Sunday, February 13, 2005
Interview with Edgar Wright - Director of Shaun of the Dead
Fresh off a coast-to-coast American promotional trip, director Edgar Wright took time out of his busy schedule to talk with David Michael Brown about Shaun of the Dead, George Romero and casting 100's of Zombies.
How did the press junket across the States go?
It was great, across 17 different cities. The response has been really good; being somewhere where people don't necessarily know you and have the film go down well. Each night they'd be a couple of hard-core Spaced fans, people who watch it on region free DVD players but apart from that everyone was watching it completely cold so that was really nice. It was good that there wasn't anything that the Americans didn't get apart from a joke about Cornetto's but aside from that they really took to it.
What was it like seeing the film on the big screen for the first time? I was at the London Frightfest Festival a couple of years ago when you showed some footage and it went down really well.
Absolutely, I suppose in a way we've been slightly starved of an audience for a while as Spaced didn't have a laughter track at all. I started of making shorts and I showed them to audiences. That was the first thing that got me really excited having some form of palpable reaction or noise from an audience. It was funny, we were at Comic Con in San Diego, we showed the trailer and talked about Shaun, we also showed 10 minute clips of Spaced and it was amazing watching it with 3000 people, they were really laughing, it brought it home that we hadn't had this reaction for ages.
Watching Shaun of the Dead it reminded me of American Werewolf, half the audience laughing, the other half hiding under their seat.
Cool! There are lots of other horror comedies that I love like Evil Dead 2 and Braindead, both of those go further into the comedy side. Both of them are very cartoonish, more live action Looney tunes that horror. American Werewolf probably plays its scares a little straighter. In a way, even though it's a comedy we wanted the horror aspect to have a straighter edge to it. It is a nice mix and in a way I think every horror comedy going to be different, there's a world between Shaun of the Dead and American Werewolf or Evil Dead 2 and American Werewolf. Even Young Frankenstein and American Werewolf. They all work in slightly different ways and that's what's interesting about them. Other ones such as Scary Movie are much more of a spoof; you wouldn't call it a horror film in any regard.
You mentioned Evil Dead 2 and Braindead, were Sam Raimi and Peter Jackson big influences on Shaun of the Dead?
Well not specifically in terms of humour, if anything both of them were an inspiration to me as a director, specifically in the way they started. We were really lucky that both of them have actually seen the film, they both loved it and gave us press quotes. Peter Jackson said it was his favourite film of the year and Sam Raimi said "Shaun of the Dead Rules!" I came back from the States to find a German Evil Dead 2 poster signed by Raimi and Rob Tappert which was really sweet. They saw it in LA whilst we were touring and really liked it.
Another obvious inspiration is George Romero's Dawn of the Dead. All the way through the film we get snippets of Goblin music, Shaun works at Foree Electronics, lots of scenes are played out from his Zombie films, has Romero seen it?
He was the first to see it once we finished it and he loved it. He's bigged us up on several occasions now which is very sweet. He watched it on his own; he just really went for it. I think he didn't now what to expect, he'd heard it was happening and when he actually watched it he was like "Oh right! Its like a proper film." I think he was kind of expecting it to be like a student film. It was really cool that he really liked it, he gave us two different press quotes and his name is on the poster and that means the world to us.
The full version of this interview appears on www.terroraustralis.net