You know Simon Pegg. He's one of Hollywood's favourite Brits, able to switch between starring in his own self-written and produced projects and scene-stealing performances in blockbuster franchises like Mission: Impossible and Star Trek.
He's just finished shooting his latest film The World's End with director and writing partner Edgar Wright.
So tell us...
Q: What gave you the most creative juice: highest high or deepest low?
A lot of my early creative output was the result of a break up with a long term girlfriend. Spaced was the result of it to some degree and some of my best jokes as a stand up comic grew out of the ironies of spurned love. Contentment does tend to be the enemy of creation.
Having said that, Shiny Happy People is one of Michael Stipe's best songs and I doubt he was miserable when he wrote that.
Q: Most actors are happy to work with other people's material - what drives you to keep writing and producing your own films?
Being an actor/writer working with a director/writer is my ideal situation - the original idea remains protected right through the creative process and the finished product is as close it can possibly be to the initial idea. For me, that's the best way to work.
Autonomy is great. It enables you to control every facet of the creative process. The more people there are involved in the creative process, the less focus it will invariably have, unless everyone is on the same page, which is rare.
Q: In your autobiography Nerd Do Well you've created a parallel fictional story - any plans to write a novel?
Yes! That's exactly what I hope to do next. I loved writing the fiction part of my biography, much more than the biographical stuff. The personal stuff had to be drawn out, whereas my adventures with my robotic butler, Canterbury, fell out of my brain with comparative ease. I'm really looking forward to expanding that universe. It's so much fun writing bad prose.
Q: You've just finished principal photography on your latest film The World's End - part of a trilogy with your earlier films Shaun Of The Dead and Hot Fuzz. What is it that links these three stories together?
I think some people assume that Edgar Wright and I make film parodies, when this couldn't be further than the truth. We make comedies and both love genre cinema but neither Shaun of the Dead or Hot Fuzz are parodies. The World's End isn't a send up in any way, in fact, we've gone out of our way not to populate the film with references to other movies, in order to avoid that label.
The theme that will bind the three films together is not parody or even ice cream, it's a preoccupation with the struggle of the individual against the collective. Shaun vs. zombies, Angel vs. the NWA, Gary King vs. (???).
Thematically, it will all make sense when the three films can be viewed consecutively. This sounds lofty but they form a dialectic sequence, which I hope film students will write essays about. Shaun of the Dead = evolution, Hot Fuzz = devolution, World's End = revolution. Jesus, you can take the boy out of Bristol University drama department...