Edgar Wright interview – Spaced writer/director

Dom Robinson interviewsEdgar Wright
Spaced Series 2The following is an interview with Edgar Wright,director of the successful Channel 4 comedy, Spaced.

A review of the DVD is online and linked below. It is available nowfor £19.99.

  • 1. Who are you?
      My name is Edgar Wright, I am 27 years of age and was brought up in thewilds of Somerset.
  • 2. What made you get involved with Spaced and how long had you knownSimon Pegg or any other principal cast members before Spaced began filming.
      I got involved with Spaced, because I had worked with Simon and Jessicasix years ago on a programme called ‘Asylum’. This was a little-seenblack comedy on the Paramount Comedy Channel about a psychological experimentgone awry. Although the content was completely different, the visual stylewas similar to what Spaced would become. Simon and Jessica were so greattogether in the show, that it was suggested that they develop a show togetherand all credit to them, they wanted me involved from day one.

      This meant that I got to read the project from the infancy of its first drafts.Plus, the great thing about having worked with Simon and Jessica before wasthat, when we finally got to shoot the series, we hit the ground running.

  • Edgar Wright

  • 3. What is favourite recollection of working with the cast on Spaced?
      My favourite memory of the show was probably the repartee with the cast. Bothseries were extraordinarily ambitious, so it was great to have a group ofactors who will all go above and beyond the call of duty to make the show work.

      Also Nick Frost, who plays Mike, is possibly one of the funniest mofos I know.

  • 4. How did you first get started in this industry?
      I got started in this industry as a teenager in some respects. By a series offlukes and happy accidents, I’ve been lucky enough to go straight intodirecting since college. I spent the best part of my school and college years,making shorts and mini-epics on Super 8 and video. I would shoot, edit, directand produce these films starring my schoolfriends, then show them locally andsell them on video. They were usually action spoofs or Westerns.

      The culmination of all this was a no-budget 16mm film I made in my home towncalled ‘A Fistful Of Fingers’. It was a Somerset-set western, starredall my school friends and was very, very silly. Can’t say that it set theworld alight, but it did bring me to London and get me signed on at a Londonagency.

      I also got my first proper television job, as Matt Lucas and David Walliams(of Rock Profiles fame) asked me to do their first sketch show on cable.

  • 5. Which has been your favourite TV/film-making experience and why?
      My favourite TV experience has been Spaced. It was very tough and had apretty low budget considering, but in some respects it allowed my imaginationto run riot. I’ve never directed another show which has let me indulge quiteso many boyhood dreams. I have been utterly spoilt by the show!

  • Edgar Wright

  • 6. How much were you involved with the supplemental material that appearson the DVD?
      I was very involved in the DVD of the series. We had many, many ideas aboutwhat we wanted on the disc, being big fans of the format. In some respectsthis informed the editing of the second series. Cutting a nice joke or majorsequence didn’t feel quite so bad knowing that it could see the light of dayas a ‘Deleted Scene’.

      For the second series, I personally spooled through 3 days of rushes to findall the out-takes, created the entire homage-o-meter and commissioned the newartwork and new music.

      Also me, Simon and Jess wrote the biographies, which is always fun. In total,the second disc took almost a year to create and it’s a testament to theenthusiasm of VCI and Pavement (the menu designers) that it looks as good asit does.

  • 7. One thing I’m pleased about is that Spaced will be uncut and uninterrupted.What did you think of Channel 4’s treatment of the second series (eg. squashingup end credits, talking over them and in the closing Empire Strikes Backspoof, the continuity announcer annoying everyone by trying to impersonateYoda over the top!?)
      It was pretty annoying. I had the credits being squashed and the continuityguy talking over them. However in some ways, it was our own fault as thelatter episodes of the second series were very overlong. On a commercialstation, it’s frowned upon, especially at 9:30 on a Friday!

      We had to slightly concede that the continuity guy was going to waffle allover the end of the Empire Strikes Back ending to Episode 6.

  • 8. Is there any chance of a third series of Spaced?
      One would hope so. It’s an all consuming enterprise Spaced and we allneeded a rest after series two. However, I would not rule out wanting to do athird and make it the biggest and best.
  • Interview copyright © Dominic Robinson, 2002

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