We'll get to the notes in a minute.© 2010 Universal Studios www.scottpilgrimthemovie.com
But first, a word from our director/producer/co-writer, EDGAR WRIGHT:
"I first heard of Scott Pilgrim in 2004 when BRYAN LEE O'MALLEY's recently released first volume was pressed into my hands. Given that my previous work has strived to mix up the mundane with the insane, I was hooked immediately. I loved Bryan's use of manga and video-game iconography to depict the emotions of these young characters.
"Adapting these books was a gift, as they are not only funny, charming and relatable, but have increasingly crazy diversions into the fantastical. To be able to do romance, comedy, action and fantasy in the same feature was an intriguing challenge.
"The best way to describe the world of Scott Pilgrim vs. the World is that it's a normal world of a normal young man, filtered through his overactive imagination. Bryan Lee O'Malley describes Scott as 'the hero of the movie in his own head.' My goal is to make that very movie.
"The emotions and interactions throughout the film are infused with the mass media that this generation has grown up with--not just in music, film and animation, but in over 30 years of video games. Our characters' life experiences are completely governed by the enormous amount of time they've spent with their Nintendo consoles. For the twentysomething characters in the film, the incidental music for 'Zelda' is as resonant as nursery rhymes.
"In the world of Scott Pilgrim, minor disagreements are resolved in mortal combat. Our hero is thrown into a world of pain when he dates the girl of his dreams. The mysterious Ramona Flowers has something of a hex on her where her seven evil exes challenge her new boyfriend to a series of duels to the death. Many people have jumped through many hoops to pursue someone unobtainable. Scott must literally fight for his new relationship if he wants it to survive.
"The increasingly crazy events of the film are almost the result of wild exaggeration. When teens or twentysomethings describe the events of a night out, they are usually blown out of all proportion. My take on the fights in the film is that they are hugely amplified versions of events. Someone might gossip about the 'huge fight' that broke out the night before. And here we see the huge version of that fight.
"The fight sequences in Scott Pilgrim play out like big production numbers. In our film, people break out into fights the same way they explode into a song and dance number in a musical. When the emotion is too great to convey in mere words, characters in a musical will sing out. In Scott Pilgrim, they throw down.
"The film is set in a world of first apartments, crappy bands, thrift stores and coffee shops that we all know and love. It covers young love, loud music and big emotions. We see the world through a cast of young people who have a lot to give and a lot to learn. Oh, and people totally explode into coins."
NOW, HERE WE GO…
Meet charming and jobless Scott Pilgrim (MICHAEL CERA of Juno, Superbad). A bass guitarist for garage band Sex Bob-omb, the 22-year-old has just met the girl of his dreams...literally. The only catch to winning the elusive, mysterious Ramona Flowers (MARY ELIZABETH WINSTEAD of Live Free or Die Hard, upcoming The Thing)? Her seven evil exes are coming to kill him.
Scott Pilgrim has never had a problem getting a girlfriend. It's getting rid of them that proves difficult. From the girl who kicked his heart's ass--and now is back in town--to the teenage distraction he's trying to shake when Ramona rollerblades into his world, love hasn't been easy. He soon discovers, however, his new crush has the most unusual baggage of all: a nefarious league of exes controls her love life and will do whatever it takes to eliminate him as a suitor.
As Scott gets closer to Ramona, he must face an increasingly vicious rogues' gallery from her past--from infamous skateboarders to vegan rock stars and fearsome identical twins. And if he hopes to win his true love, he must vanquish them all before it really is game over.
Joining Cera and Winstead for the principal cast of Scott Pilgrim vs. the World are KIERAN CULKIN (Igby Goes Down, The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys) as Scott's awesome roommate, Wallace Wells; CHRIS EVANS (The Losers, upcoming Captain America: The First Avenger) as pro-skateboarder/action star Lucas Lee; ANNA KENDRICK (Up in the Air, Twilight series) as Scott's younger, not-putting-up-with-it sister, Stacey Pilgrim; BRIE LARSON (television's United States of Tara, Greenberg) as the girl who kicked Scott's heart in the ass, rocker chick Envy Adams; ALISON PILL (Milk, Pieces of April) as Sex Bob-omb's disaffected drummer, Kim Pine; AUBREY PLAZA (Funny People, television's Parks and Recreation) as Stephen Stills' obnoxious sometime-girlfriend Julie Powers; BRANDON ROUTH (Superman Returns, Zack and Miri Make a Porno) as power vegan bassist Todd Ingram; JASON SCHWARTZMAN (Funny People, Fantastic Mr. Fox) as the leader of the League of Evil Exes, Gideon Graves; JOHNNY SIMMONS (Jennifer's Body, Hotel for Dogs) as Sex Bob-omb super fan Young Neil; MARK WEBBER (Broken Flowers, The Memory Thief) as the band's lead singer/songwriter, Stephen Stills; MAE WHITMAN (television's Parenthood, Arrested Development) as Ramona's scorned ex-girlfriend Roxy; and newcomer ELLEN WONG as Scott's high-school crush, Knives Chau.
