Scott Pilgrim vs the World was getting a lot of buzz long before it screened at Comic Con in July. Adapted from Brian Lee O’Malley’s hugely popular comic, the film is about Scott (Michael Cera), a Toronto native who’s dating a high school girl (Ellen Wong as Knives Chau) when he falls for a cool new girl (Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Ramona) and must defeat her “seven evil exes” in order to date her.
The cast of this geek masterpiece stopped by Denver on their press tour and I got a chance to sit down with Winstead, Brandon Routh, who is Ramona’s vegan rocker ex boyfriend, Todd Ingram, and Kieran Culkin, who plays Scott’s hilarious gay roommate Wallace Wells.
Though none of the three had read the comic prior to hearing about the film, they knew they were stepping into pretty big shoes as far as fans were concerned. “It has such a following. It’s grown with every book that has come out. The last one was number five on Amazon.” Winstead said.
Because the comic was such a hit, everyone involved with the film didn’t want to disappoint the devoted fans. Thankfully, says Winstead, director Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz) was just the man to tackle the challenge.
“We really trusted Edgar Wright,” she explained. “Everyone involved in the cast were big fans of his and all of his movies–Spaced, everything we had seen of his. For me, when I read the books, I knew he was the only person that could bring it to life in a way that is cool, unique and fun. So we all, from the second we stepped foot on the set, were just like, ‘ok, you tell us what to do. You guide us and we’ll do exactly like you want and we know that’s gonna end up the best it’s gonna be.’”
While it’s impossible to exactly recreate the comic, Culkin assured us that nothing major was left out. “Fans of the book didn’t seem to miss anything. They really like the adaptation, but, some will say they missed Kim Pines making out with Knives Chau,” he joked.
Outside of the world of comics, Scott Pilgrim vs the World also has tons of video game references spread throughout the movie. At times it’s almost as if you are watching a cut scene pulled directly from a video game. Because of that, I had to know if these guys were actually into video games.
Culkin was eager to talk about games and named Zelda: Ocarina of Time for Nintendo 64 as his favorite. “This game Virtual Pro 2, which is a Japanese wrestling game for the 64, I translated it into English so I can play it, but I didn’t need to. It was just for anybody else who wanted to play,” he added. He rounded off his top five with Mike Tyson’s Punch Out, Castlevania and Contra.
Routh chimed in to list his faves. “Dragon Warrior was one of the first RPGs. Shining Force, the Sega game, Shining Force 2, the sequel. Joe Montana Football, Sim City, and Warcraft.”
With video games as inspiration, the movie has a lot of really fun fight scenes. The cast talked about the training they went through to prepare.
“It was tough. We trained together for a long time, and we were really well prepared by the stunt guys who worked with us. They were fantastic teachers. Ellen had some prior experience with Taikwando, and I had prior experience with dance, so the two of us kind of combined our abilities. Ellen was so dedicated to Knives, that character, and so it was almost scary fighting with her sometimes, because she got so into character. It felt really real when I fought with her.” Culkin then asked her who would win a real fight between her and Ellen Wong. “We got that question a few times when we were interviewing together, and we always just said that would team up because, I’m like a giant, and she’s little and scrappy and fast.”
And, of course, with all that fighting comes a few injuries. “I pulled my shoulder out a bunch. Lots of tendonitis and stuff. Went to physical therapy for that. In that scene with Ellen, I got stabbed in the eye with one of her knives and was bleeding, and had to have a paramedic help. So yeah, there were lots of little things like that that happened, but it was kinda like battle scars, like we all felt really proud of our injuries,” Winstead said.
Though Wallace doesn’t do any fighting in the movie, Culkin said he trained along with everyone else. “It was more for fun, when everyone was getting together for weeks. We got together early in the morning for training, so I went along for that. Plus, I think also, when I got the part I hadn’t seen Edgar for months, so I showed up to set the first day with long green hair and thirty pounds of extra weight that he wasn’t expecting and I was like, ‘Are you sure? Are you sure you want me? Just try to picture my hair shorter, and I’ll lose thirty pounds, I swear.’ I got to go home for a while and lose that weight for him.”
Scott Pilgrim isn’t only filled with video game references, it’s also got the perfect feeling of an underground indie rock movie. Music is one of the main themes in the movie, with the main characters all competing in a giant battle of the bands, and a huge soundtrack filled with underground music.
Winstead may not be an expert on video games, but she did list her music favorites. “I listen to a lot of oldies and stuff. But, I like a lot of indie rock. Gosh, where do I start?” Suddenly, Culkin jumped in and told her to start by plugging the soundtrack and she replied, “That’s actually genuine, I love the soundtrack. Right now I really love The XX, a lot of Mike Patton stuff, Mr. Bungle, just kind of all over the map, but I love anything from the 60s and 50s, David Bowie, and I also like Buddy Holly, and girl groups. The Shangri Las are kinda my ultimate favorite.”
In the last question of the day, I asked Winstead who her favorite evil ex was in the film. She said she loved them all, but Routh quickly told us that wasn’t true at all, so she had to change her answer. “No, the fight with Roxy, Mae Whitman, will always be special to me because I actually got to fight with her, and we got train together for months and months. So, that was just an awesome experience, and she’s so badass, and wonderful. So, I have to say that one.” Routh also added that Roxy rocks.
Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World opens everywhere on August 13th, so make sure you go see it! The soundtrack is available now on cd and red vinyl, and it is awesome, so check it out. You can also check out the Scott Pilgrim 8-bit style video game that’s available for download on the PS3 now, and August 25th for the Xbox Arcade version
Filed under: Celebrities, Denver, Gaming, Guest Articles, Interviews, Movies · Tags: brandon routh, comic book, comic-con, comiccon, comics, edgar wright, ellen wong, film, interview, kieran culkin, mae whitman, mary elizabeth winstead, movie, scott pilgrim, scott pilgrim vs the world, video games