"Imagine the film is equidistant between Freaks and Geeks and The Matrix ..."
That's the way Edgar Wright sold cinematographer Bill Pope on Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, and that's probably the best way I can sell it to you. The quote came after a long day on the mysterious Toronto set last summer. It was day 84 of production, but director Edgar Wright looked as if he'd been working on this film his entire life. Somewhat disheveled, his messy mop of dark hair jetted out in all different directions as he delicately walked us through what we'd soon find out were the final scenes of the film. "Well I feel so bad about this because the timing of it ... literally, it'd be like showing up on the set of Empire Strikes Back for the "Luke, I am your father" scene. It's the worst timing," Wright explained as we circled the huge, neon-filled set that would host the film's climactic battle between Scott Pilgrim (Michael Cera) and Gideon Gordon Graves (Jason Schwartzman). You can see an image on the bottom of this post.
This is a big film for Wright, and an even bigger film for Universal. Those who've read Bryan Lee O'Malley's comic series (the sixth and final part is due out this summer) swear by it, and even after only spending one day on set, I can tell Wright is giving this film every ounce of his soul. The man is barely sleeping, admitting that his daily diet pretty much consists of multiple espressos and coffee. He doesn't even remember the names of the months anymore, and instead recalls the past year by pointing to the "Chris Evans month", the "May Whitman month" or the "Brandon Routh month", referring to the different actors who appeared on set to shoot their scenes during that time period. I got the sense that if he stopped for five minutes, the dude would literally drop. But the thing is: he doesn't stop.
For Wright, this isn't work. It's an addiction.