"An absolute blast!." - George A. Romero




Written By Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg

Directed By Edgar Wright

Produced By Universal Studios (U.K.) and Rogue Pictures (U.S.)


Simon Pegg

Kate Ashfield

Nick Frost

Lucy Davis

Dylan Moran

Nicola Cunningham





Ed : Can I get... any of you cunts... a drink?

Shaun : Come and get it! It's a running buffet! ALL YOU CAN EAT!

Ed : Any zombies out there?
Shaun : Don't say that!
Ed : What?
Shaun : That!
Ed : What?
Shaun : The 'zed' word, don't say it!
Ed : Why not?
Shaun : Because it's ridiculous!

Ed : Who died and made you fucking king of the zombies?

[looking through Shaun's LPs for suitable records to throw at two approaching zombies]
Ed : Purple Rain.
Shaun : No.
Ed : Stone Roses.
Shaun : Definitely not.
Ed : The Batman soundtrack?
Shaun : Throw it.

[repeated line]
Shaun : He's not my Dad, he's my stepdad!

Ed : We're coming to get you, Barbara!

Ed : Don't forget to kill Philip!

Pete : It's four in the fucking morning!
Shaun : It's Saturday!
Pete : No, it's not. It's fucking Sunday. And I've got to go to fucking work in four fucking hours 'cos every other fucker in my fucking department is fucking ill! Now can you see why I'm SO FUCKING ANGRY?
Ed : Fuck, yeah!

Shaun : Ohh, for God's sake! He's got an arm off!

Ed : What's the plan then?
Shaun : Right.
[Cuts to dream sequence]
Shaun : We take Pete's car, we drive over to mum's, we go in, take care of Phillip - "I'm so sorry Phillip". - then we grab mum, we go over to Liz's place, hole up, have a cup of tea and wait for this whole thing to blow over.
Ed : Why have we got to go to Liz's?
Shaun : Because we do.
Ed : But she dumped you!
Shaun : I have to know if she's all right!
Ed : Why?
Shaun : Because I love her!
Ed : Alright... gayyy... I'm not staying there, though.
Shaun : Why not?
Ed : If we hole up, I wanna be somewhere familiar, I wanna know where the exits are, and I wanna be allowed to smoke.
Shaun : Okay.
[cuts to dream sequence again]
Shaun : We take Pete's car, go around mum's, go in, deal with Phillip - "Sorry Phillip!" - grab mum, go to Liz's, pick her up, bring her back here, have a cup of tea and wait for this whole thing to blow over.
Ed : Perfect!
Shaun : No, no, no, no, no, wait, we can't bring her back here.
Ed : Why not?
Shaun : Well, it's not really safe, is it?
Ed : Yeah, look at the state of it.
Shaun : Where's safe? where's familiar?
Ed : Where can I smoke?
[Shaun and Ed pause then slowly make a realization]
Shaun : [cuts to dream sequence a third time] Take car. Go to mum's. Kill Phil - "Sorry." - grab Liz, go to the Winchester, have a nice cold pint, and wait for all of this to blow over. How's that for a slice of fried gold?
Ed : Yeah, boyyyeee!
[Shaun and Ed clang weapons together]

Trisha Goddard : ["I Married A Zombie" sketch] Do you go to bed with it?

Ed : It's not hip-hop... it's Electro... prick. Next time I see him... he's dead.

David : We're in a pub! What're we going to do now?
Ed : Get a round in?

Shaun : Kill the Queen!
David : What?
Shaun : The music!

[Shaun is channel hopping]
[Channel 4 News]
Krishnan Guru-Murthy : Though no one official is prepared to comment, religious groups are calling it Judgement Day. There's -
[VH1, playing "Panic" by The Smiths]
Morrissey : - Panic on the streets of London -
[ITV News]
Newsreader: - as an increasing number of reports of -
Commentator: - serious attacks on -
[Five News]
Newsreader: - people, who are literally being -
[Nature documentary, leopards eating a gazelle]
Narrator: - eaten alive.
[Sky News]
Jeremy Thompson : Witnesses' reports at best are sketchy, but one unifying detail seems to be that the attackers in many instances appear to be -
Vernon Kaye: - dead excited to have with us here a sensational chart topping...

