CCI: Spaced

Friday was "Star Wars" day at Comic-Con International in San Diego, and the "Spaced" team put together a special series of clips just for the occasion. Lead actors Simon Pegg and Jessica Hynes, along with director Edgar Wright, were on hand to take questions from Moderator Moriarty ("Ain't It Cool News") and the audience, while offering insight into the making of the show and new developments since it's release here in the States.

The clip reel portrayed just about every "Star Wars" themed scene from "Spaced" that you could imagine: Tim burning his "Star Wars" toys; Lingering depression a full eighteen months after the release of "The Phantom Menace"; Chewing out a child for trying to buy a Jar Jar Binks figure, complete with a rant that "he wasn't there when it started!"; a further rant that Jar Jar Binks makes the Ewoks look like "F'ing Shaft!" and a recreation of the final "Empire Strikes Back" scene where Lando and Chewie fly off after the captured friend, all to the music of John Williams.

Moriarty introduced the new DVD release for the U.S., with special audio commentary from "some of the best of America's Geeks," or so said Edgar Wright. The "geeks" in question are Diablo Cody, Bill Hader, Patton Oswalt, Quentin Tarentino, Matt Stone, and Kevin Smith.

Wright described some of the process of creating the commentaries, "We did nine in one day, Kevin Smith, Diablo, Matt Stone, Quentin, all in one day. One of the weirdest things is that there is an episode in the second series that has a 'Pulp Fiction' scene done shot for shot, and to have Quentin on the commentary for that scene was quite a trip."

Moriarty asked the panelists about the "geek" overtone to the show, "How much was a conscious decision to do a show about those sorts of [geek] things?"

Simon Pegg explained that it wasn't really a conscious decision to take on that tone, but that they "had a feeling there were others out there like us. I just like the idea of speaking on a very personal level through writing, and I really enjoy connecting with things and feeling spoken to and I wanted to replicate that."

Hynes agreed, saying "The authenticity of the world is something that we wanted to make - that was the major thing that made it unique and truthful for the audience. You're writing about your own experiences, your own life, your own world."

Wright is still amazed at the popularity of the show. "I think the thing that kind of resonates with fans is that they can sympathize with Tim and Daisy. 'I know someone like that,' or 'I am that person.' At the time that we made it, we were those people. We were all living those lives, and so much came from personal experience and [was] shot where we all lived."

Moriarty speculated about what would have happened had the show originated in America, concluding that "It would have been market researched before they ever shot an episode and they would have worked very hard to sort of homogenize it out."

Wright spoke at some length on the subject of BBC oversight. "We had no kind of scrutiny or interference whatsoever, I think, because of the low budget of the show. We never had any conversations about the content of the show. The only thing we were ever told is that we were only allowed to say the F-word twice. We look back on it now and know how lucky we are. You'd never be able to make that kind of show here in America."

After some quick joking about the attempt, and failure, to replicate the show in the U.S., Moriarty brought the conversation back to Matt Stone's commentary about casual drug use in the show. Pegg said that "In America, you have to add some sort of morale message or some sort of punitive outcome. We wanted to just show a slice of life and show how it was without any comment on it either way. Tim would spark up a joint and it just wouldn't be mentioned and it was just something Tim would do...every day."

Moriarty asked about the wealth of actors within the show, commenting that it was "sort of a junction point for a lot of people to meet and then go off in many different directions."

"We did used to say that it had a lot of actors from other shows...it was like a Marvel/DC crossover title...we had the best of the current generation of actors doing guest spots."

On what is left to do with the "Spaced" series now, eight years after the series has ended and with the release of the DVD in the U.S., Pegg said "We don't know. We definitely had a story arc for a third season. If you see the end of the DVD there is a little Tim and Daisy special. I'm so old now, you know, Tim was like, 27?"

Wright said he would be worried about the prospect of going back ten years later, that it could turn out "to be our own 'Phantom Menace.'"

"We were thinking of doing a new series entirely with CGI, flat dialogue, and unfunny comedy sketches..." joked Pegg.

On whether there really were any plans to do additional television work, even outside of "Spaced," Pegg explained "I don't know, we're kinda happy doing films at the moment. Film is more eternal, TV is very ephemeral. Back when we did 'Spaced,' it would be on and it would be gone, and we decided to work in a medium things would be around forever. But who knows. Never say never, so who knows."

Concerning other potential projects, one fan asked Pegg if he would be willing to take over the mantel of Doctorr Who. "I think that's a hell of a thing to take on. David's doing a hell of a job he's the best Doctor since Baker. It would be nice to sort of dip in, play a bad guy, and dip out again."

On the status of "Ant Man," Wright said "It's being written...and it is happening...and that's all I'll say"

And finally, regarding international releases, the panel confirmed it will be released in Canada, as well as Japan and Australia.

Now discuss this story in CBR's TV/Film forum.

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