Scott Pilgrim vs. The World Cast
: Michael Cera, Mary Elizabeth WinsteadDirector
: Edgar Wright Genre
: Action, Adventure, Comedy, Fantasy, RomanceRated
: Scott Pilgrim (Cera) 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 (Winstead) 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 control her love life and will do whatever it takes to eliminate him as a suitor.Release Date
: August 12th, 2010Smashing 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 Bryan Lee 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," Marc 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 recognise, who have accessible and emotional journeys."
Marc Platt found the characters in Bryan Lee 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, Jared LeBoff and Adam Siegel suggested to Marc Platt that the genre-fusing filmmaker direct the material the team had optioned. Marc Platt acknowledges: "I recognised immediately that the sensibility Edgar Wright 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 Wright 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 Edgar Wright learned of the property in 2004 when Bryan Lee O'Malley's first book, Oni Press' "Scott Pilgrim's Precious Little Life," was given to him by Jared LeBoff and Adam 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," Edgar 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."
Edgar Wright was impressed not only by the story, but by the video-game and manga iconography that Bryan Lee 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 Edgar Wright in his latest endeavor would be his longtime producer Nira Park. The head of Big Talk Productions entered into her fourth collaboration with Edgar Wright on Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. "Edgar Wright 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 Edgar Wright. Bacall remembers the five-year-plus writing process that began before Edgar 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, Edgar 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- Michael Bacall found a kindred spirit. "Collaborating with Edgar Wright, 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 Lee 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."
Bryan Lee 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 Lee O'Malley 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 Bryan Lee O'Malley involved as a collaborator in the screenwriting process. The producer notes: "Edgar Wright and Michael Bacall worked very closely with Bryan Lee O'Malley when adapting the comic. They were incredibly faithful and respectful of the source material."
Edgar Wright and Michael 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 Bryan Lee O'Malley's world while expanding the stories for their medium. As their process evolved, Bryan Lee O'Malley would create the next chapter of Scott's saga and send Edgar Wright and Michael 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 Edgar Wright. "Partly that was the tone of the dialogue. Bryan Lee O'Malley 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 Bryan Lee 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, Bryan Lee O'Malley says it was, simply, "an amazing, gratifying, weird, eerie experience."
Scott and Ramona: "Have you seen a girl with hair like this?"
Michael Cera had read the first two "Scott Pilgrim" novels before he was approached about playing the title role. Michael Cera knew it was helpful to have a well-defined part for Scott with which to begin. "Bryan Lee O'Malley created such a unique, distinct character that it made it easy for me to get into character," Michael Cera notes. On the other hand, he admits, "It was a little intimidating because 'Scott Pilgrim' has such a following, but Edgar Wright was very helpful in finding the right tone and helping me not go too over-the-top."
As he prepared for an arduous shoot, Michael Cera trusted his director's vision more and more. "Right off the bat, you feel like there's a voice that the movie has that is all its own; that's what Edgar Wright does well with all of his films," he says. While the team moved into production, inhabiting the universe that Bryan Lee O'Malley had created became second nature for the cast and crew. Michael Cera summarises: "As we all rehearsed for weeks, it started to become a world that we all believed in, something very real."
Known for playing über nice guys in such hits as Superbad and Juno, Michael Cera welcomed the chance to show an edgier side to his performance. That was precisely what the filmmakers wanted to evoke. Marc Platt says that what makes the actor so talented is "his seemingly casual approach that appears as though he's doing so little; it's genius, very precise. He embodies the character completely. People will be shocked to see Michael Cera fighting the way he does and displaying a toughness that audiences haven't seen from him. It's been fun to watch Edgar Wright bring that out in him."
Still recovering from his break-up with Envy Adams, the girl who "kicked his heart in the ass," Scott is dumbfounded when he meets Ramona Flowers, a mysterious American whom he believes he has willed into existence. Michael Cera explains the attraction: "Scott becomes obsessed with Ramona when he sees her in his dreams. Then, when she appears in real life, he can't quite figure her out; she keeps slipping away from him, and that's what draws him to her. But he's also got this other girlfriend now, so he is not allowed to like her
and that starts to make him like her more."
