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The filming itself was a far cry from the US work Pegg has been involved in recently. Holing up in Shepperton Studios, filming lasted just 28 days. “The last shoot I did was seven months, and before that it was five,” Pegg says of Fear’s production schedule’s comparisons with his latest US projects.

“The soundstage we shot on was where [Crispian’s] mother Hayley and father met when they made [1966 Brit flick] The Family Way and we didn’t know that until Hayley came on set and said ‘I met your father here’ and we then
realised we were filming in the room responsible for Crispian’s existence!”

The film itself is a proudly British combination of quirks, comedy, horror and witty lyricism, with animated flights of fancy courtesy of co-director Chris Hopewell, and a sequence in which Jack prepares for a big business meeting by drying his pants in an oven and getting pumped up listening to some gangster rap.

“I got out all my old NWA and Ice Cube records and had great fun reacquainting myself with Straight Outta Compton. I had to do that moment as seriously as possible – a white guy in two towels [one at his waist, one on his head] rapping was going to be funny no matter what!” While Pegg balances both indies and studio work, he seems predisposed to neither. He relishes the freedom of working independently – “writers are so far down the food chain, if you write a film, you need to direct it otherwise it will be destroyed” – but is clearly enamoured with bigger-scale events, too.

He has a love for cinema, but is not especially fond of the current vogue for the “3D nonsense” tactics to get audiences from their couches, back into the theatre. When talking of the British film industry, or lack of (“in the US they have a film industry, here we have a lot of talented people, which is not an industry”), it becomes clear, though, he enjoys dipping his toe in both ends of the movie pool. He claims not to be interested in TV, where “all the serious actors are migrating”, because he doesn’t want to be tied down to one role for the next seven years, but has just completed a single-episode role in Frank Darabont’s (The Walking Dead) 1940s set crime drama pilot LA Noir for network TNT. “I went from playing a Scottish space engineer to a Jewish Californian comic and that was a challenge.”

His next project, The World’s End, the third and final instalment in his and Edgar Wright’s ‘Cornetto trilogy’ about a group of friends who embark on a pub crawl to reunite their friendships and fight off middle-aged ennuie and, perhaps, save the earth from a world-ending threat, marks a coming together of both aspects of Pegg’s career, in a way.

“It’s probably the highest-budget film we are going to make in the UK,” he teases of the sci-fi comedy, clearly relishing the ambition of this home-grown project. Before that though, there’s next summer’s Star Trek 2, and right now, his battles to overcome a fear of the whole world, save the day, get the girl, and write a bestseller. You get the feeling that were this on the real world Pegg’s ‘to-do’ list it wouldn’t be beyond him to do just that.

A Fantastic Fear Of Everything is out now through Universal

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