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Edgar Wright on Scott Pilgrim vs. The World

Published August 9, 2010 in Movie Interviews
By Fred Topel | Image property of Universal Pictures
Scott Pilgrim vs. The World Poster Scott Pilgrim vs. The World
Any film adaptation of a comic book, or any other work, will by nature have to be different. Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World is part of a growing trend where the comic books weren’t finished when they were making the movie. (See also Kick-Ass and Wanted.) Writer/director Edgar Wright kept making changes to the script as new issues came out.

Wright Directs Scott Pilgrim vs. The World

“At first, there was the first book and the script for the second book and bios for the other exes,” Wright said. “Then that kind of turned into Bryan [Lee O’Malley] sketched out the art for the six books. Now, some of these things changed. In fact the ending changed a number of times. There are things that are in the film that aren’t in the books, which refer to his original outlines. Even the whole way the Katayanagi twins scene works in the film rather than the books is based on Bryan’s original description of the Katayanagi twins, which is that they are an electro-duo from Japan. Now, that’s not in book five but as soon as I read that I was like, ‘Oh, there like a Japanese craft-work,’ you know, they can be like these futuristic electro artists.”

The title character has to fight the seven evil exes of his new girlfriend. The fights are inspired by the video game culture in which Scott, and the creators and the audience, have been immersed.

“I guess structurally what we had to do was take the video thing further is to make it seven levels and try to mix up the fighting styles so that it wasn’t repetitious, so that really Scott Pilgrim only has extended fist fights in the first and last battle. The second one turns into something else, the third one is a music battle, fourth isn’t a fight with him at all and he refuses to take part, he sits it out essentially. Then the fifth one is between Sex Bob-omb and a band. We tried to structurally mesh Scott Pilgrim projection through his labors of Hercules with Sex Bob-omb and their battle of the bands so that the ensemble could stay within the film all the way through. And there was some kind of passage with Sex Bob-omb as well as Scott Pilgrim, so there were two sub-plots and the idea of Gideon being involved in that. This was something we mapped out having read all of Bryan’s arcs and he was kind of party to all the way through and involved with.”

O’Malley himself was involved in many of the changes. “We’ve finished the film with Bryan’s help and literally him putting his own full stop by him rewriting some of the last scenes with us, which is great. They are two different things, they are slightly bizarro versions of each other and the film is as different to the book as the video game is different than the books. There’s three different mediums. The book will always be cannon, it's never going to go anywhere. And if people watch the film and never have read the book, and then go and buy Bryan’s books, fantastic! They have got a whole world to discover. I always felt that that was the thing.”

Wright added some jokes that could only work in movie form, with sound effects, editing and screen ratios. Likewise, he left some things in literary form. “There are obviously amazing bits in the book, but the scene in Honest Ed’s could only work in comic book form. Even the jokes that change because if you think about it, the Mr. Silly's Shoes joke that’s in volume one, there is no way to make that work in live action. I love it but you can’t do that in live action, it only works in pen strokes. There are some things that just didn’t work in live action. I’m pleased the film is the 'choose your own adventure' version of the books. Scott Pilgrim, because of the time compression, makes slightly different choices, which in the time compression itself leads to different kind of outcomes. By bringing everything into 10 days means the outcome of Knives' story is very different to the books because something that’s resolved in volume two is not resolved until the last scene of the film.”

Scott Pilgrim vs The World opens to theaters on August 13th.

For the poster, trailers and more movie info, go to the Scott Pilgrim vs The World Movie Page.
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Compiled By (Sources)
Fred Topel
Sources: Image property of Universal Pictures

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