrams [on Star Trek], but films like Kill Me Three Times give me the chance to play something different and work on a different type of movie. So it can be hectic, but I want to do as many of these types of jobs while they’re still asking me.
• Kill Me Three Times opens in cinemas on Thursday, April 16
Updated: April 15, 2015 04:00 AM