For the actresses playing the women in Scott Pilgrim’s life – Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Ellen Wong – the film’s final fight became a two-month shoot that shifted their thinking about the film. As seen in one of the earliest publicity stills for Universal Studios’ “Scott Pilgrim vs. The World,” the climactic battle takes place upon a pyramid. “We started calling it ‘The Pyramid Movie’ and we were like, ‘Can you believe Chris Evans is in The Pyramid Movie? This is the same movie as the Chris Evans movie.’ It was kind of surreal being in that same place every day,” Winstead told CBR News.
“Yeah, it was a ‘Groundhog Day’ thing. You wake up, ‘Oh, you again.'” added Wong. “This was at the end. We’d been shooting for so long and here comes Jason [Schwartzman] all fresh-faced and like, ‘Hey guys, let’s do this.'”
It was also during this part of the shoot that Wong accidentally hit Winstead during the filming of the battle between Knives Chau (Wong) and Ramona Flowers (Winstead). “There was a moment where I’m sitting on top of the pyramid crying because the paramedics had to come to take Mary, because I kind of slashed her face with my knife,” Wong remembered.
“At first, I was kind of freaking out because I was in a lot of pain, but as soon as it was over, I was ‘Ellen, no, it was my fault.'” added Winstead. Almost a year after shooting the fight, the two were still apologetic to one another. The pair trained for the fight in a large empty space. The actual size of the pyramid and the presence of the film cameras changed the conditions of the fight. While it was definitely an accident, both were willing to try to take the blame.
“You couldn’t slice cucumbers and tomatoes with them, maybe faces,” Wong said of her stunt knives on the shoot. “But actually, I think it was after that incident that they put little foam tips on them and I was like, ‘I feel so downgraded.'”
Winstead interjected, “They were so careful after that. That’s why I felt bad. They were like, ‘We have to be very careful with Ellen. She’s dangerous.’ I was like, ‘It’s not her fault! It’s my fault.'”
Now that the final product has been seen by fans, Wong finds the reaction to the physical prowess of Ramona and Knives rather satisfying. “Girls like this exist, and it’s neat to see females in these sort or roles where they’re equal to their male counterparts and they’re the same in their intellect and what they want in life,” she explained.
“I think when we walked on set, [we] saw how many talented, funny interesting, strong girls there were in this film,” added Winstead. “To have so many female characters in one movie that represent so many different types of strong women was really exciting.”
“Ramona really rides that fine line of being likeable and unlikable and doesn’t really show her emotions. So, how do you like a person who is that guarded and who never smiles? It was certainly worrisome to me, on some level, that there would be an audience who would be like ‘What’s her appeal?'” Winstead said of her character. “So, I felt like I really had to bring some sort of humanity to her and I had to really show that there was some attraction and love when she looks at Scott, even though she might not show it in the same way that Knives shows it; quite the opposite way.”
“With Knives, it’s hard because she was not thinking too much about what Scott was thinking about her,” Wong explained. “What’s cool with her is that everything she goes through in the film, it’s her first time feeling it. I think she’s so uninhibited, her feelings are so unconstrained. In a way, I think Scott was dating her because she’s easy, but she doesn’t see it that way. She’s going on this ride, this journey, trying to figure out what it means to be in love, what it means to have your heart broken. The way she takes that on in the film is the only way she could have been able to handle all the situations, because it really was her first time. She didn’t know how to put up her guard or judge certain situations or scenarios because she hasn’t yet been tainted by the realities of this world.”
Both read the final volume of the comic series before arriving for Comic-Con International in San Diego. “I went to a midnight release in Toronto and it was really exciting, because then we’re on this train going to San Diego as a cast and I’m like, ‘Look what I have.’ I was like the cool kid. They were like ‘I want it!'” she recalled.
“I was the first one to find out that she had it, so I quietly stole it and was reading it on the trip,” Winstead revealed. “I read it really quickly, and it was really cool to see how certain elements of it really matched up with the film, even though most of that stuff we did without knowing what was going to be in the book except for just a few rough ideas that [creator] Bryan [Lee O’Malley] had given [director] Edgar [Wright].”
Arriving at Comic-Con, Winstead saw plenty of fans dressed as Ramona walking around with their hair in the character’s expressive color choices. “I think that goes to show how representative it is of a generation,” she opined. “That’s what they want to look like. Not to emulate the movie, necessarily, but because it’s a cool haircut. I think it goes to show how Bryan really got it right.”
“I think we’ve created something that’s really going to hit people in a way they aren’t expecting and that’s just really exciting.”
For all of CBR’s “Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World” coverage, check out our Scott Pilgrim news hub!
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