Actors, Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World
By Norman Wilner

A week into the promotional tour for Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World, director Edgar Wright may be as energetic and animated as ever, but the travel is taking its toll on the movie’s cast.

The morning after the gala cast-and-crew screening in Toronto, co-stars Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Kieran Culkin are too sick to participate in Universal’s press day, so I end up sequestered in a private room in the Hazleton Hotel’s restaurant with Anna Kendrick, Brandon Routh and Jason Schwartzman, who play Scott’s sister Stacey and Ramona’s evil exes Todd Ingram and Gideon Graves respectively. There are worse ways to spend a morning.

So how’d you all get involved with the project?

SCHWARTZMAN: I had met Edgar personally a year before I was involved in the movie. He had mentioned that he was working on these things, so I went and got ’em because I respect him – anything he’s interested in, I’m interested in.

He’s great that way. He’s like a collector of enthusiasms.

KENDRICK: I do feel collected.

ROUTH: He’s a collector. He’s gonna serial-kill us. [laughs]

SCHWARTZMAN: He loves people. Edgar is hands-down one of the most enthusiastic humans I’ve ever met in my life, and he loves to spread the word. He’s like… you know how websites have links? He has them built into his body, and he will turn you on to so many things. He’s like, “Oh, you’ve got to see this movie!” Or “Hear this record!” Or “See this show!” He’s got so many things he wants to share with you.

Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World has a lot of digital effects. Does the finished film resemble what you had in your minds on the set?

ROUTH: Well, I can only speak for the part that I filmed, because I had no idea how everything else would turn out. It was pretty close to what I expected. It was cut even tighter, which made it better. I didn’t really realize how glowy my eyes were going to be, so that was shocking when I saw that in the trailer the first time. But overall, I’m extremely happy with my portion of the thing, and the movie as a whole.  I already had really high expectations, and it met and exceeded them. It was just awesome.

SCHWARZMAN: I’m not gonna name names, but I’ve read articles about where actors are doing big CG movies and they have no idea what’s gonna happen, but I feel like we were as informed as we could possibly be. We had Edgar speaking to us, and we had panels of reference, and I know, at least for my fight scene, two stuntmen dressed like Michael and me had done the fight, and it was filmed on a DV camera. And Edgar showed it to us before we even started the fight. He actually had an on-set editor shooting the stuff, and then taking those moments with Michael and me and plugging them into the more crude version, so we would see ourselves fight, and then it would cut to the stunt guys and back to Michael and me, and he’d say, “Okay, now we need to plug this in….” It was a great way to work.

Anna, you’re associated with the Twilight films….

KENDRICK: I have been associated with Twilight. Sorry. Sorry. For some reason I am associated with those films.

ROUTH: You were in those, right?

KENDRICK: I’m associated with them. No. Yes, I’m sorry, I’m just totally punch-drunk right now.

SCHWARZMAN: Who hit you? Who fuckin’ hit you, Anna? [laughter]

KENDRICK: It’s just funny that people phrase it in that way. And it’s like, “Yes, I am associated with those films.”

Well, those movies have a fairly intense fan base, and the Scott Pilgrim books have their own cult. And then there’s your Oscar nomination for Up In The Air last year. So you’re navigating three different sets of fans. That’s got to be… interesting.

KENDRICK: Yeah. I think the nice thing about Scott Pilgrim is people seem more interested in the source material than anything else. The people that I interacted with at Comic-Con had really specific questions or comments about scenes from the movie or the books, asking, like, “Oh, was this a reference to this thing in Volume 3?” That was really cool. Whereas some other people just ask what it’s like to work with Rob [Pattinson] or George [Clooney]. That’s not always the case in those things, but this is nice because people don’t just ask me what it’s like to work with Michael Cera in this.

ROUTH: They want to make sure Hollywood doesn’t screw it up. And they didn’t.

Is there anything you guys are looking forward to doing next?

SCHWARTZMAN: We’re all writing various things.

ROUTH: I’ve got something in my head. I’d love to do more comedy. That’s the truth, and that’s what I was happy about – excited to be doing this movie, because it’ll put that out there, that maybe I can do it.

SCHWARTZMAN: I would like to meet Leonardo DiCaprio. That’s a hard-working actor, I think. I saw Inception, and the whole time I was just thinking, “This is a lot of work.” I think he really works hard, that guy. But then you always see him at basketball games and stuff, or on the beach, he’s got his hat on, he’s throwing a football around – I’m like, when is he doing these movies? He’s so relaxed in his normal life, and so intense in his movies… it seems like he’s got a good thing going.

KENDRICK: I’m nursing my heartache that I didn’t replace Shia LaBeouf in Transformers.

SCHWARTZMAN: Is he out? [laughs]

Interview Clip

Jason Schwartzman on Edgar Wright’s directorial style:

NOW | August 12-19, 2010 | VOL 29 NO 50