Simon Pegg

The Stuff I Like

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Brit comedy hero turned Hollywood big fish Simon Pegg picks the films, books and music that made him who he is. 

BOOKS

Last holiday, I read Obama’s biography; Sharp Teeth, a book about werewolves written in verse; and something called Indiana Jones and the Philosopher’s Stone I found in a Greek shop.

It was an eclectic reading list. I’ll confess to currently reading The Hunger Games, to see what the fuss is all about. I’ve enjoyed it, actually.

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I think people assume it’s going to be like Twilight — which is like reading the diary of a delusional teenage girl — but it’s pretty compelling.

 

FILM

The last thing I saw was 21 Jump Street, which was very funny.

And I was delighted to see The Artist do so well. I’m not a fan of 3D; it generally feels like an intrusion.

My all-time favourite films include George A Romero’s zombie classics, which have been a huge influence, and Young Frankenstein, which I first watched on 16mm film.

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I had dinner with Mel Brooks recently, and he said he enjoyed Shaun of the Dead, which was a delight.

 

THEATRE

My mum was an actress, so I saw lots of Ayckbourn when I was growing up — lots of farces.

And I studied Shakespeare and Marlowe at university. I saw Festen recently, which I loved. It’s a very dark, difficult play, lots of incest and family horror.

Theatre shouldn’t always be like going to see Jersey Boys and loving every minute. It should be a difficult, painful experience.

 

MUSIC
I grew up listening to my parents’ stuff — Queen, John Denver, Billy Joel, The Beatles.

At 15, I got into The Smiths and The Cure [below], and became very tribal. Then I became a proper goth, listening to Sisters of Mercy and Bauhaus.

If something’s got genuine artistic merit I’ll give it a go. Although I have no idea what’s currently in the charts. Except N-Dubz.

 

GAMING

I used to be a real gamer. I had an original Game Boy, an SNES and an Amiga 500, and I’d play Starwing, Super Star Wars and Flashback.

The PlayStation confirmed me in my gaming — Tomb Raider and, of course, Resident Evil.

Half Life 2 remains my favourite game of all time, but I don’t play games as much now, since having a child.

I’m installing an Xbox Kinect though. It seems like a good way to work out. And I can justify it to my wife.

 

ANIMATION

I recently went to visit Pixar for the day. It’s an extraordinary place, and I’ve never seen anywhere so geared towards people being creative.

As a kid, the Disney films were huge milestones for me.

And, more recently, the Pixar films — Toy Story, Wall-E, The Incredibles and Ratatouille.

CGI is so amazing, but it’s lovely to see The Pirates movie — the Aardman one —  using stop-motion animation, which has such a wonderful quality.

Simon Pegg’s new film, A Fantastic Fear of Everything, is out now.

Portrait by Dave Willis

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