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Architect Of The Apocalypse

TheWorldsEndThe last instalment of the Three Colours: Cornetto Trilogy reunites onscreen sparring partners Simon Pegg and Nick Frost with their frequent behind-the-scenes collaborator, director and co-writer Edgar Wright.

Over the course of two films – Shaun Of the Dead and Hot Fuzz– and two seasons of the cult Britcom, Spaced, Edgar Wright and company have championed the man-child, making unlikely heroes out of grown men who still wax lyrical about Star Wars, zombie movies, ‘80s action flicks and Nintendo. In their latest outing, though, Wright, along with co-writer and star, Simon Pegg, have turned the notion on its ear.

“I think in this one we make nostalgia the villain of the piece,” he muses. “What we wanted to do was deal with this subject and give it a sense of finality. The way that the movie wraps up gives it a very full stop.”

The World’s End sees Pegg’s ageing high school hero, Gary King, reunite with four of his best friends to re-enact a fateful pub crawl that they failed to complete back in the day. The wheels come off when they discover that their old home town has been invaded by aliens (it’s an Edgar Wright film – you have to expect these things) but, for Wright, the true antagonist is King’s inability to let go of his youth.

“We always liked that theme,” he says. “And it’s something that goes right back to Spaced. We had this idea of, like, how long can you be an adolescent before you have to start being a professional or a grown up? In this one it’s like the adolescence is the villain. You’ve got five friends, four of whom are adults and one of whom desperately wants to be a teenager again, and unfortunately his wish comes true in the worst way possible.”

Part of the fun in making the film was getting Pegg to reconnect with his own youthful obsessions. Did you know the likable star of Paul and Star Trek, in common with his World’s End character,  went through a Goth phase? “Oh yes,” Wright laughs. “He used to be into The Mission and sisters of Mercy and Fields of the Nephilim, so it seemed like a great idea. Simon always had this idea that… you know how sometimes when American soldiers commit suicide, they put their military uniform on before they do it? So it’s almost like he’s gonna put on his drinking outfit from 1990 before he goes on this mission to hell.”

One of the most difficult challenges they faced right from the get-go was getting the tone of Gary right, balancing his self-destructive and untrustworthy qualities with an essential likeableness at his core. “In this one, Simon was very keen to do something different and we felt it was a nice anti-hero role for him. We like finding characters who are unlikely heroes and almost  the whole theme of The World’s End is that our flaws are what make us human. Do the mistakes make the man, you know? In that sense we needed to conjure up this almost wraith-like car crash of a man who’s going to be your very irresponsible King Arthur at the centre of the quest.”

_ TRAVIS JOHNSON