Ramona can be aloof and distant, which of course makes her that much more attractive to the pining Scott. After all, she has a League of Evil Exes tracking her every move. According to Byran Lee O'Malley, these exes were given "a title meant to sound ominous and silly," but they are dead serious when it comes to ruining Ramona's potential for newfound love
especially with the confidence-challenged Scott.
Mary Elizabeth Winstead, who was introduced to global audiences with her role in Live Free or Die Hard, was cast to play the subspace-traveling Ramona after she met with Edgar Wright. The actress explains what attracts her character to the latest guy in her life: "Scott's a new kind of love interest for Ramona. He doesn't seem to be the same as all the other guys that she's been with. She's been with a lot of dark, tough and mysterious characters. Now, Scott's this sweet little lovable idiot that she's taken under her wing."
As Ramona and Scott are in the majority of scenes in Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Michael Cera were required on set for nearly the entirety of the shoot. Because the seven evil exes roll into their lives over the course of the action-comedy, it felt like making one new movie after another for the actors. Explains Mary Elizabeth Winstead: "Every few weeks, we had a new energy on set as a new ex came through. It was fun to have all these different personalities coming in."
Michael Cera commends of his leading lady: "Mary's amazing. She did most of her own fighting and is completely believable at that, yet has this delicate quality that's also convincing."
"We are Sex Bob-Omb: One, two, three, four!"
In addition to Mr. Pilgrim, his band, Sex Bob-Omb, is made up of drummer Kim Pine and lead singer and songwriter Stephen Stills. The band's biggest fan and hanger-on (before Knives Chau hits the scene) is aspiring bassist Young Neil.
Kim Pine, the most intelligent one of the group, dated Scott in high school and dislikes many people
possibly everyone. The production team cast Toronto-native Alison Pill in the role of the young woman who serves as the disaffected voice of reason for her friends. Kim Pine knows Scott the best, and they have the longest history of anyone in the group. She's quiet and dour until she's on stage, and then she will rock your face off. To prepare for the part, Alison Pill worked with drumming guru Charlie Drayton and Sloan front man Chris Murphy to hone her percussion skills.
Front man and singer/songwriter Stephen Stills cares the most about the success of Sex Bob-Omb, but he's incredibly neurotic about performing. Actor Mark Webber was asked to play Stephen Stills. Of the process, Webber recounts a strategy that Edgar Wright, Bryan Lee O'Malley and Michael Bacall had for the core cast: "Before the first week of rehearsal, Edgar Wright gave each of us a private list with 10 things about our characters that we were supposed to keep to ourselves. There were a few on there that were a little shocking."
Completing Scott's immediate circle is Jennifer's Body star Johnny Simmons. He was brought onto the production as the often-confused Young Neil, Stephen's roommate and the band's No. 1 groupie.
The League of Evil Exes: "Wait
we're fighting over Ramona?" "Didn't you get my e-mail?"
Scott's journey to winning the heart of Ramona involves achieving enough self-awareness, self-respect and maturity along the way that he doesn't become just another evil ex himself. As he fights his way through the League of Evil Exes, Scott gets stronger and stronger with each defeat.
Newcomer Satya Bhabha was cast as Ramona's First Evil Ex, Matthew Patel (from her junior high school days). Though he takes Scott by surprise when he breaks through the ceiling at the club with his demon hipster chicks, to be fair, Matthew Patel did e-mail Scott and warn him of his untimely demise. Unfortunately for Scott, he simply skimmed the e-mail. Michael Cera explains Matthew's presence at the club: "The First Evil Ex that shows up is Matthew Patel, and it's out of nowhere. You're just getting used to this world, and everything's starting to make sense. Then all of a sudden, it all doesn't make sense at all, and people are flying through the air."
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World marks the first time that Chris Evans portrays a super-villain. Known for his roles in the action flicks Fantastic Four and The Losers, and as the title superhero in the upcoming Captain America: The First Avenger, Evans was happy to mix it up with this part. He was cast to play the ultimate caricature of an action star as Ramona's Second Evil Ex, the pro-skateboarder turned action hero/ultimate tool: Lucas Lee.