Ed : Big Al says so.
Shaun : Yeah, but Big Al says dogs can't look up!

Barbara : It's been a funny sort of day, hasn't it?

Various: You've got red on you.

Liz : You, hang out with my friends? A failed actress and a twat?
Shaun : Well, that's a bit harsh.
Liz : Your words, Shaun!
Shaun : I did NOT call Diane a failed actress!

Pete : Fuck-a-doodle-doo!

Shaun : Pete? Pete?
Ed : Why can't we go up there?
Shaun : Because A, he might be one of them, and B, he might still be annoyed.
Shaun : Pete?
[There is a pause]
Shaun , Ed : [together] He's not in.

[Shaun and Ed back up to the body of a man they've just hit and Shaun rolls down his window]
Shaun : Excuse me... are you alright? Hello?
Ed : Aw, come on, why can't we just go?
Shaun : I've got to be sure of something.
Ed : He's going to be dead either way!
Shaun : That's not the point, Ed! Excuse me... are you all right?
[the body rises and moans, zombified, at Shaun and Ed]
Shaun : Oh, well, thank God for that.

Ed : Cock it!

David : You still haven't met his mum?
Shaun : Not yet!
Dianne : Don't you get on with your mum, Shaun?
Shaun : Yes! What...
David : Are you ashamed of your mum, Shaun?
Shaun : No! I love my mum!
Ed : I love his mum too
Shaun : Ed...
Ed : She's like butter!

[after Shaun gets shouted at by Liz]
David : Basically, I'd say your nine lives are up, Shaun
Shaun : Fuck off, four eyes! Why don't you go out with her if you love her so much?
[storms off]
David : Well, I don't know what he meant by that.
[unconfortable silence]

Shaun : There is no "I" in "team", but there is an "I" in "pie".

Shaun : If you get cornered, bash 'em in the head, that seems to work out.

Shaun : Mum, look, what would you say if I told you that over the years Philip's been quite unkind to me?
Barbara : Well you weren't always the easiest person to live with
Shaun : Mum, he chased me around the garden with a bit of wood!
Barbara : Well you did call him a you-know-what!
Shaun : Oh, what, did he tell you that?
Barbara : Yes he did.
Shaun : Mother fucker!
Barbara : Shaun!
Shaun : Sorry mother!... mum!

Barbara : My how you've grown!
Ed : Yeah, you'd better believe it.

Liz : Well... is it clear?
Shaun : No.
Liz : How many?
Shaun : Lots.
[pan up to show a horde of zombies behind the fence]

[after Phillip has been bitten]
Philip : You didn't call the doctor, did you?
Barbara : Well, I thought we ought to be on the safe side.
Philip : I'm quite alright, Barbara, I ran it under a cold tap.
Barbara : I really think...
Philip : We had our jabs when we went to the Isle of Wight.
Many of the Zombie extras are fans of the TV series "Spaced" (1999), which also starred Simon Pegg and Nick Frost and was also directed by Edgar Wright. They were recruited through the Spaced Out fan website to be in the film.

  • Frequent references are made to Big Al's claim that Dogs can't look up. This is a reference to the commentary to the second series of "Spaced" (1999) in which Simon Pegg (Shaun) and Edgar Wright talk about Nick Frost (Ed)'s claim that the difficulty in shooting a scene with a dog was due to the fact that dogs can't look up.

  • Because of the timing and the indisputable similarity of the names, the distributors were forced to hold the film back until two weeks after Dawn of the Dead (2004) was released in the UK.

  • Shaun works at Foree Electronics. Ken Foree was one of the stars of Dawn of the Dead (1978).

  • The phrase "fried gold" originated behind the scenes of Simon Pegg, Jessica Stevenson and Edgar Wright's sitcom "Spaced" (1999) and was mentioned several times on the DVD commentaries for that series. It makes several fan-pleasing appearances in the film.

