Compiled by: Jack Foley
Q. One of the things the film does is point out the strangeness
of city life, and you guys come from far away from London. Was
that an intention, or inadvertent sub-plot?
A. In terms of people walking around with a sort of blinkered
attitude towards other people, is not us attacking other Londoners;
it's rather us kind of commenting on ourselves [laughs].
One of the inspirations for the script, when we were writing it,
was that I remember not having read a paper for two weeks, and
then feeling utterly stupid when I was watching the TV and burning
cows, and not really knowing what was going on, and having to
ask somebody what exactly foot and mouth was.
A lot of people walk around in their own little bubble of their
own little problems and don't really see wider things going on.
Having Shaun do that with a zombie apocalypse was like the ultimate
end of that joke - that he can walk around on a Sunday morning,
with a hangover, and not really spot the living dead.
Q. I gather George Romero, the man who started this genre
of film, has seen your film?
A. We had a really nerve-wracking Friday, cos we were cool
about the fact he was watching it, and had even asked him if he'd
like to see it, but we kind of figured that because it's very
reverential of his films, he might dig it.
But then we started trying to work out the time difference between
London and Florida, and the screening had been put back and we
hadn't heard anything, so we though, 'oh God, he's seen it and
doesn't like it'! And then we got a call and both spent about
half an hour each, talking to him. He was really sweet about it.
I think he was genuinely very flattered that we'd kind of, within
a comedy take on it, taken a very reverential approach to his
films, and he really loved it. That was the icing on the cake
Q. Can you paint us a picture of the day you shot the zombie
scenes outside the pub. I mean, it looks chilling, but it must
have been bloody hysterical?
A. Even though it seems like a funny/campy thing to do, they
quite get into the zombie method. There'd actually be this kind
of... the moans would just sort of start and people would be really
into it and stuff. It's weird how when people can be quite self-conscious
just acting one on one with zombies, when you get 30 of them together,
this sort of mob mentality starts, and it is very strange. They
don't want to break out of character and they do start coming
I was once taking sound effects of the zombies, and got them all
together in a lunch break, so I could take different sound effects
of them all moaning, and I asked them to attack me, and then one
of them bit me on the leg. It was like, 'this isn't even in the
film, what are you doing, this is crazy?' [Laughs]
Q. What specifically draws you to zombie movies and why do
you think it's making a comeback?
A. I think the reason that the sort of zombie zeitgeist has
started again was that there has always been a fondness for the
Romero films, but I think Michael Jackson's Thriller video probably
killed off the zombie genre for about 15 years.
Simon Pegg: He's got so much to answer for!
Edgar [laughing]: I think it literally killed off zombie
films for quite a while because it was ultimate high-camp zombie
Pegg: Zombies were spinning in their graves at that video!
Edgar: I think it was the Resident Evil games that sparked
off the interest in the genre again. Romero has been threatening
to do a fourth one for a long time, and then there was 28 Days
Later, and the remake of Dawn of the Dead, which is more based
on 28 Days Later than the original.
But it's nice that there's been a constant wave of things happening,
but I don't know why they've tipped the zeitgeist.
Pegg: I think if you gave it to a film student and said,
'give us an essay' it would probably be fear of ourselves, of
the enemy within, and the fact that we are the greatest threat
to each other now. Nowhere has this been more relevant than the
in the idea that, suddenly, in this city now we could all be killed
at any moment. Without noticing, we're in a situation where we
are under an enormous threat, and we kind of not noticed it happen.
Art always reflects where it comes from and these are concerns
that are with us at the moment, I think.
Horror films in the early 80s, for instance, such as stuff about
The Fly, was all about body horror and fear of viruses and stuff;
now it seems to be that we are frightened of each other.
Q. How do you regard the new release of Dawn of the Dead now.
Fortunate or unfortunate? And how aware were you of 28 Days Later?
A. Well, when we were writing we heard about both of them,
and were initially cheesed off, I think.
