ComingSoon.net: How did David convince you to come onto this project both as a writer and as the star? Did he just send you the script and ask?
Simon Pegg: Well I got the call and I read it again and I thought, "How is this going to work as a British set film?" because it very much had the spirit of New York in it. It had the New York Marathon, it was intrinsically New York, and at first I kind of resisted it. I was like, "Well, can't we just come shoot it here and I can play an American?" The (production) company Material are all about shooting in London, and obviously we want to keep our film industry going and make sure our crews work because they're brilliant and so I thought, "Well okay, this is a challenge then. This is going to be some hard work." It actually was easier than I thought it was, because I think London and New York have a similar sensibility. I think they have more in common with each other than say New York and L.A. in terms of the metropolitan feel of the place, so it was just the case of taking it on as a challenge, and I always like a challenge.
CS: Did anyone have worries about David being American trying to direct a British comedy?
Pegg: No, not at all. What he was doing was directing a comedy in Britain. He wasn't directing a Bollywood film, you know? The cultural difference wasn't that great, and he's a very adept comic and director.
CS: Did you actually have to create a marathon for this thing?
Pegg: Yeah, we were tied up in all sorts of nonsense. The London Marathon is sponsored by a margarine company and that entity is tied up with another film, so the rights to that event we couldn't get, so we had to invent an event which we did with the kind help of a major sports clothing company. It became this River Run, which doesn't really exist, so we shot it basically with about two hundred fifty people and then the magic of crowd replication, which you could do digitally, made it look like a real marathon.
You can read the rest of the interview at Comingsoon.net.