Smashing Genres: Scott Pilgrim Begins
Producer Marc Platt was introduced to Bryan Lee O'Malley's graphic novel series when his colleagues Jared LeBoff and Adam Siegel brought O'Malley's first
"Scott Pilgrim" book to his attention in 2004. "I was immediately struck by the buoyancy and vibrancy of the material and how it seemed to capture a moment in time and a generation of characters that were relatable," Platt recalls. "They're living in this world that is part comic book, part ninja, part kung fu, part anime, part manga. Yet, at the heart of it are these appealing, accessible kids that you recognize, who have accessible and emotional journeys."
Platt found the characters in O'Malley's comics so relatable that he believed they would translate well on film. He notes: "I was moved by the angst of Scott Pilgrim, his romantic yearnings for the girl of his dreams. He has to overcome challenges in order to get where he wants to go."
Soon after they had seen Edgar Wright's first feature-length film, Shaun of the Dead, LeBoff and Siegel suggested to Platt that the genre-fusing filmmaker direct the material the team had optioned. Platt acknowledges: "I recognized immediately that the sensibility Edgar would apply to this material was a combustible combination. The moment he said he was interested, the excitement that I had over the source material quadrupled. He works harder than any filmmaker I know, and the work paid off because it's a complex film where everything has to dovetail into the next piece. Edgar has thought about every piece so it fits perfectly. He is meticulous in his preparation, inspires fun and loves the characters and the material."
Co-writer/director Wright learned of the property in 2004 when O'Malley's first book, Oni Press' "Scott Pilgrim's Precious Little Life," was given to him by LeBoff and Siegel at an L.A. preview screening of Shaun of the Dead. "It had only just been released, and these two enterprising fellows said it was perfect material for me," Wright says. "The book then sat in my bag for at least a month of the Shaun U.S. press tour before I finally read the now-battered copy on a flight. I was thoroughly enjoying it from the first page but then was utterly hooked by the time it came to the scene where Scott Pilgrim receives a written warning of his impending death by e-mail. Even before I'd finished the first volume, I was trying to imagine how it could work as live action."
Wright was impressed not only by the story, but by the video-game and manga iconography that O'Malley used to underscore the extreme emotions and melodrama the characters experience. He continues: "It actually reminded me of the TV series I did with Simon Pegg and Jessica Hynes called Spaced. I had longed to do something that took the magical realism of that show even further. I was excited to take on the challenge of bringing the books to life and some of the more insane action sequences to the big screen. I've always strived in my career to make comedy visually interesting, and this adaptation was the great chance to let my imagination run wild."
Joining Wright in his latest endeavor would be his longtime producer Nira Park. The head of Big Talk Productions entered into her fourth collaboration with Wright on Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. "Edgar and I have worked together since the television series Spaced. To see the growth he's achieved from that show to his acclaimed efforts as director of Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz has been astonishing. All of our projects have been labors of love, and Scott is the culmination of that partnership."
Adapting the novels into a screenplay became a joint effort when writer/performer Michael Bacall joined the team to co-author the script with Wright. Bacall remembers the five-year-plus writing process that began before Wright shot his sophomore effort, the action-comedy hit Hot Fuzz: "We collaborated in every way possible--trans-continentally, in the same room; he'd type with his left hand, I'd type with my right. The 'Battleship' thing with laptop to laptop. We'd write consecutive scenes, then trade and rewrite. Sometimes, we'd even write the same scene concurrently and see where that took us."
By his fellow screenwriter's account, Wright is intensely driven by vision and passion for his projects. As they created the structure for the script that began to mirror a video game--with Scott having to perform evermore death-defying feats to win--Bacall found a kindred spirit. "Collaborating with Edgar, who is highly self-motivated and has an indomitable work ethic, was truly inspiring," the writer adds. "The man doesn't sleep. His focus on every detail of story and script made for an exciting process. We both enjoy the adrenaline rush that comes from a tight deadline and a quadruple espresso."
When the author of "Scott Pilgrim" was approached about translating his graphic novel series into a film, he had just completed the first book and wasn't sure where the rest were going thematically. Bryan O'Malley laughs: "I pretended I knew and then wrote an outline for them." Of his process of creating each successive graphic novel, he offers, "It's like writing a script to begin with, but the next step involves a slow, fractured, confusing process of turning it into artwork."
