Thursday, February 22, 2007

You've Got Red On You.

It's been over six months since the last addition to my Husband List (tm). I'm happy to announce a new member. Lucky number 14. This gentleman has been on my radar for years, but I didn't hesitate once it dawned on me that he should be included.

Or should I say, "Shauned" on me? No, I shouldn't. That's lame.

Anyhow, Mr. Simon Pegg, the fourth Briton on my list, is, surprisingly, my first redhead. I have always had a thing for redheads, going back to third grade and Nick MacAvoy (what ever happened to him?), so it's funny that he's the first ginger I've included. I suppose the ginger-to-non-ginger ratio of celebrities is fairly represented on my list.

[Post Script: After listening to the commentary for Shaun of the Dead, I am told by Mr. Sweet #14 that he is not, in fact, a ginger, but a brunette. He says they tried to make him a little blond to play Shaun but it turned out reddish. Now, all the other places I've seen him, he still looks quite ginger to me, but surely he knows best. (March 3rd, 2007)]

Simon first caught my attention in trailers for Shaun of the Dead (2004), and then, after I raced out to see it the day it opened, I was hooked. I bought the DVD as soon as I could, and my Hamilton roomie, Jeremy, and I watched it several times. Or maybe I watched it several times and he glanced at it on the way back-and-forth to the kitchen. In Shaun, Pegg's titular character is a ne'er-do-well slacker cum action hero/zombie killer. Never had a cricket bat been so sexy.

I think Simon first worked with Shaun of the Dead co-writer and director Edgar Wright on the TV show "Spaced." In it, Simon plays Tim, an aspiring graphic artist slash ne'er-do-well slacker cum... well, no he doesn't develop at all. That's the point. He goes on pogey after losing his job at a comic book store. For yelling at a child. Because the kid asks for Jar Jar Binks merchandise. Tim is a Star Wars purist, and George Lucas broke his heart with The Phantom Menace (1999). Edgar Wright directed this frenetic show, with Jessica Stevenson as his flatmate and Nick Frost plays his gun-crazy teddy-bear best friend.

The four hooked up again in Shaun, and again soon in Hot Fuzz (2007) (minus Stevenson, who, I see, is involved in the next HP movie!). I think the creators, like in Shaun, are basically acting out fantasies. Pegg has said he used to lie in bed and think about what he'd do in a zombie attack. Now, in Hot Fuzz, Pegg and his best mate will be armed to the teeth with cartoonishly large guns, tools which are incredibly rare in England.

Simon studied theatre, film, and television, and while one might quickly dismiss him as an actor because of the silly air of the roles, he brings a lovely sensitivity to his characters. He gives us little glances let you know that his characters are far more complex than other actors might choose to portray them. He's willing to look like a dick and play weak characters who redeem themselves by the end of the work, if not for their actions, for their earnest transparency.

Both he and Wright have a strong respect for those who have gone before them, as we can see in the way other classic movies are heavily imitated. Without seeing Shaun or "Spaced," this imitation could be mistaken for laziness (c.f. Scary Movie (2000) et al., Date Movie (2006)), but when you see the work, there is so much loving care taken to pay homage to these classic movies (The Shining (1980), The Matrix (1999), and One Flew Over The Cuckcoo's Nest (1975), to name a very few, and, of course, every zombie movie ever made), there is no doubt of the creators' admiration.

I've begun a letter-writing campaign to get "Spaced" released on Region 1 DVD, so we can watch it on our DVD players. I might just get a region-free DVD player when I buy my next one, so I don't have to fart around with crappy pirate copies on-line. If anyone else want to help in my campaign, let me know. A stamp to the UK is only $1.55, so for all the happiness it might bring me, it's a small price to pay. Right?

Here, as a bonus and testament to him being a slice of fried gold, are Simon and his best friend Nick imitating the infamous hard man photo (below) of Vinny Jones. Yellow card, indeed!

(Havin' a larf.)


Anonymous said...

Liz: Goodbye, Ed. Love you.

Ed: Cheers!

Shaun: I love you too, Ed.

Ed: Gaaayy!


Catherine said...

Lisa made a good observation: Isn't Conan O'Brien a readhead/on the Husband List? The answer is no. He used to be on a prototype for the current list, but for a few reasons, he is no longer.

jamon said...

"Run Fat Boy Run" will be out soon (in the UK at least) and stars your new Beau. It looks pretty funny too.

According to IMDB it's directed by David Schwimmer nay less.

Catherine said...

Yeah - saw an interview with Pegg, Schwimmer on Jonathan Ross, and they didn't say anything about the story. I read on imdb that Simon lost 2 stone for "Hot Fuzz," so he must have been quite pokey for "Fat Boy." IMDB is nicely obscure when it lists 2007 for "USA." Usually there are so many more dates and places! (Canada and the US usally have the same release dates, so i'm not too worried, but I'd like to see it nonetheless.)