But, in both cases, it's kind of good, because for younger viewers,
who maybe haven't seen the old films, it works as a nice kind
of primer in a way. And even though we've very doggedly stuck
to the old school, sort of slow, shuffling zombies, I always thought
that the zombie refit (the MTV kind of zombies) was a bit needless,
in a way. They were zombies for people with short attention spans!
But I think it's good in a way, because it's worked out as strangely
great timing, in that both films are released by Universal. I
went to the cinema and saw the Dawn of the Dead trailer and the
Shaun of the Dead trailer back to back, which was bizarre. But
audiences laugh at it, so it seems to work pretty good.
In fact, the Dawn of the Dead works as a brilliant set-up, in
that every time someone shoots a zombie, they shoot it in the
head first-time, even though they've never used a gun before,
while in our film, Shaun shoots someone in the head after, maybe
So that's one of the key moments in our film, when Shaun actually
has the rifle and he's worked out how to cock it. Then he starts
firing and he misses, and he misses again, and again, and again.
I just thought that's what I'd do. I mean, I've watched a hundred
John Woo films, but if somebody gave me an automatic, I would
not even know how to take the safety off.
So it's worked as a nice kind of primer to our look at the end
of the world.
We kind of worried about them at the first, but then realised
that the Dawn of the Dead remake wasn't going to have a scene
in it where they sing 'White Lines' with a zombie, or 'Don't Stop
Me Now' by Queen.
Q. If you could have anyone rise from the dead, who would
it be and why? And is this the start of a zombie franchise for
A. Maybe it would be fun to see something like Marcel Marceau
to come back as a zombie, or a physical comedian like The Three
In terms of a franchise, we'd like to do something a bit similar.
We'd like to do something again, with a similar sensibility, like
the mixture of comedy and another genre. But maybe not zombies
We definitely like playing with genres and we're big fans of both
horror and sci-fi. So we'd like to find a different recipe.
Q. Do you think American audiences will take to it?
A. It's interesting that with the Internet, our trailer went
online, and we just went global straight away. Aint It Cool News
picked it up, which meant that millions of people in the States
seemed to get it and pick it up.
I'm glad that we stuck to our guns and made a very British film
in terms of the cast, because I think with very few exceptions,
when British films contrive to have American actors either doing
British accents, or having US leads in British films, our audiences
don't really take to it, and I don't think American audiences
do. So I'm very glad that we've been so lucky to have such a British
cast and British outlook, and I think if it does perform well,
it will be because of that.
It was the same with Spaced. People who've seen it in other countries
like the fact that people in London are recreating The Matrix
in a pub. If it was done in the States, it wouldn't have the same
charm to it, so we've definitely tried to make it so that it revels
in its parochial nature, without being off-putting.
Q. Will there be more Spaced? And have either of you got a
special actor from horror movies that you particularly loved?
A. Bruce Campbell, it's got to be Bruce Campbell. We did think
about getting him for the second series of Spaced. His performance
in Evil Dead 2 is possibly the best performance in a horror film
ever. He's brilliant. He's like a live action movie king.
Simon Pegg: As for Spaced, we'd love to, cos it's a labour of
love. But in terms of practicality, getting it done, getting it
written, getting it edited, a series would be a mammoth undertaking
at this point.
But we're certainly talking about the possibility of doing some
specials and rounding up the story of Tim and Daisy, because,
you know, as far as we're concerned, it's not particularly finished.
Q. There must have been a huge culture shock in terms of going
from the small screen to the big? How did you cope?
A. Well, it's a weird one, because even has a low-budget film,
the budget was bigger than TV. No matter how many resources you
have, if it rains, it rains. It's the same problems that happen
to a low-budget TV show, so in some respects it felt more ambitious
in scope, particularly because the film takes place over 40 hours,
so it's a lot more intense, and more difficult in a strange way.
But, at the same time, you come across the same problems in terms