Chris Evans discusses his interest in joining the action-comedy: "I get to be big and over-the-top and ridiculous. Lucas is very obnoxious and the character you love to hate." Though he'd never before been on a skateboard, the actor was up for the challenge of looking like he'd been doing it his entire life. He recalls: "My character had to ease up onto a stair rail and grind the gigantic rail for 200 steps."
While many performers are quick to point out that they tried to do a majority of their own stunts, Chris Evans acknowledges that the film's outrageous feats required the expertise of some athletic and unsung heroes: the stunt performers. "I would have no career without stuntmen, based on the movies I've made," he says. "God bless 'em all. They're crazy. We actually had a stunt where Michael Cera's stuntman fell from a building eight times over. It looked like it would break me in half, but this guy stood up, brushed himself off and said, 'Let's do it again.'"
Heading from the world of characters in the Marvel universe to those in DC Comics, Superman himself, Brandon Routh, joined the cast as Ramona's Third Evil Ex: Todd Ingram. A power vegan who is now dating Envy Adams and plays bass for The Clash at Demonhead, the bleached blonde telekinetic is as arrogant as he is vapid. While Scott knows he can never vanquish Todd through a flurry of side punches and combination of roundhouse kicks, he does believe he can outsmart him.
Though Scott is initially certain that Ramona's League of Evil Exes only consists of guys whom she's dated, he gets a lethal surprise when the Fourth Evil Ex, Roxy Richter, shows up and challenges him to a fight to the finish. Spewing invectives and brandishing a lethal chain belt, Roxy's martial arts skills are as deadly as her vicious tongue. Parenthood's Mae Whitman (rejoining Michael Cera, her former co-star on television's Arrested Development) was brought aboard the production as the scorned lover/invisibility-cloaked ex.
Much like Ramona's other exes, Roxy doesn't feel threatened by Scott's presence; she just wants to annihilate anyone who tries to date the girl who broke her heart. Mae Whitman explains: "It's beyond the threat level now. Roxy knows that she's lost Ramona, but she just can't stand the thought of it. The most upsetting part for her is when Ramona says, 'Well, it wasn't a big deal; it didn't even count.' That's what makes Roxy so angry: her legacy with Ramona gets diminished so quickly."
Another one of Ramona's experimental phases is revealed by the arrival of the next exes. Enter Evil Exes No. 5 and No. 6, Kyle and Ken Katayanagi, played by identical twins Keita and Shota Saito. The final puppets in Gideon's army that Scott must defeat, the Ken Katayanagi brothers are the last battle before Scott alone must confront the most evil of exes. But first, to destroy the twins, Scott and Sex Bob-Omb go amp versus amp in a battle-of-the-bands fight to the finish. Two bands enter and one band leaves in an epic struggle that pits the Ken Katayanagi's white dragon avatars against Sex Bob-Omb's green-eyed yeti.
If Scott can survive his battles with all of these exes, he will advance to the bonus round to meet and fight Gideon Graves, the evil ex who wields the most power over Ramona. Michael Cera describes Gideon Graves: "He's the evil ex boyfriend behind it all, the one who Scott can't stand the most, and Jason Schwartzman is fantastic in the role because he is so funny and charming and detestable all at the same time."
It doesn't help matters that Gideon Graves is interested in signing Sex Bob-Omb to his record label. Jason Schwartzman discusses his manipulative character: "Gideon Graves is so good at being bad because he's actually kind of likeable. Passive-aggressive
like a mosquito bite. He won't bother you, but if you start to scratch him, you're in for a rough night. You might start to bleed. Scott unleashes the dark side of Gideon Graves."
Jason Schwartzman was impressed by his fellow performers, but most of all with his on-set archenemy. He found Michael Cera to be a workhorse throughout their time together. "Michael Cera is half-man, half-superman," he says. "He worked almost every single day for six months and never let it show."
