Shaun of the Dead Making Of Book Excerpt: San Diego Comic-Con

Simon Pegg leads the cast of Shaun of the Dead on a walk outside.

The solid of Shaun of the DeadPicture: Focus Features

It’s type of mind-blowing to consider simply how a lot of an influence the 2004 movie Shaun of the Dead had on fashionable movie historical past. To begin, although the trio had labored collectively earlier than on a present referred to as Spaced, the movie, for the most half, launched us to director Edgar Wright and actors Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. Wright has gone on to make some of the most enjoyable, revolutionary movies of his era like Scott Pilgrim vs. The World and Baby Driver.

Pegg and Frost have appeared, each collectively and individually, in so vastly fashionable motion pictures and exhibits, it might be foolish to even start to listing them (Star Trek, Attack the Block, and so forth.) The movie additionally was adopted by two equally beloved pseudo sequels, Hot Fuzz and The World’s End, whereas immediately setting the bar for style mashups transferring forward. But none of that will have occurred with out a little assist from their associates and San Diego Comic-Con.


io9 is vastly excited to supply an unique excerpt from the new guide You’ve Got Red On You by Clark Collis, which is out there now. Collis works at Entertainment Weekly and spoke to not simply Wright, Pegg and Frost, however about 60 different folks too to dive into each side of Shaun’s origins, creation, and reception. In this excerpt, Collis writes about how the movie neighborhood at giant, and an occasion at San Diego Comic-Con, set the stage for all the things to come back.

“One of the most surprising, and delightful, things I learned while writing You’ve Got Red on You was how much support this very British film received from American filmmakers in the lead up to its September 2004 release in the US,” Collis informed io9 by way of e-mail. “Zombie king George A. Romero gave Shaun an early thumbs-up and provided a quote for the movie’s poster, as did Robert Rodriguez, Sam Raimi, and Quentin Tarantino, who hosted a screening of the film at his house. Meanwhile, make-up effects legend and future Walking Dead executive producer Greg Nicotero and Hostel director Eli Roth were on hand at the 2004 San Diego Comic Con to lend their support to the movie, as revealed in the excerpt below.”


The book itself, front and back.


You’ve Got Red On You by Clark CollisPicture: 1984 Publishing

The most essential cease on the Shaun of the Dead promotional tour was San Diego, the place the metropolis’s annual Comic-Con was held on the weekend of 22-25 July. In the last few years, main studios had begun to totally notice the showcase potential of the occasion. A number of upcoming releases had a presence at the 2004 Comic-Con, together with Batman Begins, Alien vs. Predator, Robert Rodriguez’s Sin City, and Exorcist: The Beginning. Focus Features, which was distributing Shaun, had organized for star Simon Pegg and director Edgar Wright to attend Comic-Con and seem on a Shaun of the Dead panel. “That was my first Comic-Con,” says Pegg. “We’d never seen anything like it. I remember going out into the main hall and being like, ‘Holy crap, this is Mecca for nerds.’ We did signings, and people came and got autographs and stuff. I met Carrie Fisher. She was doing a signing, so I lined up and talked to her, and that was amazing.”

Focus had determined to display screen the film in its entirety at Comic-Con, an uncommon technique for a significant studio launch. “Comic-Con was a big part of our launch,” says then-Focus publicity chief Adriene Bowles. “We knew that going there would be challenging without star power. We were [originally] only going to screen once, and we ended up adding two more showings. It was really important to Edgar that we not turn anyone away, so we kept adding screenings. It was extraordinary, given that we were coming in as an unknown quantity. They were packed houses, and it just played through the roof.” Wright remembers the Comic-Con screenings as being a spotlight of the complete Shaun of the Dead expertise. “The film just absolutely killed at Comic-Con,” he says. “It is that funny thing that Americans are much more uninhibited in terms of laughing. I remember me and Simon standing at the side after doing our intro, looking at each other like, fucking hell, they’re really loving it. It got a rapturous reception every night.” At one of the screenings, an ebullient Wright even indulged in slightly prop comedy. “Outside, in the multiplex, was a massive cardboard cross promoting the Exorcist prequel,” says the director. “For one of the Q&As, I came in with the Exorcist cross, which was massive, like 12 feet tall. There were just a lot of hijinks.”

