Comedy duo and regulars of the films of British filmmaking icon Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost are known for their offbeat humour and wise-cracking quips, often taking part in some sort of high-speed pursuit away from a sci-fi monster. With adversaries including zombies, in Edgar Wright’s genre-bender Shaun of the Dead, and blue-blooded android aliens in The World’s End, both Pegg and Frost are well equipped to take on any cinematic enemy that’s thrown their way.
Discussing whether another collaboration with Edgar Wright may be on the cards in the future, Pegg commented, “I mean, that’s not a question, really…It’s just that the question is when we can marshal our respective diaries and get the time to write a movie together”. Continuing, the actor noted “We talk all the time, we’re friends before we’re colleagues, and whenever we are together, we say, ‘Oh, what are we going to do, what should we do, when are we going to do it?’.
So whilst we wait for the seemingly inevitable arrival of a new Edgar Wright collaboration, let’s take a look into Simon Pegg and Nick Frost’s very favourite films about the apocalypse. First on the list is 1971s The Omega Man, based on the 1954 novel I am Legend by US writer Richard Matheson, following Neville (Charlton Heston) roaming around an apocalyptic LA foraging supplies. Nick Frost comically comments that, “I love The Omega Man, because I’ve always had a yearning to be the last living man on Earth”.
Second is Alfonso Cuarón’s modern classic Children of Men, where Simon Pegg highlights one specific technical aspect as his favourite part, noting, “A couple of those [single-shot action sequences] are amazing”. The story itself is set in the year 2027 where widespread infertility has decimated the population of the world, leading Theo Faron (Clive Owen) to help a miraculously pregnant woman to safety. It joins the third film on the list, Steven Spielberg’s War of the Worlds, another modern classic which Simon Pegg believes is “better than Independence Day and Armageddon”. Based on the novel by HG Wells, Spielberg’s updated vision of alien invasion is delightfully hellish, following Ray (Tom Cruise) as he tries to protect his family against the industrial monsters.
Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior, the sequel to George Miller’s iconic Australian apocalyptic vision, makes the fourth spot on Pegg and Frost’s list, following the cyberpunk character of Mel Gibson’s, Max, across the eccentric outback. Loosely remade in 2015, Miller’s film follows Max, a cynical drifter who agrees to help a small gasoline-rich community escape a horde of bandits. “It’s one of those rare occasions where a sequel outstrips the original, by adding more carnage and bumflaps,” Pegg hilariously points out.
Terry Gilliam’s underappreciated Twelve Monkeys is next, revered by critics and loved by audiences, the story follows a man sent back in time to gather information about a man-made virus that has wiped out most of humanity. Based on Chris Marker’s La Jetée, Pegg describes the film as “the apocalypse with a glorious Terry Gilliam spin. One of Bruce Willis’s best films”. It joins fellow time-hopping, dimension-crawling science fiction film, Franklin J. Schaffner’s Planet Of The Apes, which Nick Frost quite simply describes as “a masterpiece”. Based on the novel by Pierre Boulle, Schaffner’s film, following an astronaut crew who crash land on a planet only to discover humans are enslaved by apes, would spawn seven sequels and prove to become an icon of sci-fi filmmaking.
In a more surprising, though undoubtedly deserved choice, Simon Pegg choses Pixar’s WALL-E for his seventh pick, one of the animation company’s more subtle masterpieces, following a small waste-collecting robot who embarks on a grand space adventure. With almost no dialogue at all for the opening 40 minutes, the introduction of the film goes down as one of the greatest in animation history, with Simon Pegg agreeing, noting, “I’d put Wall-E right up there because it’s just the most exquisite opening 20 minutes of a film ever”.
The Day the Earth Stood Still is Nick Frost’s eighth choice, though he is eager to outline the fact that he means the 1951 version, and not the 2008 remake, commenting “what, it’s not the Keanu Reeves version? Well that changes everything”. Directed by Hollywood legend Robert Wise, the story itself is a simple one of alien invasion, following an extraterrestrial who lands on earth to tell the population to ‘live peacefully or be destroyed’. Terrifying audiences upon its arrival in the 1950s, Wise’s film still carries the dramatic weight to scare audiences to this day.
See the full list of Simon Pegg and Nick Frost’s 10 favourite apocalypse films below:
Simon Pegg and Nick Frost’s 10 favourite apocalypse films:
- The Omega Man (Boris Sagal, 1971)
- Children Of Men (Alfonso Cuarón, 2006)
- War Of The Worlds (Steven Spielberg, 2005)
- Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior (George Miller, 1981)
- Twelve Monkeys (Terry Gilliam, 1995)
- Planet Of The Apes (Franklin J. Schaffner, 1968)
- WALL-E (Andrew Stanton, 2008)
- The Day The Earth Stood Still (Robert Wise, 1951)
- Invasion Of The Body Snatchers (Philip Kaufman, 1978)
- Night Of The Living Dead (George Romero, 1968)
Based on Don Siegel classic original of 1956, Phillip Kaufman’s 1978 version of Invasion of the Body Snatchers is arguably far better, starring Donald Sutherland in a terrifying lead role. Shot in 23 days with a $15,000 special effects budget, the film follows strange cosmic seeds that fall to earth and turn the population into emotionless automatons. Speaking about how Kaufman’s film inspired the two actors, Simon Pegg stated: “This was a huge influence on us. We were really inspired for The World’s End by socially conscious sci-fi [by the likes of] John Wyndham and Aldous Huxley”.
Their final choice, and their number one pick for their favourite apocalyptic film, is George Romero’s 1968 horror classic, Night of the Living Dead. Following a zombie invasion on a small farmhouse, Simon Pegg said of the film, “This has to be number one given our background and the birth of our friendship. Ten years before Shaun Of The Dead, I dressed Nick up as a zombie from this film for the Chiquito Halloween party. He had a bullet hole and a baseball cap”. A statement to which Nick Frost replies, “I was a white trash zombie on a turkey hunt”.