O'Malley describes the similarity between the world of the books' characters with the one he and his friends shared in Toronto when they were in their early twenties: "Scott is a wish-fulfillment character for me. He's a bit of an idiot, happy-go-lucky; women fall for him, and he can fight like a superhero. I'd made some new friends and was in a band and thought it would be fun to make something they'd enjoy that would also reflect our lives.
"'Scott Pilgrim' has the Japanese comics, indie rock, classic rock and video games I enjoyed," he continues. "My goal was to merge these over-the-top, exciting elements with my mundane life experiences. It's a dual world of total reality and abstraction, each just as real as the other."
Oni Press' Eric Gitter served as a producer on the film and helped to bring the world of the graphic novels from page to screen. He offers: "The creators of our comics are primarily interested in telling good stories and publishing what entertains them. While I don't think Bryan envisioned 'Scott Pilgrim' as a movie when he was originally writing the comic, both are visual mediums. It's easy to see the connection and how the material was right for translation." As development progressed, Gitter was impressed by how the screenwriters were so adamant about keeping O'Malley involved as a collaborator in the screenwriting process. The producer notes: "Edgar and Michael worked very closely with Bryan when adapting the comic. They were incredibly faithful and respectful of the source material."
Wright and Bacall weren't only interested in learning where the characters would go as he wrote his next books, but they also wanted the author to serve as a guardian of all things "Scott Pilgrim." The screenwriters aimed to be as faithful as possible to O'Malley's world while expanding the stories for their medium. As their process evolved, O'Malley would create the next chapter of Scott's saga and send Wright and Bacall transcripts of the book.
"First and foremost was the challenge of how to take the sensibility and spirit of the books to the big screen," explains Wright. "Partly that was the tone of the dialogue. Bryan and I have similar senses of humor and both enjoy undercutting the most insane incidents with deadpan reactions. We also share an interest in starting a story in a naturalist world and then exploding into craziness."
With the script penned and the production greenlit, it was time to begin populating the world of Scott Pilgrim with the friends and foes of O'Malley's intricate universe.
Good Friends and Evil Exes: Casting the Action-Comedy
Casting the more than a dozen characters from the graphic novels would prove a challenge for the production. On seeing the actors chosen to become the Toronto residents of his books, O'Malley says it was, simply, "an amazing, gratifying, weird, eerie experience." Read more
We Are Sex Bob-omb!: Music of Scott Pilgrim
Throughout the history of comics and graphic novels, musical references have been a big part of the medium. So is the case with O'Malley's books, as Scott's band takes on other bands in music battles. O'Malley notes: "It's a tradition in comics, way back to 'The Archies.'" As he constructed the film, the director knew that the soundtrack of Scott Pilgrim vs. the World should reflect the universe in which Scott and his friends live, as well as speak to a generation that has grown up gaming. Wright offers: "I am a huge music fan, so the idea of blowing people back into their seats with the soundtrack appealed to me immensely." Read more
Sword Fights and Spin Kicks: Stunts of the Film
It was important to Wright that the actors did a good portion of their own fighting and that stunt teams supplemented that work. He felt that it added to the authenticity of the piece. Additionally, the cameras were set at quite wide angles, so there was simply no cheating it in a number of the key sequences. For his fights, Wright once again relied upon his childhood for ideas. He offers: "I wanted to draw inspiration from the same sources as Bryan, as I too have grown up with video games, Japanese animation and kung fu seared onto my brain." Read more
Toronto as Toronto: Locations, Design and Camera Work
Often referred to as "Hollywood North," Toronto has doubled for every major city in the United States, as well as many in Europe and Asia. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World marks one of the few times that Toronto has played itself in a major motion picture. Read more
Marshmallowing Snow: Visual Effects
Instead of the typical, technical 3-D previsualization done for many films, the previz for Scott Pilgrim was created in homage to the graphic style of O'Malley's novels, with additional animated elements inserted to round it out. During the pitching phase of the project, a black-and-white animatic was designed to give the look and feel of the first fight, the one in which Scott Pilgrim faces off against Matthew Patel. Read more
ABOUT THE FILMMAKERS
Although he is only in his mid-thirties, award-winning filmmaker EDGAR WRIGHT's (Directed by/Produced by/Screenplay by) list of credits reads like that of a seasoned veteran. With projects like the U.K. series-turned-international-cult-phenomenon Spaced, the rom-zom-com Shaun of the Dead and action-comedy opus Hot Fuzz, he's evolved from a young film geek wanting to prove himself to one of the most sought-after geeks working in film today.
Raised in Somerset, England, Wright embarked on his first epic at age 14 with a Super 8 short film titled Rolf Harris Saves the World. He continued to make many more shorts after he won a Video 8 camera in a Comic Relief contest for his film I Want to Get Into the Movies, an animated allegory about wheelchair access.