  • At one point, a zombie can be glimpsed wearing a yellow cycling helmet and lycra shorts. He's played by comedian Michael Smiley, who made appearances in "Spaced" (1999) as a bicycle courier named Tyres.

  • At one point, Ed ( Nick Frost) warns Shaun's mum ( Penelope Wilton): We're coming to get you, Barbara. This line is a reference to a line from the beginning of George Romero's seminal zombie movie Night of the Living Dead (1968).

  • The game that Ed (Nick Frost) is playing throughout the movie is Timesplitters 2 (2002) (VG). The Timesplitters themselves are dimension-hopping zombies.

  • The zombie that Shaun (Simon Pegg) and Ed (Nick Frost) find in their garden is Mary, the checkout girl from the film's credit montage. A short story detailing her transformation into one of the undead was featured in prog 1384 of classic British sci-fi comic 2000AD. The issue went on sale 7 April 2004. The strip was called There's Something About Mary and was written by Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright (the film's co-writers) with art by Frazer Irving.

  • At the end of the film, as Shaun (Simon Pegg) flicks through TV channels, a voice can be heard saying that claims that the epidemic was due to rage infected monkeys have now been dismissed as b.. Liz turns off before the voice can finish the sentence. The voice is referencing 28 Days Later... (2002), another British zombie movie.

  • All of the newsreaders and television presenters are real people portraying themselves.

  • Shaun (Simon Pegg) complains that Ed (Nick Frost) isn't his boyfriend, then says, Thanks, babe. In "Spaced" (1999) series 1, a conversation begins in a similar manner between the two actors (Alright, babe?)

  • The distributor/production logos at the start have an excerpt from The Gonk by H. Chappell played over them. This track was used to great effect in Dawn of the Dead (1978).

  • When flicking through the Yellow Pages, Shaun finds the number for the restaurant that does all the fish. It's called Fulci's Restaurant - a reference to Italian horror director Lucio Fulci.

  • Nick Frost (Ed) apparently kept his genitals shaved throughout the production to create a genuine need to scratch that the character demanded.

  • The posters in Shaun's living room are all of artists on the Ninja Tune record label, these include Funki Porcini and The Herbaliser.

  • When the Universal logo appears at the start of the film, the music playing is taken from the soundtrack to the original Dawn of the Dead (1978). Also, the end credits feature a new recording of the infamous shopping-mall music from the same film.

  • The TV news reports Shaun and Ed watch feature an anchorman who utters the exact same phrases as the TV reporter in Night of the Living Dead (1968).

  • When Shaun's girlfriend objects to going out to The Winchester he suggest a few other pubs one of which is The Shepherds, which actually use to be Simon Pegg's local pub in Highgate until it was closed and re-opened as a Themed-bar.

  • When Shaun comes into work, one of his co-workers mentions something about someone named Ash calling out from work. Ash is the name of Bruce Campbell's character in the Evil Dead trilogy.

  • The choreographed pool-cue beating of the zombie in the Winchester (synchronized to the Queen soundtrack) is a carefully referenced homage to the balletic assault on the homeless man in Clockwork Orange, A (1971)

  • The line get behind me, get behind me when fighting off the zombies in the pub is a direct lift of Han Solo's line in Star Wars (1977).

  • Chris Martin of Coldplay, who appears as himself on a news report near the end of the film promoting ZombAid, also plays a zombie. After Shaun and Liz escape from the basement of The Winchester, he can be seen playing the zombie walking past the phone box from right to left.

  • Shaun berates Ed for calling the creatures "zombies" (which they are, of course). This may be referring to the fact that many zombie movies (including Night of the Living Dead (1968) and Resident Evil (2002)) never mention the word "zombie" at all. More likely this is a reference to Danny Boyle - director of 28 Days Later... (2002) - and his insistence that it isn't a zombie movie.

  • When Shaun finds his zombie house mate in the shower he utters the words "Join us" in a half whispered tone. This is a reference to the first two Evil Dead films where the zombies are always asking Ash (also mentioned in the department store) to "join us".

  • The non-featured zombie extras were paid the princely sum of £1 a day for their troubles.

