Simon Pegg has fans of his own now, but he remembers his own days as a fan, including lining up to get autographs of his favorite actors.
In Pegg’s most recent book, Nerd Do Well, Pegg shares his view of Hollywood and the movie industry, both as a fan and now as someone who works in Hollywood.
Pegg grew up watching zombies, superheroes and sci-fi films, and spoke about what attracts people to the escapist films. “It goes back to Jean Baudrillard, his thoughts about infantilism,” he said. “It’s safe to say he’s one of the few movie actors to bring up the French social theorist during an interview.
“If you look at the majority of popular cinema, it’s all very childish stuff,” he said. “It’s adults going to see men in tights and flying saucers. It’s all about keeping us in a state of childlike wonder, because it’s easier. … We look to childish things as a means of keeping ourselves feeling secure.”
A Star Wars fan since childhood, Pegg was disappointed with The Phantom Menace. “I felt indignant,” he said. “I felt I’d put all that work in, spent all that money on merchandise, all the time and emotional investment — and it was crap. It’s a terrible film, and I think it retroactively damaged the first three.”
Pegg went to a San Diego Comic-Con as both an actor and a fan; signing autographs and then lining up to get an autograph from Star War‘s Carrie Fisher. He also felt an actor and a fan’s delight when Dawn of The Dead‘s George Romero complimented him on Shaun of the Dead. Pegg is an avid zombie fan.
According to Pegg, zombies are his favorite monsters due to their similarity to humans. “More than vampires, more than werewolves, more than any other monster, they’re just us,” he explained. “They’ve got no superpowers, they’re weak. They’re a paradox in a way, because they’re not very threatening. You could be in this room now with a zombie and you could avoid it — but eventually you would have to go to sleep, and then it would eat you.”
Next up for Pegg is The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn. How does Pegg feel about being an actor and working with his childhood heroes? “Somewhere in me, there is a little kid leaping up and down going, ‘I can’t believe this is happening!'”