I recently had the chance to sit down with a few members of the cast from Scott Pilgrim vs. The World. We’re sitting in the private dining area of a dive bar in the heart of the San Francisco art district. It’s a beautiful day outside and the crew is in town making the rounds to support the Edgar Wright directed comic based flick Scott Pilgrim vs. The World. If you haven’t yet seen the movie, rush out to your theater this weekend and do so. It’s visual nirvana that will leave you in sensory overload and wanting more.
Interviewed: Michael Cera, Anna Kendrick
There were some intense fight/action scenes in the movie. How much of that did you do yourself and how much was a stunt double?
MC: A lot of it’s me except for the really crazy stuff that I could never do. But any time it’s just blocking and punching it’s just normally me and normally the other actors too. It was just, we trained for a few months, we ran in the morning, it felt like two months before we started shooting, just conditioning. Push-ups and sit-ups and all sorts of stuff I’m not used to doing. It was a real bonding experience because all of us were really out of shape and embarrassed (laughs). Once you’re putting yourself on the line like that in front of each other all pretenses go away and really kind of connect with people. Yeah, it was a nice thing for us to be able to do together.
How were you approached for the role and why did you decide to take it?
MC: I met with Edgar in Toronto, when he was there for Hot Fuzz. He told me in the meeting that he wanted to put me in this movie basically, which was really exciting, but I was too young at the time. I think I was eighteen and he told me he wasn’t going to make it for a few years, but hopefully it would work out. That he wanted to do it with me. So, that was amazing, because that was the first time we’d met and I was a big fan of his and I really wanted to do anything with him. It was really exciting.
AK: I met Edgar the morning before I flew up to Oregon to shoot the first Twilight film. It was sort of a general meeting. When I came back he sent me the comics and asked me to come in and read for Stacy and I guess I was the only girl that they saw for Stacy, and then he gave me the job. Which was awesome! (laughs)
Edgar is known for his hyper-editing, fast cuts, etc., were filming the five second clips a change from the work that you normally do? Especially with your background work in theater?
MC:Yeah, I’ve never done anything like this really. It was totally unique in the process and fun. It was an exciting thing to try for the first time. It was exciting to watch his process, because I was really familiar with his work and really loved all of it. It was cool to see how he went about it.
AK: Yeah, I would say it’s the least, I almost feel this way for the majority of the actors in the film, it’s probably the least amount of improv we’ve ever done. Especially during our phone call scenes. I had to fit my lines in between the pauses that Michael left, because he shot his side of the phone call maybe three months before I did.
MC: I was like good luck with this honey (laughs)
AK: Yeah, it was weird. He was in an earwig in my ear and I wouldn’t be finished with my line and he’d start talking and I was like ‘Micheal, what the F?’, “interrupting cow’. Yeah, it was challenging, it was really kind of rewarding when you did it, but I don’t know if I could work like that all the time actually. It was really challenging.
Comic junkies really love the series and these characters. Was there any pressure that you were touching on something that was holy to people, to be stepping into the shoes of a character that people care so much about?
MC: Yeah, definitely. But, I did have total faith in Edgar. He’d been thinking about it so much for years and knew it so well and had been talking to Bryan who had created the graphic novels. I never really was too worried, I felt like I was in really good hands and that he was going to do something really special.
AK: People don’t really seem to care about who played Stacy. (laughs) That wasn’t one of the IMDb topics, ‘Who should play my fantasy Stacy Pilgrim casting?!’ So I didn’t have to contend with people going ‘oh you should have been Abigail Breslin’ (laughs) big difference.
MC: (laughs) She was at the premiere, she’s fresh in my mind. Not in a weird way (laughs)
Were you familiar with the comics at all before signing onto the project and how did you prepare to play the character other than just reading the comics?
MC: I had read the first two and really loved them. As far as embodying them, the rehearsal was really helpful to me. Some of the dialog in this movie you would read and say to yourself, ‘how am I going to pull that off?’ it’s so ridiculous, it’s so over the top. You just can’t picture yourself saying it or selling it. So rehearsing was really helpful because Edgar helped me realize how big it could be and also seeing everyone else do their stuff made me get more of a sense of what the movie was going to feel like. So that was really helpful.
AK: I wasn’t aware of the comics. I’m not aware of most things that are cool until somebody else tells me to read them. So no, but I think the great thing about the comics is how expressive Bryan’s artwork is. There’s a panel in the books that Edgar had on set for our phone call that sort of summed up their (Stacy and Scott Pilgrim) entire relationship. Just Stacy’s kind of judgmental face and Scott’s embarrassed face. So that helped a lot.
Are there any comedians/actors/actresses that you look up to, mimic, borrow from?
AK: I want to be more like Louis C.K., just all the time in my life.
MC: He’s pretty awesome. I like Garry Shandling a lot and Leslie Neilsen. I was watching a lot of Police Squad while we were filming (laughs) and Bill Murray.
One of your earliest movie roles was in Frequency and in one scene you were busy playing a video game…
MC: Right! But not really playing it, it was a pre-recorded thing which was really simple. (laughs) They had this video game setup and I had to just sit there and pretend to be playing it all day.
AK: You didn’t ever get to play?
MC: No, it was a video loop so that they could match it.
AK: Boo! (laughs)
What’s new about the characters that you’re playing in terms of your career? What have you never done before and what did you bring to the character?
AK: I think Michael does tons of stuff in this that he’s never done before. I was saying in the commentary, we recorded the DVD commentary yesterday, I think Michael is charming in a way that I have never seen before.
MC: Thank you very much. So are you.
AK: I’m me, I’m playing me in this movie. (laughs)
MC: It’s like a scene from the movie. (laughs)
MC: It’s really hard to say really, I felt like every moment was a crafted thing by Edgar. Every moment was so thought out that you kind of found it all in rehearsal and then went and did it. We found a way that worked and then we tried to do that. So, it’s hard to tell really. My physique maybe (laughs)
AK: The moment that makes me laugh so much is when you say, “what if I want the satisfaction?”, what was that? (laughs) Was that you, was it him?
MC: (laughs) I really don’t remember.
AK: My god, I just want to laugh at you right now. (laughs) I’ve seen it so many times and that part still makes me laugh. (laughs)
Was there anything in the final version that blew you away that you had no idea was going to be in there?
AK: I thought the swords looked so much better than I imagined, you kind of see the mock up sword, but I was so impressed. In my head, a flaming sword looked like a faded tattoo on the back of a guy’s butt or something, I just could not picture it. They look really great.
AK: If you think of a flaming sword you think, that’s stupid, that’s going to look so stupid and it looks really cool.
MC: Yeah, I know. I can’t think of anything I didn’t think was going to be in there.
Maybe the Seinfeld sounds…
MC: That’s right. (laughs) I think he mentioned that on set now that you mention it. I think he jokingly mentioned it on set and then actually did it.
AK: Kieran was saying at one point, “No, you have to pause for the laugh track” and I was like, oh you’re serious! (laughs)
MC: Edgar was doing the laugh track on set.
AK: Oh really?
MC: Yeah, in between lines he would clap and laugh.
AK: No way!
Please stay tuned for part two of this interview with director Edgar Wright and actor Brandon Routh.
Scott Pilgrim vs. The World will be unleashed in theaters August 13th.
Welcome to the latest episode of our official podcast, The Film Stage Show. This week, Danny King, Amanda Waltz, and I discuss Don Hertzfeldt’s new short film World of Tomorrow, which will be released on March 31st on VOD (or stream below). Then we dive into a feature review of David Robert Mitchell‘s horror film It Follows, which […]
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