  • The scene in which Shaun and Liz leave the basement via the lift through the hatch into smoke and orange light, turning as they do so, is a direct reference to a scene in Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980) when Lando leaves the Millennium Falcon to rescue Luke.

  • When Shaun's flat-mate Pete answers his mobile phone near the beginning of the movie he says, "Hi Dom." This is a reference to "Spaced" (1999), where he uses the same greeting.

  • The name of the pub is The Winchester. Knowing the writers' fondness for film and TV references from "Spaced" (1999), this is likely to be a reference to the pub/club in "Minder" (1979).

  • Members of the band, the Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster, also feature as zombie extras. A song of theirs, "Mr Mental", is featured on the soundtrack album.

  • Before the line "He's got an arm off" is shouted, you can see a poster of a bleeding cartoon schoolgirl in the background. This is the promotional artwork from the Japanese film Batoru rowaiaru (2000).

  • When Shaun is riding the bus to work, the person in front of him is listening to Zombie Nation - Kernkraft 400.

  • The pizza company that is seen on and off throughout the film (take-away place next to the corner shop, the pizza box sitting in the lounge and the various delivery men) is called Bub's Pizzas, a reference to Day of the Dead and the smarter-than-average zombie, Bub.

  • Director Cameo: [ Edgar Wright] during the "Remembering Z-Day montage, there is a long shot of the zombies walking through a park, Edgar is the one in Black who falls over himself.

  • Among the voices in the news reports you hear on television and radio you hear David Walliams on a TV news broadcast, Mark Gatiss on the radio, Keith Chegwin hosting the "Fun Dead" programme, and Rob Brydon voicing the "Zombies From Hell" show at the end. Also, the voice heard at the end dismissing the infected monkeys being the cause is Edgar Wright.

  • The Winchester Rifle used in the Winchester pub was the same type of weapon featured in the original Night of the Living Dead.

Writer/star Simon Pegg and writer/director Edgar Wright

Working Title Films usually means British romantic comedy, and 50% of the time it means Hugh Grant. Well, there’s no Hugh Grant in Shaun of the Dead, but it does purport to be a romantic comedy. A zombie romantic comedy more specifically, combining the two genres.

Simon Pegg stars as Shaun, a drunken slacker who loses his girlfriend because he can’t leave the pub long enough to give her the attention she needs. But when a zombie apocalypse happens (which he doesn’t notice for the entire first act), Shaun’s first priority is to rescue his girlfriend. Therefore, the zombie apocalypse meets British romantic comedy.

Co-written by Pegg and director Edgar Wright, the duo behind Brittan’s Spaced, Shaun of the Dead opens in America on September 24. The two met with me at the Mondrian hotel on Sunset, though Pegg was a bit low key, still suffering jet lag from a redeye the night before.

What is the tone of the film?

Edgar Wright: Well, it’s a horror comedy, but I’d say it’s more of a comedy than a horror. It’s a strange one because it’s not really a spoof because part of the point in the film is that the zombie epidemic is deadly serious. And the zombies aren’t really funny.

It’s not a spoof, but it’s not like Scream either.

EW: No, because we wanted to try and find our own spin on it. Even though I love the first Scream, we thought the whole thing of doing a self-reflexive film where the characters are saying, “Oh, remember what they did in Dawn of the Dead? Did you ever see this one movie?” We didn’t want to do any of that kind of stuff because we felt post-Scream it’s getting a little bit done. And part of the point of the film is that while it’s a comedy, it’s very reverential to the George Romero films in terms of it works within the same logic and it works within his world. But the characters that we happen to be following and their reactions to the crisis are what’s funny. So the zombies aren’t really funny. It’s all about the characters and their reaction. That was the idea really. So we hesitate, we certainly don’t use the word spoof.

Simon Pegg: The only spoof I think is the title, which was just we thought of very early on and it kind of stuck. Because once the word got out that we were making Shaun of the Dead, we didn’t want people to think we were backtracking or changing our minds. You always worry about films when you hear about them making decisions after announcements are made. People don’t really know what they’re making. So we doggedly stuck to what is essentially the worst joke in the film.

