With the release of Simon Pegg’s new film A Fantastic Fear of Everything out in cinema’s today we are celebrating the global recognition of his acting with a look back at his best films to date.
From British independent film Shaun of the Dead to Hollywood hit Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, Pegg has excelled not just here in the UK, but now all over the world. The self-confessed comic nerd and pulp film junkie has come a long way since those early days in ace Channel 4 sit-com Spaced.
Today sees the release of Pegg’s latest film A Fantastic Fear of Everything in UK cinemas. Written and directed by Crispian Mills, the film is the first to be backed by Pinewood Studios’ initiative to support British cinema. Based on Withnail and I writer-director Bruce Robinson’s novella Paranoia In The Laundrette, the darkly comic film tells the story of a children’s author-turned crime novelist who becomes obsessed with murder and murdering.
Trailer for A Fantastic Fear of Everything:
Here’s our favourite Pegg roles to date:
Shaun of the Dead (2004)
Simon plays Shaun, a salesman who suffers from lack of direction. All elements of his life are monotonous. His best friend and flatmate Ed is unemployed and deals cannabis, he has a less than happy relationship with his step father, and an unsatisfied girlfriend, (Liz) due to their lack of social life. Shaun spends every night at the local pub, The Winchester, with Ed and never spends quality time with Liz. When Shaun fails to remember about their anniversary, Liz breaks up with him and sends him into a downward spiral. None of these emotions are helped, however when his other flatmate complains about being bitten on his way home. Shaun decides to sort his life out the following day. When he wakes up and decides to begin his revival, he fails to notice the zombie invasion that has spread throughout London overnight, including his bitten flatmate. Shaun then devises a plan to not only win Liz back but to also keep his friends and family alive. As Simons first big film it is probably his most recognisable character.
Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol (2011)
In the fourth and the most recent instalment of the films, Simon continues to play Benji, who he also played in the third instalment. His character is part of the main team headed by Hunt (Tom Cruise), and Benji’s official role is a technical field agent. The team have to race to track down a dangerous terrorist gang who have managed to gain the codes for Russia’s nuclear weapons and who are planning to launch them on the United States. Their first attempt to stop the gang ends in disaster with an explosion, and in consequence the President disavowing the team, meaning that they are not allowed any more back up. They therefore have to fight to stop a disaster without the help of their country. This is a much more serious role for Simon and along with other films such as Star Trek, meant that he had become an international star.
Hot Fuzz (2007)
Nicholas Angel (Simon) is a fault free, award winning police officer who begins to make his colleagues look bad through all of his triumphs in the force. Consequently, his superiors decide to transfer him from the metropolis of London to a ‘crime free’ village in Gloucestershire, against his will. Once he arrives in the small area of Sandford, he quickly uncovers a sea of illegalities from underage drinking to a drunk driver, who ironically turns out to be his new partner in the force. The pair bond over a few drinks, and eventually begin to fight crime together. When a series of killings begin to arise in Sandford, Angel is swift to attempt to arrest the owner of the local supermarket, who can unfortunately provide an alibi. After that, Nicholas is then preyed upon by the killer who escapes him on numerous occasions. Working together with his partner, they begin to uncover the secret of the small town. Hot Fuzz is yet another brilliant combination of Pegg and Frost in what they do best.
Simon stars alongside his regular co-star Nick Frost as best friends who travel to America to attend a sci-fi convention and who engage in a pilgrimage of extra terrestrial sites and spotting. However, when driving along at night in their hired RV they spot headlights following them. The car then passes them and crashes. Shaken up and confused they walk towards the wreck to investigate any potential casualties. Yet they are not greeted by the usual driver, instead they meet Paul the alien who is in desperate need of their help to return to his space ship. Whilst trying to help Paul they discover that he is wanted by the United States Secret Service, and therefore try to lay low. When hiding they stay in a trailer park where Paul is accidentally spotted by the daughter of the owner. The pair then kidnap her to avoid Pauls identity being revealed, yet this only sparks more trouble and complications for the pair. After four years of solo filming, Simon and Nick Frost eventually reunited for their newest venture together.
Run Fatboy Run (2007)
Simon plays Dennis Doyle, who is about to marry his beautiful and pregnant fiancée Libby. However, he gets cold feet and leaves her alone on their wedding day. Five years later he still cannot get Libby to forgive him and they live separate lives, yet remain civil and in contact for the sake of their son, Jake. One day, Dennis finds out that Libby has found love in the form of a high flyer American Whit, and has began to also win over the affection of Jake. When Whit tells Dennis that he is running the Nike River Marathon in London, this sparks competition within Dennis to also compete in the race with the prospect, in his mind, of winning Libby back. At first his friends laugh in his face, but then begin to help him train and one even places a very large bet on him finishing the race. However, as time goes on, faults in Whit’s personality start to become highlighted which are made evident by him tripping Dennis up at the start of the race, causing him to have a sprained ankle to content with on top of everything else. However, he ploughs on, motivated by Libby and son Jake. This was one of the first films where Simon began to be seen as an established solo actor, unaccompanied by Nick Frost.
A Fantastic Fear of Everything (2012)
In Simon’s most recent film he plays Jack, a children’s author who decides to branch out into crime novels after the breakdown of his marriage. However when researching his new career and trying to gather inspiration from the stories of Victorian serial killers, he is spiralled into an uncontrollable state of paranoia, and most importantly a fear of being murdered. Jack then insists on remaining indoors at all times as well as carrying a knife. His agent then throws him a lifeline as a Hollywood executive has taken an interest in his script for his latest crime novel. This is his big chance to get his life back on track, but unfortunately it means facing all of his fears first hand, including the outside world. He then begins to believe that the film executive is the grandson of a notorious Victorian villain and that maybe he has an ulterior motive rather than just wanting to produce his script. His newest film still contains elements of early films such as Shaun of the Dead whereby his character also fell into a spell of depression.