Down With The Spaced Creators
Jessica Hynes, Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright
face their people...
year, we got a chance to face Nick Frost and Edgar Wright,
two of the men behind 2007's funniest (on purpose) action
film, Hot Fuzz. Of course, they had first come together working
on a cult sitcom for British television, Spaced.
Last year, it looked like there'd be little hope to have it
on a U.S. DVD release, but there was definitely demand.
fanboy sitcom you could ever want.
ultimate fanboy sitcom, you may have heard the controversy
surrounding a potential U.S. remake which thankfully got
scuttled. Because now we have the real thing. Besides, the
U.S. has sort of answered Spaced with The Big Bang Theory.
year, Wright returned to Comic-Con with the creators of
Spaced, Simon Pegg and Jessica Hynes nee Stevenson. They've
been on a tour of the U.S. showing favorite Spaced episodes,
surprised and gratified to discover that American fans had
found the show despite its lack of legal distribution here
-- and this tour helps promote it as a legitimate DVD.
addition to showing their favorite episodes at a theater
in San Diego, the three faced fans at a panel Friday afternoon.
Thanks to the BBC, Derek and other reporters, including
Lyz Reblin from RealMovieNews,
got to have an intimate roundtable chat with Hynes, Pegg
has the United States Spaced tour been going?
Wright: It's good. We've done New York and L.A.
so far. It was amazing. We had a fantastic screening in
New York at the Village East. It had a line around the block
and we had to turn away over a hundred people. We did another
one in the Arclight in Los Angeles with Kevin Smith moderating.
That was really funny.
Last year in London, we did a Spaced
marathon screening at the National Film Theater. It was
the first time we'd seen all of the episodes on the big
screen. It was amazing, and it was amazing watching them
at the Arclight with that huge screen with that stereo sound.
It's great to be seven years later, eight
years later, sitting there with a packed house, watching
something that was originally intended for the small screen.
did it seven years ago. Did you move on and now it's kind
of coming back into your lives?
Wright: I don't think it's ever gone away, has
Pegg: No. It's always been our first thing that
we did. For me, and I'm sure for Jess as well, it has such
significance for our lives. It was such a passion project.
I look back at how it got made and how we did it. We were
just feeling our way a lot of the time.
The whole thing was incredibly serendipitous
in that it actually got done. Jess and I, when we were writing
the first series, we'd just hang around at each other's
houses writing a TV show, get some food, maybe, and then
the next thing we knew we'd walked onto the set. We were
in this apartment building that we'd written about, vaguely,
and that the production team had put together. It was happening.
Hynes: We realized the bathroom door opened onto
wood and tack.
facing fans at Comic-Con (photo by Stephanie Rodriguez)
Pegg: That's the little spatial anomaly…seeing
all those boards as well, it was like, wow, this is going
to happen. And that feeling's never gone away.
you just keep writing it even though it didn't have a green
light? Was that even a term you use in Britain?
Pegg: We didn't even f***ing know what a green
light was! I just thought that here, yeah, it's going to
be on and it was on! The notion of a green light, I didn't
know what the term meant, but I assumed we had it.
Wright: It was at the time a lot more laid back.
In terms of hearing about how a network television show
gets made over here….there are so many stages…
Pegg: It's a lot more ruthless here.
Wright: I don't know what -- It might have changed.
Maybe it's changed now in the UK, but certainly then…we
look back at it and realize how lucky we were. I mean, it
was a low-budget show, so the fact that we were slightly
under the radar in terms of the cost meant that we kind
of had carte blanche within the budget and schedule to do
what we wanted. We never really had interference.
It's one of those experiences where you
look back and realize how fortunate you were, that we were
that age and had this show where we could kind of do anything
within reason. Reason being time and money, but still really
didn't have any scrutiny in terms of content.
Hynes: I do remember one producer questioning my
use of fifties-style horn-rimmed glasses without the glass
I said we were going to be fine.
Pegg: Yet no one said a thing about an episode
where everybody's clearly off their head on Ecstasy.
A lot of the time, we were talking about
things that were very specific to the age group. Things
just went over their heads. In the clubbing episode of Spaced,
it was very much a love letter to the fact that you could
go out, take drugs, and come back and not die.
In every TV show, there had to be some
moral message, some punitive action.
Wright: There is a special episode…
Hynes: In every group, it just kind of happened
that you went out together as friends, and you came back,
and that was the night. Many people only have one or two
nights like that ever. And that was the point of that. It
doesn't suddenly become a show about hard-core drug users.
That happened. And it was great.
Pegg: It wasn't about saying, do this, it's great.
This happens. The whole show is about "this happens." People
do smoke a couple of joints in the afternoon sometimes and
don't crash their car and kill some children.
You know what I mean? It was important
to just show things how it was.
Wright: Certainly there's never been another TV
show that started more frequently with the main characters
being hung over. Every single episode starts with them walking
out of the bedrooms going "muhhhhhh…last night…."
