Simon Pegg, best known to Star Trek fans as Scotty in Star Trek XI, is starring in John Landis‘ black comedy Burke And Hare, the story of two grave robbers turned serial killers.
In Edinburgh, Scotland, between 1827-1828, William Burke and William Hare murdered seventeen people so that they could sell the bodies of the victims to Edinburgh Medical College for research purposes.
Although the subject of the movie is murder, expect humor, says Pegg, who plays Burke. “This isn’t a gag-heavy script, but it’s darkly funny,” he said. “It’s a bit horrible at times. The comedy comes out of the situation and it’s all about their blasé attitude towards what they were doing. I would say that, tonally, American Werewolf is the closest thing to this.”
Pegg can joke about most things, including the scene where Burke has his date with the hangman. “I’m always slightly worried about putting a noose around my neck,” he said, “in any situation!”
Burke and Hare were murderers, but that doesn’t make them unsympathetic characters. “Hare’s the mastermind, the schemer,” said Pegg. “Burke’s a little more of a frustrated romantic. But they weren’t hand-rubbing, evil villains; they kind of fell into it, really. They felt they were justified. The movie dares you to be sympathetic towards them and, quite cannily, actually feel a little for them. And you constantly have to keep going, ‘No! They’re bad!'”
Burke And Hare will be released in October in the United Kingdom.