Five things we learned at The World’s End screening at BAM

Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost stopped by at an advanced screening of their new flick to talk filmmaking, bar fights and bags full of porn.

The World's End

The World's End

The buzz has been all about Jaegers and kaiju this summer, but trust us: The real action-movie action is in The World’s End, the latest sci-fi comedy from beloved U.K. writer-director Edgar Wright. Cowriter Simon Pegg plays a charismatic loser who wrangles his old high-school chums to reattempt a pub crawl from their youth, only to uncover an alien invasion along the way.

The flick is the final part of the Cornetto trilogy, Wright, Pegg and actor Nick Frost’s series of tongue-in-cheek action movies featuring cameos by the titular ice-cream brand. Like previous installments Shaun of the Dead (2004) and Hot Fuzz (2007), The World’s End combines genre-movie conventions with dark comedy about recalcitrant manchildren searching for their place in the fussy modern world.

Wright, Pegg and Frost dropped in for a Q&A at BAM’s advanced screening of the flick, moderated by Entertainment Weekly’s Clark Collis. Here’s what we picked up in the postmovie glow (and yes, Cornetto fans: The World’s End is everything you hoped for).

1. The film’s pub crawl came from a real-life experience. Wright got the idea to set the film around an epic bar itinerary from one he attempted himself at the age of 19. The World’s End is about aliens, sure, but it’s also about what it’s like to return to the place where you grew up and be utterly depressed by what you find there. “It’s always bittersweet going back, because you sort of realize how little influence you had on your hometown,” said Wright.

2. Wright is all about foreshadowing. He explained that the first half hour of each of his movies is seeded with hints for the rest of the plot (see: the red ink stain on Shaun’s shirtfront pre–zombie bashing), and The World’s End is no exception. Pegg added that the names of the 12 pubs on the protagonists’ route each hold a clue to the story’s direction.

3. The actors did almost all of their own stunts. Wright enlisted fight coordinator Bradley Allan, who previously worked with the director on Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, to choreograph The World’s End’s series of badass bar fights. (And this guy’s the real deal: He’s on Jackie Chan’s team, and also worked on Kick-Ass and Pacific Rim.) And believe it or not, Pegg, Frost, Martin Freeman & Co. do most of the pulverizing sans stunt doubles. Frost admits he bruised his liver during one particularly epic throwdown. “But it’s fun to go to work when you get to punch people all day,” he added with a shrug.

4. The Cornetto trilogy is a philosophical construct…or an R&B group. Apologizing for film-school–bred pretentiousness, Pegg explained that taken together, the three movies create a Hegelian dialectic: Shaun of the Dead is about evolution, Hot Fuzz about devolution and The World’s End about revolution. While the audience was mulling this over, Wright chimed in with a different take on the trilogy: “Separately, they’re just Beyoncé, Kelly and Michelle; but together, they’re Destiny’s Child.”

5. Simon Pegg and Nick Frost are just the cutest. The longtime collaborators and BFFs were pretty much all over each other during the Q&A, Pegg all but administering noogies as they passed the mike back and forth. When an audience member asked if it was strange to act out fight scenes against your best friend, Frost recalled one insane-sounding showdown the pair had in real life: At a house party, they each drank a bottle of sherry, stripped to the waist and started wrestling in the bedroom. Not only did they destroy the bed, but Frost broke his thumb, too. When the party guests came to help clean up, an Ikea bag full of porn was discovered underneath the mattress. Not bad, fellas.

Watch the trailer below, and check TONY’s Film page later this week for a review of the flick, plus an interview with Wright, Pegg and Frost.

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Editor: Marley Lynch (@marleyasinbob)

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