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Simon Pegg loves blockbusters as well as indie flicks, as we find out ahead of his latest horror comedy A Fantastic Fear Of Everything

“I’m the funny British guy who creeps up and makes jokes in difficult situations.” This is Simon Pegg’s assessment of the way that Americans perceive him. It’s a surmise that is fairly accurate: the comedy relief in the Mission Impossible movies opposite Tom Cruise; the bumbling, smart-alec Scotty in the multi-million-dollar Star Trek franchise; he is often to be found doling out the funnies. But this is only part of the repertoire for Brit’s biggest film export who, as a writer, producer and former stand up, finds himself in the enviable position of straddling the twin worlds of small independent British movies and mega-bucks Hollywood output.

TNT catches up with Pegg in London ahead of the release of his latest movie A Fantastic Fear of Everything. The film
a dark quirk-filled ‘semi-comedy’ that Pegg co-produced about a writer struggling with a fear of the outside world, sees the Gloucestershire-born star back working in the indie world where he started out.

“It’s a crazy adventure about a writer trying to overcome a crisis in both his career and his personal life. Jack [Pegg] is a children’s author who becomes embarrassed by his work and wants to express the dark side of his life,” explains the film’s co-director Crispian Mills, former frontman for defunct Britpoppers Kula Shaker and long-time friend of Pegg’s.

“He turns to writing about serial killers and in the process of researching this completely freaks himself out. He becomes so familiar with the hackers, dossers, severers and poisoners of the 19th century that they start giving him nightmares.” Fear offers plenty of comedy for Pegg to get his teeth into, as Jack bumbles around his flat, shut off from the outside world where every creaky floorboard and noise in the street is someone out to kill him. But there’s also some  meaty drama, as this stunted recluse confronts the childhood demons that have plagued him since he was abandoned by his mother.

For Pegg, who is on screen solo for most of the film’s running time (much of the time in his Y-fronts, “I was very happy to come to work in my pants, it was very comfortable and enjoyable situation”), it offered a new challenge. “I had to give so much of myself as a performer,” Pegg explains. “I couldn’t rely on my fellow actors – when I do Star Trek, I am part of an ensemble and it’s easy to sit back and relax. Here, I have to carry it a bit, it feels a little bit more incumbent on me.” The film began as an adaptation of Bruce Robinson’s novella Paranoia In The Launderette about a man struggling with inner demons that manifests in a fear of said high street service, which Crispian, his filmmaker ambitions hitherto unknown to Pegg, adapted into a short.

“It was very funny, but there isn’t a platform for short film anymore,” Pegg recalls. “I said: ‘If you can flesh it out and give it a third act, it’s something I would be interested in’.” Crispian went away, put pen to paper, and came back with Fear – a children’s author narrative and a serial killer bent his new additions to the already off kilter comedy.


Interview: British funnyman Simon Pegg on his new film A Fantastic Fear of Everything
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