EW: As they said in Variety, “The weakest joke in the film is the title.” Yeah. It’s funny because in the UK where it’s a bit more known, people were more aware of what it was going to be like. But it’s interesting, like as soon as we finished it, we sent a print to George Romero, because we kind of thought, “If I was George Romero and I heard about a film being made called Shaun of the Dead, I’d be thinking what the fuck is that?” So we sent it to him and straight away he was like, “Oh, it’s great.”

SP: Because there have been- -

EW: Night of the Living Bread/

SP: I think he was assuming it was going to be a similarly low budget, affectionate spoof when in actual fact, it was a much bigger- -

EW: Reverential.

Were there any other title suggestions?

EW: At one point, it was Tea Time of the Dead, but we thought that was a bit too quaint.

SP: Dave of the Dead was a [possibility].

EW: We want to do a sequel, M. Night of the Living Dead. Because he loves acting. You see him in Signs. He likes his cameos. He could play the lead character, M. Night of the Living Dead is the sequel.

SP: Or From Dusk ‘Til Shaun.

EW: I’ll tell you what it was. It was a working title because we thought if we had a character that was called Shaun, then hopefully some enterprising subeditor of a magazine, when reviewing the film, would have a caption and they’d put “Shaun of the Dead.” And it kind of just stuck really.

How long could you tease the zombies before it actually happened?

Simon Pegg: We wanted to keep it going for- -

Edgar Wright: As long as possible.

SP: As long as it was feasible. The whole point is that in London, the way people are, they’re just very insular and no one ever looks at each other. You don’t look at each other on the subway. You literally step over people with their hands in the air every day asking for money. There’s this thing of you can live in a city and be completely alone, not notice anything going on around you.

EW: Spend the entire day without talking to somebody or looking someone in the eye.

SP: That’s what we wanted to get across in that moment, particularly when Shaun goes to the shop when he’s all hung over. He doesn’t notice any of the zombies around him just because he never had before, so why should he at that point?

EW: Even though it’s a comedy, it’s kind of like one of the more serious things of people being like sort of quite a blinkard existence and walking around sort of in a bubble of their own problems. One of the things that inspired the film was around the time, it was at the foot and mouth crisis in the UK. I remember not reading the papers for like two weeks. And then the first thing that I heard about it was when I saw footage on TV of burning cattle. And I was like, “What’s going on?” And I had to ask somebody. There was the embarrassment of having to ask somebody what was going on. So we liked the idea, in terms of Shaun and Ed, it’s not like the TV doesn’t know what’s going on. It’s just they’ve missed that bit. I just think that’s interesting, with CNN and stuff, there could be some crisis happening and if you come in halfway through a report, you have to wait like half an hour to find out what exactly is happening again. So it’s like Shaun and Ed have missed that bit.

Why did you stick with classic slow zombies instead of new, slick aggressive zombies?

SP: Because they’re just not as good.

They’re more effective.

SP: I don't think they are. As a certain kind of threat, as monsters from the id, they’re more affective as aggressive killing machines, but I think the whole point of the zombie as Romero framed it was that it’s us. They’re like larva. They just keep coming.

EW: That encroaching nightmare logic.

SP: They’re much scarier because they aren’t aggressive. They hone in on you and stuff, but they’re zombies anyway. There’s no moral agenda there. They’re not evil, they’re not governed by some scientist. They just do what they do. They’re us. They’re death personified. I always think the great example is that we could have one in a room with us here now. We could probably still conduct the interview just by walking around and avoiding it. But eventually you’d have to go to sleep and that’s when it would get you.

EW: Also, I think the other thing with like 28 Days Later and the Dawn of the Dead remake is one of the great things about the original films is the zombies had personality. When you have the running piranha attack style zombies, it almost inadvertently creates this zombie master race because when you have running zombies, you don’t get the fat zombie, you don’t get the kid zombies, you don’t get the elderly zombies. In the Dawn of the Dead remake, all the zombies were between 18-35 and six feet fall, and mostly all like stuntmen and stuff.

