English actor Simon Pegg has enough geek credits on his resume to earn a lifetime pass at Comic-Con. He's played an unwitting zombie fighter in "Shaun of the Dead," the best friend to an alien in "Paul" and will fight an army of blue-eyed somethings in this summer's "The World's End." It's Pegg's role as Scotty in J.J. Abrams' "Star Trek" films, however, that really endears him to the Hall H crowd.
Pegg returns this week as the wisecracking intergalactic mechanic in "Star Trek Into Darkness," the follow-up to 2009's immensely popular reboot of "Star Trek." As the crew of the Starship Enterprise faces a mysterious villain (played by Benedict Cumberbatch) hell-bent on destroying Starfleet, Scotty serves as the moral backbone of the team, not to mention its most persistent source of comic relief.
NextMovie caught up with Pegg ahead of the May 17 release of "Star Trek Into Darkness" and chatted about everything from intergalactic drinking pals to whether J.J. Abrams' other "Star" franchise will keep him from trekking once more.
Can you give me a rough estimate of how many times people have said "Beam me up, Scotty" to you?
They have more and more these days, obviously, but it's a nice problem to have.
In the movie, Scotty actually quits and leaves the Enterprise. Have you ever had an elaborate quitting fantasy?
I'm not a quitter myself, and I don't think Scotty is, either. I worked in jobs, before I was acting, doing stuff I didn't really enjoy for people I didn't really like, and you always kinda fantasize about storming out, but the thing is, you need to pay the rent, so you can't.
You've never quit a job?
No, I'm boring like that. I always stick to it. I always stick to my guns.
So in the movie, when you quit and retreat to a bar, you're wearing quite the shirt.
It's a pretty hideous bit of kit that I had there. The jacket's kinda cool, but yeah. Michael Kaplan is our costume designer, he's brilliant in terms of pitching the looks that we have, particularly when it comes to ... it's easy when it comes to the uniform because it isn't really too tied in with fashion, so obviously years to come looking back you can see, in the '60s, you can see that there are slight anachronisms going on there. But we tried to recreate them for this iteration of "Star Trek." But yeah, when it comes to what people wear in their day-to-day life, it's tough to pitch. So he showed me this disgusting shirt and I was like, "Hell yeah, let's do it."
Do you keep anything from set?
I kept my badge, my Starfleet badge, which was, I didn't on the first one, because I felt like I'd be arrested. But a little further down the line I thought oh, what are they going to do? Fire me? And let's face it, we all steal things from work, I bet anything they recover is full of phasers and tricorners and stuff like that, so I don't have any of that stuff. They miss my badge, too bad.
Is there going to be another "Star Trek"? I saw that you had initially said J.J. would direct, but then retracted that.
I think, well, I'm pretty sure that we'll do another one. This one's going to do very well, and I'm sure that Paramount will want to do another one, there have been those discussions. I know the guys are already throwing ideas around when they're in the writing room, and most probably you know have a few gems ready to go. But in terms of definite, there's nothing definite right now.
And the two of you just made a video where you geek out over "Star Wars." How did you find out he was directing the new ones?
I got an email and I kind of immediately emailed him to say, "What? Is this true?" and he said, "Yeah, I think it is," and I kind of, I just said well great, just don't forget us, and he said, "As if I would." And that's all I needed to know, really. Immediately you think oh, he's going to go off and forget us and we're going to be the sort of older, less-cute sibling, but that's not in J.J.'s makeup. J.J. is 100 percent committed to everything he does. Even if he's involved as a producer rather than as a director, his stamp will still be very much on it.
Would you be in "Star Wars"?
Yeah. If J.J. asked me, then yeah. I'd work with J.J. on everything because I really respect his choices and his taste, but I would never ask him for a role because if he wanted to give me one, he would. Also, I feel like possibly being in "Star Wars" might spoil it for me in terms of watching it. I really am excited to see "Star Wars" again. I'm excited for "Star Wars" to make me feel like it used to, and not like these last ones did. If I was to be in that, it would spoil some of the magic, so I'm happy to watch it as a fan.
Write an "Episode VII" character for yourself. What would you want to be?
I don't know, I mean, I kinda think that Luke was kinda focused on, it was never the Jedi stuff that I was interested in as a kid. I was more interested in the Han Solos, the cooler kind of pirate. Maybe a stormtrooper.
In a fight among the "Star Trek" cast, who would win?
In a fight? I think Spock would probably win, the Vulcans have titan strength and stuff, but I think it would come down to Kirk and Scotty and Spock, and I think probably Kirk and Scotty, Kirk would get the better of Scotty because he's younger, and then Spock would get the better of Kirk.
In reality, I think Anton [Yelchin] would probably beat all of us to a pulp. He's a very physical man, very strong. He pulled me and Chris Pine off a gantry with one hand. He's tiny, and yet he has all that power. It's amazing.
You co-wrote and co-starred in the upcoming "The World's End." There are a few other apocalypse comedies coming up, too. What is it that's so funny about it the end of the world?
I dunno, ours isn't really an apocalypse comedy. It's got that because it's named after a pub, which is "The World's End." It's not really, it's locked in with Seth's movie ["This Is the End"], but it's not really anything like that. It has more in common with "The Big Chill" than it does with an end of the world comedy. So I don't know, it was on everyone's mind with the 21st of December going on, with the supposed Mayan stuff, everyone was thinking about it, people were talking about let's make some end of the world films, and it took too long to get going. They missed the day that it was supposed to happen, so they were all coming out slightly late.
Who would be the better alien drinking buddy, Paul from "Paul" or Keenser from "Star Trek"?
Paul's a smoker, you know, he's all about the weed. And little Keenser, he drinks very heavily. In that scene, he's actually stealing all my drinks. While I'm talking to Kirk, he's nicking my drinks. We thought of that on set, which was making me laugh a lot. So I think that Keenser would be better for the sauce.
Using the formula of your first pet plus the street you grew up on, what would your porn name be?