Simon Pegg, the actor, comedian, screenwriter, and producer whose career has enjoyed a meteoric rise in recent years, is a keen cinephile and a student of film.
Having began his career as the co-creator of the Channel 4 sitcom Spaced, Pegg has risen to Hollywood stardom having written and starred in box office hits such as Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, Paul and more.
Major roles in huge projects such as Mission Impossible and Star Trek have arrived in more recent years and, as Pegg plans to make the big move into directing, he has had chance to reflect on some of the films that have had a lasting impression on his cinematic vision.
Pegg, who has never hidden his love for Star Wars—more specifically his admiration for George Lucas—was able to live out a lifelong dream by working on the franchise when he appeared as cast member of 2015’s The Force Awakens. With that said, it should come as little surprise that Star Wars appears on a list of his favourite films of all time.
Similarly, Pegg managed to work alongside his idol Steven Spielberg when he was awarded a role in his mega-blockbuster, Ready Player One. “Yeah, he called me just between main and sweet,” Pegg remembered in an interview with the Telegraph. “He said that he wanted me to play this character – and I was very excited to say, ‘Yes please.’”
When Pegg was asked to pick his favourite 13 films as part of The Quietus’ online series Bakers Dozen, the actor couldn’t hold back his admiration for Spielberg and included feature films by the director. When speaking about ET, Pegg told Quietus: “I absolutely loved it and I even went and bought the soundtrack on cassette from Debenhams which was across the road from the cinema. I would just listen to that on a loop—the whole soundtrack from beginning to end, over and over. It was extraordinarily affecting for me.”
Despite his love of classic cinema, Pegg attempted to add more of a modern spin on his list. He explained: “I wanted to put a contemporary movie in this list,” Pegg explained when adding in Alex Garland film Ex Machina. “This one, it’s just a beautiful, beautiful, film; it’s like a three hander: it’s Domhnall Gleeson, Oscar Isaac and Alicia Vikander. It could almost be done like a play,” he added.
Pegg added: “I’ve always admired Alex Garland as a writer but he’s such an assured director. It is a fantastic musing on the notion of Artificial Intelligence and what it means, as well as being a thriller, a horror and a romance too. It’s just a really, really great movie and I was so impressed by it when I saw it as a debut from a film maker: it’s so confident and super, super smart.”
Not stopping at high praise for Garland, Pegg also described Joel Coen’s 1987 film Raising Arizona as “the film that really cemented my understanding of comedic cinema.”
He added: “I don’t think there is another group of filmmakers, or a filmmaking team as eclectic as the Coen’s that can create something as dark and brutal as Blood Simple and then go on to Raising Arizona and then do something like Barton Fink—they are utterly, utterly amazing.”
See Simon Pegg’s full list, below.
Simon Pegg 13 favourite films of all time:
- Jason and The Argonauts – Don Chaffey, 1963.
- Sinbad and The Eye of the Tiger – Sam Wanamaker, 1977.
- Close Encounters of The Third Kind – Steven Spielberg, 1977.
- Star Wars – George Lucas, 1977.
- Dawn of the Dead – George A Romero, 1978.
- Invasion of the Body Snatchers – Philip Kaufman, 1978.
- An American Werewolf in London – John Landis, 1981.
- Raiders of the Lost Ark – Steven Spielberg, 1981.
- E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial – Steven Spielberg, 1982.
- This is Spinal Tap – Rob Reiner 1984.
- Withnail and I – Bruce Robinson, 1987.
- Raising Arizona – Joel Coen, 1987.
- Ex Machina – Alex Garland, 2014.
Source: The Quietus.