Supporting Players in Scott's World: "We all know you're a total lady killer wannabe jerky jerk."
Scott Pilgrim's relationship with his roommate, Wallace Wells, is quite unique. The 26-year-old Wallace owns almost everything in their shared apartment, and he is constantly amused by Scott's floundering relationships with girls. As flummoxed as Scott is with the ladies, Wallace is just as smooth with the many guys with whom he hooks up. Played by veteran young actor Kieran Culkin, Wallace epitomizes awesomely hip. And he will steal your boyfriend if you look the other way.
Scott's kid sister is 18-year-old coffee shop barista Stacey Pilgrim. Much more sensible than her self-absorbed older sibling, Stacey is the voice of reason in the Pilgrim family. She also has an uncanny ability to know what mischief her brother is up to at any given time. With Wallace on speed-text, she is constantly kept up-to-date and forever shaking her head at Scott's insane life choices. She also loves playing the part of "older" sister. For the role, Wright and the producers brought onto the production Oscar®- and Tony-nominated actress Anna Kendrick. Critically lauded for her work in Up in the Air, the performer has previously matched drama with teen angst in the Twilight series.
Newcomer Ellen Wong was committed to becoming wide-eyed schoolgirl/ninja assassin Knives Chau. Terrific for Scott's confidence boost, the 17-year-old Knives dated Scott and remains Sex Bob-Omb's No. 1 fangirl. Michael Bacall describes the relationship: "When we first meet Scott and Knives Chau, they have a great connection in their mutual immaturity. Everything they do is in sync-the way they speak, flip through records, play video games."
Still hurting over the loss of her first love, Knives Chau has (temporarily) moved on to date Young Neil. The Scarborough, Ontario, native describes her character: "Knives Chau starts off as this unblemished Catholic schoolgirl, 17 years old, hasn't really seen life yet
or the harsh realities of the world. When she meets Scott, he opens this Pandora's box for her, and she can't go back to her old life anymore." Naturally, that also means challenging Ramona to a fight to the finish.
Scott's she-who-will-not-be-named, Envy Adams, was brought to life by Brie Larson. The actress, who has broken out on television's United States of Tara, portrays the stone-cold rocker who is the lead singer of The Clash at Demonhead. Simultaneously self-absorbed and terrifying, Envy still holds a strangling power over ex-boyfriend Scott and is more than happy to watch him get his ass kicked by her current boyfriend, Todd Ingram. Surprise
Todd Ingram also happens to be one of Ramona's evil exes.
Last but not least, young comic actress Aubrey Plaza was asked to join the production as Julie Powers, the super-hateful, sometime girlfriend of Stephen Stills. Julie works with Stacey, and she just can't wait to see Scott get what's coming to him. Known for her work on television's Parks and Recreation and her breakout role in last summer's Funny People, Powers brings a purse-lipped bitchiness to the obnoxious Julie that sends Scott scampering when she opens her mouth to ream him. 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 Bryan Lee O'Malley's books, as Scott's band takes on other bands in music battles. Bryan Lee 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. Edgar 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."
Michael Bacall remembers when he and Edgar Wright discussed how to approach the musical performances. He states: "Edgar Wright initially commented that most 'live' music in movies kind of sucks. We were coming up with gags to get around hearing the bands play until Edgar Wright went out and got some of the most amazing musicians in the world to create original songs perfectly pitched for the film."
To accomplish the task of choosing and producing the talent, Edgar Wright and the producers turned to prolific music producer Nigel Godrich. Having collaborated with such giants as Radiohead and Paul McCartney, Nigel Godrich was intimately familiar with the sounds that Edgar Wright wanted for the action-comedy. One of Nigel Godrich's most successful collaborators, Beck, would provide the sounds for Sex Bob-Omb.
Beck, who contributed all of Sex Bob-Omb's tracks, worked with Nigel Godrich and Edgar Wright to create songs that showcase the band's growing skills as the story unfolds. When we are first introduced to the band, they are finding their footing. Naturally, Stephen Stills' vocals are a little shaky (as are his skills on the lead guitar). As the group confronts each challenge-from facing off against Crash and the Boys to the epic battle against the Katayanagi twins-the music becomes more confident and powerful.