Greg Nicotero attended a screening with Dawn of the Dead star Ken Foree, after whom Pegg and Wright had named Shaun’s office, Foree Electric. Nicotero was delighted to fulfill the pair of Brits, and profusely apologised for by chance shopping for an unauthorized DVD of their movie. “I said, ‘Listen, guys, I love the movie,’” says Nicotero. “‘I thought it was funny, it was brilliant, I talked to George about it, but I’m a little embarrassed to tell you that I did not realise that the movie was not officially available on DVD.’ They were like, ‘Ah, don’t worry about it.’ I told the guys, ‘Anything that you ever need me to do to help promote the movie, [I’ll do it].’”


Pegg and Wright have been shepherded round Comic-Con by publicist Jeff Walker. “We hit it off immediately,” Walker says. “We introduced them to the whole world of Comic-Con, and vice versa. This was a love affair between the fans and filmmakers like I had never seen.” The Shaun of the Dead panel was moderated by Walker and befell at 12.30 p.m. on the Sunday. “By the time we had the film, the schedule for Comic-Con that year was already full, and the only way we could get them in was on a Sunday,” Walker explains. “Sunday wasn’t traditionally a very big panel day at Comic-Con, but we had a very good crowd.” The panel was an sometimes rambunctious affair. At one level, Wright and Pegg have been heckled by an viewers member who complained that their movie was “a total rip-off of Dawn of the Dead.” The heckler was, in actual fact, Wright’s chum Eli Roth, the 32-year-old writer-director of the ugly 2003 horror hit Cabin Fever, a few group of associates who contract a flesh-eating virus.

Wright had met Roth in February at London’s Empire Awards, an annual occasion hosted by the eponymous film journal, the place the American filmmaker was nominated in the Best Newcomer class. “I just really loved him,” says Roth of Wright. “We got each other straight away.” Wright had reconnected with Roth in May throughout to a visit to Los Angeles, and the pair attended the Saturn Awards, which rejoice science fiction, fantasy, and horror motion pictures. “I took Edgar as my date,” says Roth. “I hadn’t seen his movie, but I took him on the red carpet, and I was like, ‘He’s made the most brilliant new film, it’s called Shaun of the Dead.’ Edgar was just laughing. He’s like, ‘You haven’t seen the movie!’ I was like, ‘Well, now you’d better show me the movie, and it had better be good.’”

Roth lastly caught up along with his new pal’s movie at a screening arrange by the Cabin Fever director’s company, CAA. “I loved it,” he says. “Edgar and Simon are so funny and so smart. You can’t discount Peter Serafinowicz, who’s a genius. He’s never mentioned in the mix, but he’s really a major ingredient with that team. The cast was so good in that movie. You think about the comedy genius of Pegg, Frost, Serafinowicz, and Edgar, and then you throw in everybody else. Lucy Davis. Bill Nighy.” Roth was significantly taken by the movie’s conclusion, when Shaun visits the zombified Ed in the shed to play video video games. “It was sweet, you got emotional,” says the director. “It felt like this is what Gen X-ers would do if there was a full-on zombie attack. You’d keep your roommate chained up playing video games. Of course. Why wouldn’t you? Now you’ve got someone to play games with. It was brilliant.”

Let me inform you, the first time I noticed Shaun of the Dead was at this very San Diego Comic-Con. And that viewers, which I used to be an element of, had no thought what they have been in for. The movie was so contemporary, so enjoyable, so surprisingly emotional, it immediately felt prefer it turned everybody’s favourite film. I do know I left San Diego that 12 months raving about it to all my associates. I’m positive many others did too. And the relaxation was historical past.

Read extra in Clark Collis’ You’ve Got Red On You, which is now out there.

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