Fans of Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz can rest assured that The World’s End will see Simon Pegg and Nick Frost thrown into the middle of some fantastic fight sequences that they have christened “Pub fu.”
As their characters get further along the pub crawl, they’re thrown into increasingly elaborate and brutal confrontations, choreographed by the great Brad Allen, who worked with Edgar Wright on Scott Pilgrim vs The World.
“It was fantastic,” Nick Frost tells us. “We got to work with Brad Allen who works with Jackie Chan, so you have the potential chance to impress someone who’s impressed with Jackie Chan.
“And he’s quite a serious man, Brad Allen. He loves his business and he knows his business and he kind of stands and watches. He’s that kind of quiet bloke; you think ‘What’s the deal here with this guy?’ but he would murder you! He’s a big ball of muscle. And any time that you’d see him laughing at the monitors at something you did or watch playback and he’d say ‘That’s great!’ you’d feel amazing!”
The actors worked for four weeks with Allen and his stunt team preparing the fight sequences, which Wright told the team that he wanted to film with as few cuts as possible.
“The fights are filmed very specifically,” Pegg explains. “They’re filmed in one continuous shot almost. It was great, every time we finished a take we’d go in and go back and we’d watch one minute, then three minutes, then five mintues, then eight minutes of fighting, it was amazing.”
“Those guys are so good,” Frost enthuses. “We’d come in and [Allen] would have his laptop up and he’d press play and say ‘This is what we’d like you to do today’ and it was essentially the finished fight, but just him and his guys in the rehearsal room with boxes and bits of cardboard and that’s what we’d work towards. And the thing for us, because we like to get involved, we’d say ‘Why can’t we try this?’ and he’d say ‘That’s great, that’s great, let’s try and get that.’ And then we’d go away and that would then be in the next day.”
While The Wold’s End featues fewer pop references than their previous films, Pegg tells us that one inspiration was the Gene Kelly musical It’s Always Fair Weather.
“Those [fight] sequences are our dance numbers and they are very choreographed. And we did it with Brad, who invented this pub fu thing, and it is stylised and it’s not like a real pub fight, but it felt like in some respects that’s what the film was like, there’s a musical number in The Mermaid, it stops for a dance.”
However, even choreographed pub fights take their toll and the pair tell us that there were some bumps and bruises. “A lot of brain cells died,” laughs Pegg.
“The thing that I found doing the pub fu with the bar stools is that, if you’re having a fight normally, with fists, on camera you can cheat it a lot by where you put the camera and how you sell the punch,” Frost tells us. “But these things, you couldn’t do it because there was just too much of a gap and you’d pick it up. So I kind of had to hit those men a lot for two days for eight or nine hours a day. And some were really old, grizzled, Hungarian stuntment but there were a couple…little Mark, he was only 19! And there were a couple of times I caught them, quite hard.
“Because I’m still a big man who can throw a punch…they had to be helped up a lot. I think there were two or three times when we shot it and you could see that, instead of hitting them, I was kind of putting it on them and pushing them off with it, and it was that odd thing were the stuntman was saying ‘No, no, no, you can do it, it’s fine!’
“I think they get paid by the nosebleed!”
The World’s End is released on 19 July.