Canadian alternative indie rock band Broken Social Scene (fronted by Kevin Drew) contributed the songs for the film's band Crash and the Boys. Named after the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) game "Crash 'n the Boys: Street Challenge," the band boasts 10-year-old drummer Trasha (played by Abigail Chu), a young prodigy who would prefer to not see another girl drummer (ahem, Kim Pine) steal her thunder.
Fellow countrymen Metric performed its song "Black Sheep" for The Clash at Demonhead (led by Scott's own evil ex, Envy Adams). Fronted by lead singer Emily Haines, the Toronto-based quartet creates a haunting song that seduces Scott back into Envy's world. While Knives and Julie are both obsessed by the power of Envy's vocals for The Clash at Demonhead, Scott knows that falling for her comes at a big price. Interestingly enough, the name for this band is based on another NES game, "Clash at Demonhead."
Dan the Automator contributed the music for Matthew Patel's (and his demon hipster chicks) Bollywood sequence, as well as the sounds for Knives and Scott's other passion, the game "Ninja Ninja Revolution." Finally, the cult Japanese artist Cornelius (led by Keigo Oyamada) contributed instrumentals for the Katayanagi twins' face-off against Sex Bob-Omb.
To ensure that Sex Bob-Omb, Crash and the Boys, The Clash at Demonhead and the Katayanagi twins looked and performed as if they were actual bands, Sloan front man Chris Murphy was brought on as the musical performance supervisor.
As for the cast's experience in the field, Michael Cera had a bit of musical background and Simmons had previously played guitar. Pill had never played drums, but by the end of the shoot she was playing along like a pro. Webber had his own catching up to do, but now feels confident he can bring the house down. Sword Fights and Spin Kicks: Stunts of the Film
It was important to Edgar 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 Lee O'Malley, as I too have grown up with video games, Japanese animation and kung fu seared onto my brain."
Part of Jackie Chan's and Jet Li's legendary teams would lead the cast in learning to defy gravity. "The fight sequences in Scott Pilgrim are designed to dazzle; they combine the fantastic fight choreography of Brad Allan [also second-unit director] and fellow fight coordinator Peng Zhang, with kaleidoscopic animation special effects," Edgar Wright says. "We struggled to come up with a snappy description of the unique action sequences in the film; at one point 'fightsical' was bandied around to describe the musical aspect to the action. We also described the John Hughes' coming-of-age comedy mixed with brutal kung fu as 'Hughes fu.'" He pauses
"It looked better written down then it did said aloud."
Michael Cera, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Schwartzman and Whitman began training in Los Angeles in January 2009, before the April shoot began. From cardio work that included many push-ups and endless running, as well as stunt and kung fu training, it was intense, to say the least. All agree it was a bonding experience working alongside the incredible martial artist Zhang as they learned how to throw punches and kicks, as well as to perform the necessary flips and tumbles and to master their various weapons (while on wires).
Fight trainer and stunt coordinator Allan started with the talent by simply getting them into fighting shape and increasing their stamina. Michael Cera learned to perform a lot of his fighting and swordplay. He remembers: "I learned there is lot of trust involved because you're literally depending on the guy who's holding the rope. They had us doing all kinds of things that my body has absolutely no capability or desire to do and that I will probably never do again, but it was amazing. I'm planning on just sitting around and never doing another push-up for the rest of my life."
Determined to keep up, Edgar Wright worked out with the actors every day in Toronto; the cast would train up to five or six hours a day to learn the moves taught in the boot camp run by Li's and Chan's trainers. Winstead recalls that Edgar Wright did many of the tough workouts right alongside them. "He got to feel our pain," she says, but she admits the process brought her "an amazing sense of accomplishment."
Like many performers, Schwartzman had long wanted to fight in a film but never had the chance. He offers of the experience: "It was a thrill to be able to just devote myself to learning how to sword fight. But it was hard to fight Michael. I love the guy."