At age 20, he made A Fistful of Fingers, a no-budget feature film starring local teen actors and shot on 16mm. The unlikely British Western was put on a limited theatrical release and paved the way for his foray into television with the Paramount Comedy Channel. While there, Wright directed the fledgling sketch show Mash and Peas for future Little Britain stars Matt Lucas and David Walliams, and Asylum, for which he joined forces with future collaborators Simon Pegg and Jessica Hynes.
Still in his early 20s, Wright also directed several comedy shows for the BBC including Merry-Go-Round, Is It Bill Bailey?, Murder Most Horrid, Sir Bernard's Stately Homes and French and Saunders.
Wright gained notice in the U.K. when he directed two seasons of Spaced for Channel 4. The series, which starred Simon Pegg and Jessica Hynes, won two British Comedy Awards, was nominated for two BAFTAs and was nominated at the International Emmy Awards. Over the years, the show built an international cult following and, in 2008, Wright, along with Pegg and Hynes, embarked on a four-city tour of the U.S. in honor of the DVD release.
The series served as a launching pad for Shaun of the Dead, Wright's first feature film that he directed and co-wrote with Pegg. The film gained attention and critical praise internationally and was nominated for two BAFTAs. Named by Time magazine as one of the top-25 horror films of all time, it earned an Empire Award for Best British Film, a British Independent Film Award for Best Screenplay and a Saturn Award for Best Horror Film. Original zombie master George Romero went as far as to proclaim it as his "favorite zombie film."
In 2007, after spending two years writing and a year in production, Wright returned with Hot Fuzz, which he again directed and co-wrote with Pegg. The film grossed £21 million at the U.K. box office, topped the charts for three weeks and grossed $90 million worldwide. The film won a 2007 National Movie Award and a 2008 Empire Award, both for Best Comedy.
While his first two films made him a fan favorite, thanks in part to the notoriously fun international press tours for which he's known, Wright was also sought after by his peers. He was tapped by directors Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez to contribute the faux trailer Don't for the epic Grindhouse, and, most recently, he was brought onboard by Peter Jackson and Steven Spielberg to co-write The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn with Joe Cornish, which is currently in production with Jackson producing and Spielberg directing.
Wright's other upcoming projects include The World's End, the third film in his trilogy with Simon Pegg, the screen adaptation of Ant-Man for Marvel Studios, and Baby Driver for Working Title.
MICHAEL BACALL (Screenplay by) made his stage debut as the wicked Crocodile in a third grade production of Rudyard Kipling's How the Elephant Got His Trunk. A talent agent in the audience recommended he pursue a career in child acting. He went on to perform in several films and guest-star on iconic television shows such as The A-Team and The Wonder Years.
Bacall continued acting in film and television while attending UCLA, where he earned degrees in English literature and communications studies. Following graduation, Bacall wrote Manic, in which he co-starred with Don Cheadle, Zooey Deschanel and Joseph Gordon-Levitt. His upcoming feature film projects as a screenwriter include Psycho Funky Chimp, an original screenplay produced by Todd Phillips, and 21 Jump Street, an action-comedy produced by Neal Moritz and starring Jonah Hill. Bacall last performed on-screen for Quentin Tarantino in Grindhouse Presents: Quentin Tarantino's Death Proof and Inglourious Basterds.
BRYAN LEE O'MALLEY (Based on the Oni Press Graphic Novels by) was born in London, Ontario, Canada. He started writing stories and drawing pictures from an early age, including dozens of issues of his own superhero comics in middle school and many unfinished fantasy epics in his teens. O'Malley spent his early twenties in Toronto, where he threw himself into the world of comics and storytelling by doing minor work for Udon Studios, Marvel Comics and Oni Press. He also joined his friends' band, Imperial Otter, and continued playing with them throughout their various incarnations while living in Toronto. In 2003, his first graphic novel, "Lost at Sea," was published by Oni Press, and earned O'Malley both critical acclaim and a dedicated fanbase. O'Malley's years in Toronto were the inspiration for his next graphic novel project, an ambitious six-volume series about a twenty-something trying to date the girl of his dreams, titled "Scott Pilgrim." The first volume, "Scott Pilgrim's Precious Little Life," debuted in 2004 and the "Scott Pilgrim" series has been synonymous with O'Malley's career ever since. Noted for it's genre-bending storytelling, "Scott Pilgrim" has garnered O'Malley numerous awards and accolades, and the popular success of the series has brought comics to non-comics readers for years.
O'Malley left Toronto in 2005 shortly after marring Eisner Award-winning cartoonist Hope Larson. They currently live in Los Angeles with their dog and three cats.
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