SP: And also, isn’t the root of the word zombie from somnambulist, which means sleepwalker. By the very running immediately stops them from being zombies.

How many background gags do you think the audience will miss?

Simon Pegg: 47.

Edgar Wright: Well, we designed it very much to be A, being a fan of films like Raising Arizona which has a lot of little details to pick up on and repeat viewing kind of stuff, but also being fans of DVDs, there’s a lot of stuff going on, particularly in the first half which prefigures what’s going to happen later. So some of them are very gettable, like when Ed says talking about with an argument with Peter, “The next time I seem him, he’s dead.” Some of them are more obvious, and then there are more subtle ones. So we definitely wanted to do that, especially in a first half hour which kind of is insidious where you think, “Where exactly is this going? Is this like a straight rom-com?” There are some strange things going on in the background.    A lot of the dialogue, some obvious things that reoccur, like “You’ve got red on you” and stuff. But there are some more subtle ones in there as well, so I hope if people enjoy the film, they’re going to see it a second time on DVD later, they’ll sit there going, “Oh, right.”

SP: Also, if you watch the film once, there are lots of things that you won’t get because there are punch lines in the first act, the setup to which isn’t until the second act. Like for instance, everyone in the opening credits you see, you eventually see again as a zombie. And you probably wouldn’t really notice them, particularly in the opening credits because they’re just people on their phones walking around. When you watch it again, you go, “Oh, there’s the guy from the pub at the end and there’s the guy from the garden.” So we filled it. Both me and Edgar are firm believers in never underestimating or talking down to an audience, and giving an audience something to do, to give them something which is entirely up to them to enter into the film and find these hidden things and whatever. And I think when you do that, it’s a far more gratifying experience to watch. People are constantly just spoon fed mindless rubbish because it’s easy to just sit there like a zombie and consume it. Whereas if you actually have to go in there and get your mind working, you feel like you’ve had a nice meal.

EW: It’s also one of those things actually with the script, when we were developing it and getting it financed, some people completely got it and other people didn’t get it at all. Mainly because if you speed read it and skip the stage directions which say what’s going on in the background, a lot of the jokes, particularly in the first half, are about the context. Shaun is walking to the shops hung over, but what’s funny is what’s going on in the background. So it’s kind of like two levels of things going on really. So we definitely wanted to make a comedy that has a lot of detail to it.

Did you cast any of your friends as zombies?

EW: Oh yeah. We had all friends and family. The zombies were made up, because it was a low budget film, we had some proper actor and specialized extras and stunt men and physical performers. Even amputee stuntmen and dancers and all sorts of things, circus performers. But then a lot of the other zombies were like fans of the show that we did in the UK. We put a thing out on the website in the UK. Also it was on Ain’t it Cool News. They printed this thing like a call to arms, like “Have you ever wanted to be a zombie? Would you like to be in a film?” So through that, our hotmail account just melted down, but before it melted down, we had like 1000 replies. So a lot of the big crowd scenes are made up of fans of both stuff that we’d done before or just zombies. It’s one of those things like whenever people say “Oh, do you want to be in a film, do you want to be in this scene?” And people get wise to when somebody says “be in a film”, it means that they’re going to be sitting in the back of a restaurant for 12 hours doing nothing, pretending to have a meal and getting really bored and saying “I’m never helping out on a film ever again.” At least being a zombie is a pretty fun extra thing to do because at least you get to get covered in blood, do the funny walk.

SP: It got to the point when we were doing some of the crowd scenes outside that we were filming in an area where there were lots of kids and they all got in on it as well. My mom’s in it, my sister’s in it, your brother’s in it. We’ve got friends in it. There are actually quite high profile British TV star cameos in it that you probably wouldn’t even notice, that the British wouldn’t even notice, let alone the American audience.

Did you ever have the same person doubled as more than one zombie?

EW: I don't think there is actually.

SP: We didn’t need to double up. There were so many willing cadavers.

Why did you continue beating the zombies with blunt objects and never learn to impale them?

Edgar Wright: Well, there’s one particular bit, obviously in the Queen scene, that’s kind of a bit of artistic license because I sort of choreographed to the song. But I think it’s because maybe… it’s a good point.

