Simon Pegg

Simon Pegg

© Dick Thomas Johnson from Tokyo, Japan/CC BY-SA 2.0

The one concession Shaun Of The Dead made for Americans

Simon Pegg reveals he tweaked one line in the script

comedyShaun Of The Dead is a quintessentially British horror-comedy but Simon Pegg has revealed he and director Edgar Wright  made one concession to to American audiences.

In a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter, the star said the 2004 film’s success was a ‘vindication of our intentions. which was to make a film that was exactly that: very, very British. We didn’t make any concessions to sort of transatlantic-ism’. 

He added: ‘A lot of the British rom-coms would do that. I remember watching Notting Hill, which is a film which I absolutely love, by the way. It’s such a great movie. But it starts out — aside from all the whiteness of Notting Hill, which was a bit embarrassing — but the first scene, it winds up on a stained glass window of Beavis and Butt-Head.

‘We wanted to make a film that was culturally specific.’

He also admitted ‘we never even thought that it would get a release in America’ – which might have helped the decision.

However, he recalls that in the writing room he and Wright discussed the scene when his character Shaun, and his flatmate Ed, played by Nick Frost) encounter their first zombie – Nicola Cunningham's Mary, above – in their garden.

‘You expect Shaun to say, "Oh my God, it’s a zombie",’ Pegg said. ‘And Shaun says, "Oh, she’s so drunk."

‘Initially, in the script it said, "Oh my God, she’s pissed." And in America, pissed means annoyed. I remember saying, "You know what, if people see this in America, they’re not going to get that joke, and the joke is paramount to Edgar and I." 

So to avoid confusion, they changed the word to ‘drunk’.

He also said that he and Wright would be ‘incensed’ if Universal Pictures, which owned the rights, rebooted the film.

When asked why, Pegg expanded: 'Shaun of the Dead is incredibly personal. There’s so much of us in that film. The whole joke of Ed and Shaun not being able to ever come out of The Winchester  [pub] was real. That was about Nick and I, that was about our decision to just stay in a North London pub.’

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Published: 8 Jul 2024

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