The World's End is a real pub. A number of them, in fact. It turns out that The World's End, which happens to be the title of the new Edgar Wright/Simon Pegg/Nick Frost movie, is a very popular pub name in the UK. While The World's End pub from the movie isn't real, there is a real World's End that inspired it.
That pub is in Camden, and it's located next to the movie theater that was, back in the Spaced days, equidistant between the homes of Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg. The two would meet up to go to the movies - Wright vividly recalls seeing Run Lola Run there - and would make plans to meet up at The World's End. That sentence - 'I'll meet you at The World's End' - always stuck with Wright.
Yesterday Edgar took a motley crew of nerd bloggers to visit the real The World's End. The pub is interesting; up front there's a fairly traditional English pub, but the back is an enormous space with a huge skylight that is made up to look like someone's theme park version of a British pub. The walls are lined with fake 'hip' shops (a record store, a tattoo shop, etc), and there are phony olde-timey ads on the walls. It's an extraordinary mix of legit and fake, and over it all was playing a steady stream of... death metal.
What kind of pub is The World's End? At a meet-and-greet before the outing* Nick Frost told us to bring cash in case we had a burning urge to buy coke or amphetamines. Once we got to the pub Jordan Hoffman found a guy puking in a urinal. It was about 5pm. In other words, my kind of place.
Nick Frost and Simon Pegg didn't join us for pints, but Edgar did, and after a couple of beers were downed (Hoffman claimed to have had seven in the space of about an hour and a half, but I don't trust his math), he showed us a secret. Right behind The World's End is a non-descript alley that happens to be the place where Spaced's famous finger gun fight was filmed.
Apologies to the Americans if this doesn't play right for you.
Edgar had to leave for Spaced and Shaun of the Dead's Peter Serafinowicz's 40th birthday party, but before he did he gave us the address to the famous Spaced house, and so we all got on vans provided by Focus Features and drove out to look at the place. While we were there one of the inebriated bloggers in the picture at the top of this page committed an anti-social act and urinated in the street. It was cute watching the nerd bloggers have their first beers! See if you can guess who did it.
The night ended with a visit to The Punchbowl, the semi-douchey pub owned by Guy Ritchie that was voted to have the best fish and chips in England. As the night wore on we lost people to jet lag and exhaustion and drunkeness; finall at 2am a small group of us were left in the hotel bar, trying to figure out if those two women hanging all over the gross old fat businessman were actual prostitutes. No determination was ever made, although one of them winked at me, a sure sign that there was something shady about her.
Today is the premiere of The World's End. It's the morning now and I'm heading off to Whitechapel to do what I've wanted to do on my many, many London visits - go see the Jack the Ripper sights, what little remains. The World's End has been getting very good reviews from the UK press, so I'm excited. Of course no matter how good it is, some asshole will show up in the comments and complain that this trip has colored my review of it.
The players in the photo above, left to right:
Drew McWeeny of Hitfix, Todd Brown of Twitch, Edgar Wright of A Fistful of Fingers, Harry Knowles of Ain't It Cool News, Jordan Hoffman of Screencrush, ME, Germain Lussier of Slashfilm, Alex Billington of First Showing, Eric Vespe of Ain't It Cool News, Silas Lesnick of Coming Soon and Steve 'Frosty' Weintraub of Collider.
* The meet-and-greet was quick, but Simon Pegg had two interesting things to say, none of which I recorded and thus all of which he can now deny. One thing he said was that he doesn't really want to be in Star Wars, because his presence would be distracting ("Look, it's that twat who hates Star Wars" was the quote, I believe) and he feels like JJ Abrams should cast the movie with largely unknowns. He did admit he'd happily show up under a helmet or make-up.
The other thing he said that was interesting was a defense of his 'It's not Khan' lie in the press. You could tell Pegg was sort of bummed out about how that all went down, in that he didn't want to be seen as the guy who was deceiving fans or the press. He has real fandom in him. At the same time, he didn't want to let the cat out of the bag, and he knew that if he answered 'It could be' or 'I'm not saying' to the question of 'Is it Khan?' that would be the same thing as just confirming Khan. He wanted to let us know that he didn't plan on lying in any more interviews.