Cast chat about the bonus features found on the upcoming Blu-ray disc...
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Celebrating the release of Scott Pilgrim vs The World on home video November 9th, select press were invited to join director Edgar Wright, actors Michael Cera and Mary Elizabeth Winstead, and writer Bryan O'Malley for a unique look at many of the bonus features found on the Blu-ray disc.
Below are select highlights from the discussions held at the Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood last week:
Edgar Wright: This was shot in the summer of 2008 and it was the first thing we ever shot. It was basically a way of showing to the studio. At this point we already had storyboards, we had the script, but it was to answer the question of what this film was going to look like. So we made this 2-minute test with a lot of the crew, and everyone worked on it for nothing. It stars two stuntmen who ended up being in the film so I find that amusing.
Moderator: So what did you learn from making this because it's amazingly close to the final result?
Edgar: It showed how much was going to go into it, especially the post-production because with a smaller crew we took about three months to finish it. You know, like a no-budget scale. It's great if you have ambitious ideas my collaborators are able to accomplish them.
EARLY AUDITION TAPES
Edgar: We didn't need to be sold on Kieran Culkin in terms of whether he could do it but I wanted to see him and Michael Cera together. We pretty much actually edited all of your scenes together and Ellen Wong as well. And there are some people that like, basically came in and read once and that was it. I had to make sure that all of the actors were cool with being on the Blu-ray but I think it's great because although the dates are on there and you can see how far back some of that casting is done, the film was in pre-production in some form for – well it was in development for five years but I think even Michael and Mary were first cast in 2007 and some of the other cast – well, to show you how far back it goes, Aubrey Plaza and Anna Kendrick, their casting both predate Twilight and Parks and Recreation and Funny People. So it's funny because the film took a year to make and a year to edit, most of the casting tends to go back to 2008 at least.
Moderator: We're also going to see Abigail Chu's audition which has the best ending to an audition ever.
Edgar: Best audition ever! That girl never played the drums before. She learned that bit.
Michael Cera: We trained for over a month or two months and it was incredible. I never felt more confident... maybe I have, but after we started shooting we stopped training so you can see us slowly fall apart.
Mary Elizabeth Winstead: I was kind of a mess. I developed tendonitis just from practicing so much with that hammer or I'd do so much choreography that my shoulder would pop out all the time, things like that. Then I had this completely freak spinal injury I got that had absolutely nothing to do with stunt work but I had to do the stuntwork through the injury and didn't know what was wrong with me until after we finished shooting. Definitely a lot of physical stuff that I was working through on the shoot but it was kinda cool because I feel way, way stronger now than I did before the film. It's kind of a unique experience.
BRINGING THE CHARACTERS TO LIFE
Bryan O'Malley: I can never put words to it; it's pretty much how I imagined it.
Edgar: You know it was something on the first draft of the script, we thought it was funny. Because Bryan would always have whispers of the songs in the books. And my idea of not showing the songs, something that you didn't see on the screen that was apparently awesome. Because you know these music bio-pic films with fictional bands in them, you hear someone say "That was the greatest song ever!" and it usually isn't. So it was a way of getting around that. And then once we started getting the tracks, you know... the Beck song, originally they were only going to play the intro and Patel was going to crash through the roof. When we heard it, it was this amazing song and to not put it in would be ridiculous. I think the songs started to expand like it was a musical and you have a little musical break and this movie has so much action it it's nice when it just stops for a song. It reminds me of old 60's and 70's films.
Michael Cera: It was so great playing those songs over and over. There was six songs I think so we just went over those endlessly and by the time it came to shoot it really felt like they were our songs. You know, because nobody else has heard them we had a lot of ownership over them. We knew how to play them and really liked them too – it was nice. We kind of found our group dynamic, and learned how to hang out with each other, hang out and eat, play the songs, it was great. It was a lot of fun.
Edgar: Playing the song longer at the opening came quite later. That was a late idea. Originally the credits were at the end and it felt that more of a prologue and worked better when we did that.
Edgar: There was a funny thing that wasn’t mentioned in the FX Breakdown is that a one of the extras went to the bathroom in the first bit but not in the second bit. And it wasn't until much later where we said "hang on, what's wrong with this shot?" This guy literally disappeared. So they had to digitally put this guy back in. This guy who went for a pee-break has no idea about the hours and hours of rendering that he caused. If I knew his name we would call him out!
Edgar: (On Knives meeting Scott on the bus.) Even though it was straight from the books, it ended up more dramatically pleasing to me to meet Ellen Wong at the door, to see her for her first shot.
CAPTURING THE BOOK
Bryan: In all the background shots, they would take out a lot of the names of businesses and stuff to make it look more like the comic book.
Edgar: When Bryan takes a photo of Toronto and draws it, he'll simplify it. And when you look at his artwork you'll see what's not there is all the satellites and crap and extra wires and things that aren't aesthetically pleasing. So we took real shots of Toronto and sort of just rubbed stuff out to make it look as nice and simple as what you would build from memory. Even the trees are sort of stripped down to look a bit more dried up.
Edgar: In the books there was the idea that smoking was evil and people who were bad smoked and even Ramona smokes. There is a deleted scene where it says Hitler smoked.
Bryan: It got deleted from the book and it got deleted from the film.
Edgar: Doubly-deleted dialogue. So there was an idea about having that thread in there and we had it in the script where we had some of the baddies smoke, and then we did a test of Chris Evans smoking. And with Major Studios films, especially PG-13, it's not a period specific film, they say that they can't smoke. Not even the baddies. And then we started shooting everything twice, doing a take with smoking and then doing a take without. And it was such a pain in the *** that I said "f!@# the cigarette joke." We haven't got time to do two versions of everything so my enthusiasm for the cigarette joke went out and I think it's good actually because there would just be too much going on.
ON WATCHING THEIR OWN WORK
Mary: I'm pretty good after the fact. When you see it for the first time, I usually cringe at everything and I get nervous or embarrassed at the premiere and stuff, but after that I just get really happy to watch it. Like, I'm so excited to get the Blu-ray and watch all the behind-the-scenes stuff because it feels like they're our home movies that we get to watch all over again and relive it. So there’s nothing about watching any of this stuff that would make me uncomfortable. I'm just excited to get to see pieces of my life on Blu-ray.
Michael: I feel the same way. When I watch this movie specifically, I remember everything about the day that we were doing certain scenes, it's really reliving the entire shoot and it was such an amazing time. So it's really nice watching the movie.
SCOTT PILGRIM VS THE WORLD releases on DVD and Blu-ray November 9, 2010 from Universal Studios Home Entertainment. Rated PG-13 for stylized violence, sexual content, language and drug references.
By David Yeh