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Home ¦ Features ¦ Edgar Wright

Edgar Wright - A 2000 AD Review InterviewPART 1
5th April 04

Interview by Gavin Hanly

If you live or work in London, it's been hard to miss the posters advertising the new romzomcom out on on April 9th. From the creators (and much of the cast) of Spaced comes the film that should show everyone how to make a proper zombie film (none of this "running" malarkey). 2000AD readers reacted with joy when we heard that the films creators Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg were producing an original strip for the comic, with Pegg in particular being well known as a huge 2000AD fan. We caught up with a very busy Edgar Wright to ask him a few questions about the adaptation.

How did the 2000AD strip come about and how does it link into the film? Did you ever consider a full blown adaptation of the film?

It was a suggestion from the 2000AD boys themselves. I think we'd shown our fanboy stripes in Spaced - with the use of Bisley, Jim Murray and Jason Brashill's artwork and even a brief appearance from Tharg (in the comicshop storeroom).

We dismissed the idea of a full adaptation - as the prog comes out before the film. Also writing a parallel story is much more fun. The great thing about zombie films is there is a million different stories in any crisis. Not just Shaun's.

Has the Shaun prequel given you a taste for writing comics? Can we expect any further comic strip outings?

It was fun. For Simon especially, writing the strip was a dream come true. I always fancied myself as a 2000AD artist but was not good enough.

It would be nice to do some more strips in the future. If this goes well, we can do another parallel story.

You've got loads of American coverage from pretty influential sites like Ain't it Cool. Are you looking forward to the US release? Are you afraid they won't get it or do you care?

We definitely made the film to appeal to a UK audience first and foremost. But having just come back from a screening with the legendary Harry Knowles, I can confirm that they do get it and loved it. Slackers and geeks are universal in their loves and concerns.

Are you into comics in general? Any favourite artists or writers that come to mind?

I used to be. Particularly in that late 80's period in the wake of The Dark Knight Returns. That and Killing Joke were much loved. Aside from that I was a real Marvel boy, used to buy everything (and still got them in little plastic bags too). I was a real early Todd MacFarlane fan. Not only his Spider-man period, but also his stint on the 'grey' Incredible Hulk with Peter David writing. Also a big Bernie Wrightson fan.

Do you still read 2000AD? If so, what do you think of it these days? Does it fill you with a nostalgia for your youth?

I don't read it as much as I should or used to, but I was a big 2000AD nut in the 80's . Used to read it in the late 80's to early 90's, around the period of Bisley's ABC warriors. I also used to devour the Megazine but also the Best Of 2000AD monthly, particular favourites being Strontium Dog. I liked to immerse myself in the older strips like Robo Hunter, the V.C.s and Nemesis. Artist wise I obviously had a big love for Brian Bolland and Simon Bisley but also Carlos Ezquerra and Mike McMahon.

If someone gave you the opportunity (i.e. budget/creative freedom etc) to make a 2000AD film would you be interested? Do you think there's room for more genre movies with a UK feel?

Yes, very much so. I always wanted to make a film out of the Strontium Dog story 'The Killing' - where Johnny and Wolf are on the planet full of bounty hunters. Like a Battle Royale before it's time. I don't see why there couldn't be a great UK genre film in the mould of Mad Max 2.

Simon seems to have taken the demise of Johnny Alpha fairly hard. Does playing him in the audio stories help him cope with the pain?

I think so. I don't know whether he wore a curly black wig in the recording booth or not though.

Will it ever be possible for a grown man to read a comic on the tube without getting disparaging looks from strangers?

I don't see why not. If grown men can read Harry Potter on the tube then it's all fine as far as I'm concerned. I read Heat on the bus - which is a guilty pleasure.

Should comics/horror/science fiction be more mainstream or would that just ruin it?

I think they should remain as left-field and quirky as possible. In this day and age, if anything, you need to be a bit more twisted to survive. As far as English comics go, I'm not sure the mainstream angle has ever troubled it.

And finally - what's next for you both? Are there any other film genres that you'd like to attack next?

Sci-fi, action, musicals. They are all good jumping off points into craziness. Have vague ideas for a sci-fi comedy, a cop horror and a car chase musical. Love to mix things up. Can't wait to start on the next one.

The Shaun of the Dead strip appears in prog 1384, and the film opens on April 9th all over the UK (US tbc). We order you to see it.

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Original content (c) 2002 Gavin Hanly (contact 2000AD Review).