Wright gone Hollywood (photo courtesy of Piper Ferguson)
the U.S. DVD release, you got a lot of commentary with some
really big names. How did it feel to get those?
Wright: It was amazing.
Pegg: Quentin Tarantino's become a friend of ours
recently, and he and Edgar are such firm pals now. To be
commenting on the episode where we do the Pulp Fiction
thing where David finds the gun and it's Mike in the toilet,
with him in the room talking about it, it was the
most incredible moment of circularity in my entire life.
To have done that in honor of him, and then to have him
come in and speak in honor of it, it just doesn't get any
better than that.
Wright: With the people who are on the DVD, I'd
say that most of them had seen the show after Shaun of
the Dead came out. A couple of them, Patton Oswalt and
Bill Hader being uber-geeks already knew of Spaced
before Shaun of the Dead and had seen it.
We'd meet and greet people over the last
couple of years, and realize who the big fans are. So we
thought we'd get them all in to do this commentary track
and it was a lot of fun doing it.
finally greased the wheels to get an American release? It
took a long time.
Wright: It was just some music licensing stuff.
That's a lot of hard work by our producers like Nira Park
and Karen Beever and the distributors to get it happening.
Ironically, one of the people who helped with a crucial
bit of getting the music cleared up was the real Nicholas
Angel. Nick Angel is a music supervisor who works at Working
name you stole…
Wright: Highly ironic that the real Nick Angel
came to our rescue.
Hynes: I love the fact that they had to clear my
Elvis impersonation with the Elvis estate. They approved
Pegg: Also the whole thing is that obviously, the
demand has grown for it since the success of the two movies.
It's created an awareness in people who kind of wanted to
go back and see…it's like when you discover a band and you
go, I wonder what they were doing before I found them…
It just took a long time for all the right
conditions to arise, and now here we are.
Wright: It's much like if you were a fan of Aerosmith
through "Walk This Way," and then you discovered "Toys in
brought some Spaced footage to Comic-Con with Shaun of the
Wright: I remember that. When we were here four
years ago, we did a panel in which we showed some and when
we got to the end, it got such an amazing reaction that
both Simon and I started crying (laughs).
Pegg: Getting through the panel going (exaggerated
Wright: It was incredible, showing it in front
of a big audience.
Hynes: What did you show?
Pegg; it was a montage.
Wright: About ten minutes of clips. You weren't
in it. (laughs)
it has a lot of fans. Is this something you want to revisit,
or do you think, we did it, we like it, we don't want to
touch it again?
Pegg: There's a bit of that. Our fear is that if
we went back to it now, we wouldn't be qualified to do it.
Hynes: I'd like to.
Pegg: Me, too, but it would have to be different.
Hynes: We'd have to deal with the fact that we
were older. But I think Daisy's still living in that flat.
I think most definitely Tim might have moved out…
Pegg: He's here somewhere down at Comic-Con…he's
got a book out…he's doing a panel later, we can ask him
a couple of years ago, you gave an interview in which you
said that your new popularity wasn't going to change your
career much. It wasn't like you were going to be in Mission
Pegg: (smiles) I did say that, yeah.
there any role that you'd like to predict that you won't
be in so that you'll immediately land it?
Hynes: Somebody said you're supposed to be in Batman.
Pegg: It's funny. I keep eating my words. You know,
this is another classic example…there's a line in Spaced
when I say, "As sure as eggs is eggs, as sure as day follows
night, and as sure as every odd-numbered Star Trek
movie is shit…"
I can obviously say that the rule has obviously
been re-set now.
Wright: What about Robin?
Pegg: I'm too old to play Robin. (protests inarticulately
to Edgar and Jessica, then gives up) Cut to me, in my
little green shorts…
I don't know. I've had a fanboy's dream
really, in that I've been able to be in shows and films
that I loved. Jess and I were both in Doctor Who,
which we both loved as kids, and then to do Star Trek…
Pegg in Doctor Who ... or he wants to play
Wright: I'd like to announce now that I am actually
playing Doctor Who in the next series.
there was just a rumor that you were denying that you were
playing Doctor Who…
Pegg: There was a poll, and I was like number two.
I don't want to ruin that show. I mean, when I saw Mission
Impossible III I was enjoying it so much and then suddenly
there's my big potato face.
Hynes: Who was number one?
Pegg: Jimmy Nesbitt (of the BBC's Jekyll).
could always play Ant-Man…
Pegg: Too old. (gives a sideways longing glance)
Edgar's not talked to me about that film, anyway.
(Edgar looks guilty)
explored so many fan things with your films, have you ever
thought of exploring the comics?
Pegg: Funnily enough, Nick (Frost) and I have written
a film called Paul, which is going to shoot next
year. And it starts here. So that element continues...
look forward to that shoot, and hope we get to talk with
them next summer, too. Thanks, gang. In the meantime, people,
if you haven't already, get SPACED!