Simon Pegg: Your instinct, rather than precision stabbing, is more about just random bludgeoning.

EW: He impaled the [one] guy, didn’t he?

SP: Yeah, then that doesn’t kill him.

EW: It doesn’t work, it doesn’t kill him.

SP: You bash their brains in or whatever and I don't think their as clinical to cut heads off or anything like that. And also, obviously in America, everyone carries a 9. In England, we don’t have any guns whatsoever.

EW: But that was one of the central jokes that we really wanted to do, we always wanted to do for a long time, which is I like the idea that when Shaun finally gets a rifle, his aim is absolutely appalling.

Because that is exactly what I would be like. I play so many Playstation games and watch hundreds of John Woo films, but if somebody gave me an automatic, I wouldn’t know how to take the safety off. I just know if I was in that situation with a rifle, and a zombie like here, I would miss. I would totally miss.

How much fun did you have beating zombies?

SP: It was a lot of fun. It was great. I mean, it was tiring because it was summer. We had to do lots of takes.

EW: The Queen scene was particularly tough, the scene beating up the bartender, because it’s like a steadicam shot and getting the timing all right. That actor playing John the bartender is a 72-year-old stuntman. And we really wanted to use a stuntman that was that age because we didn’t want to use a double. But obviously for him as well it was pretty tough all day. The spectacle of spending the entire day hitting a 72-year-old man in the head.

Was it hard to get the rights to Queen?

EW: No, we paid for it. With some of the things that were written into the script like Queen and “White Lines,” and things that were in there from the first draft. And other things come up later, say, like Chicago was a later thing. Even using the Queen song in the end credits came about because we had already said that we were going to use “Don’t Stop Me Now” and then we were listening to the greatest hits and “You’re My Best Friend” thinking, “Hang on a second. These lyrics are really spot on for the end of the film.” So the music thing is really important to us. It’s an organic thing, like I’d be sitting in a café and “Ghost Town” by the Specials comes on, I’m thinking, “Hang on a second. This should be at the start of the film.”

Is David based on Alan Rickman?

EW: No, not really. I think it’s more based on A, it’s an amalgam of some people we know, but it’s more based on Dustin Hoffman’s character from Straw Dogs. Like the kind of mild mannered pacifist who’s always right. It’s based partly on that and based partly on Harry from Night of the Living Dead. In terms of the guy who’s always right but his way of talking about it is really tactless. Actually David, who seems like the idiot in the film, but actually everything he says is spot on about what’s happening. And it’s just the fact that he talks sense but being tactless is his greatest crime.

How did you pitch this to Working Title?

SP: They pitched it to us. Well, they came to us.

EW: It was originally with Film Four because we did a show with Channel Four in the UK. And Film Four briefly went bust, but I think Working Title [was appropriate because] aside from being a zombie film, it’s supposed to be like a satire on the tradition of British rom-com of which Working Title, that’s their biggest export. But I think what was really cool when they picked up the film is that they totally understood that and wanted to do it. And so I think it’s nice that on the one hand, they can make Love Actually. On the other hand, this is like a more subversive English comedy. So I think they just got into it. We were sort of really pleasantly surprised at how they, unlike some other companies, completely got it.

Is the line about the infected monkey rumor a stab at 28 Days Later?

EW: Oh yeah, totally. That was a joke that came up later. We’ve actually got to know Andrew Macdonald, the producer of 28 Days Later quite well, and he really laughed at that. That was our little jibe at 28 Days Later, rage infected monkeys. It’s my voice as well doing that.

Were you ever going to reveal the cause of the outbreak?

EW: No.

SP: Wasn’t important.

EW: When we had the first script meeting with Film Four, the only script note they had was they said, “You have to explain the zombies.” And the thing is that in any zombie film, a lot of the zombie films the explanation is always different. It’s like a meteor, a satellite, gas, crop spraying chemicals. It doesn’t matter. It’s just a Macguffin.

SP: It’s not relevant.

EW: It’s a waste of screen time.

SP: The point is that they’re there.