One of Gideon's sparring partners, Knives Chau herself, Ellen Wong, was more than ready for the training sessions in which she would face off against Gideon and Ramona. She says: "Who wouldn't be excited about running up the wall and flipping back, doing a 360 in the air? It was just cool." 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. Locations and Design
As the books are set in Toronto and because the city has the infrastructure in place to host a film the size of Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, the decision to shoot there was obvious. Many of Toronto's haunts that are given center stage in Bryan Lee O'Malley's books were sure to be recognised in the film. These include Casa Loma, Honest Ed's, Lee's Palace, Pizza Pizza and Second Cup-places O'Malley says "are ubiquitous in Toronto. I have a soft spot for them."
As Edgar Wright and production designer Marcus Rowland developed the look of the action-comedy, they knew they wanted to celebrate the Ontario city. It wasn't simply bringing lines from the novels into the movie that interested them. "I wanted to represent Bryan Lee O'Malley's artwork as much as possible, but also use the real locations that he used as reference for his books," Wright comments. "In several key scenes, we shot the actual houses, libraries, parks and music venues that Bryan Lee O'Malley took photos of in 2003."
Marcus Rowland adds: "We embraced all that's great about the flavor and texture of Toronto itself. It's known as one of the most multicultural cities in North America, and Scott Pilgrim vs. the World was shot at the real locations where Bryan Lee O'Malley drew the pictures."
The designer explains that he used a multitude of colors to reflect the emotion of the story, down to the color of the swords that Scott and Gideon use to duel. Bryan Lee O'Malley marvels: "Marcus Rowland did an incredible job bringing the comic universe to the screen, right down to the last detail of each character's apartment. One of the craziest moments for me was when I walked on the set of Wallace's apartment. It was as though it had jumped off the comic-book page."
On stages in Toronto, Marcus Rowland created the apartments of Wallace and Scott, as well as Ramona's one-bedroom. O'Malley adds: "They are just as I visualised them, only more real. It's a little strange."
For her part, Ramona Flowers felt right at home. Laughs Winstead: "It was like we were really there. All the places they've built, the clubs they've built
it doesn't feel like we were on a set at all. I wanted to just move into my apartment. It felt so authentic." Setups and Camera Work
Cinematographer Bill Pope, known for his stunning camera work in blockbusters from Spider-Man 2 to The Matrix series, first met with Wright when the director was in Los Angeles to publicise Hot Fuzz. It would take a few years before the two men would work together, and Pope was keen to join Wright for this production. "This is absolutely what Edgar was meant to do," the DP compliments. "His enthusiasm is catching."
For Bill Pope, the hook of Scott Pilgrim vs. the World was a strong one. "I read the script and realised that I've never seen this movie before," he offers. "It was incredibly fresh and a phenomenal step up, but also a mammoth piece of work-so much so that a three-day test shoot was done months before the movie was to film, just to prove that all of the graphics, speed, wires and blue screens, irony and self-reflection would work."
The camera style is busy, to say the least. Bill Pope explains: "There are a huge number of shots because the movie has so many characters woven together, is influenced by fast-paced video games and moves forward by means of the edit. The camera is always moving-whip pans, dollies, cranes, zooms, snap zooms, snap zooms with whip pans off. There is no scene without all these mannerisms, and the speed and pacing is critical."
The challenge for the cinematographer was in the record number of setups that Edgar Wright and Michael Bacall's script demanded. "To give you reference, the movie Clueless had about 500 setups, Chinatown had about 600 and Scorsese's early movies had 800, maybe," Bill Pope explains. "Scott Pilgrim has more than 4,000. Edgar Wright knows exactly what the pacing and cutting is more than anyone I've ever worked with."
The majority of the time, Bill Pope used two cameras to capture the action and the multitude of characters who populate this world. Indeed, there is so much in every frame of this film that the audience can watch it multiple times and discover something new with each viewing. As Wright gives clues to the evil exes all throughout the film (e.g., the number three on Todd's sport short and the address of the club (four) where Roxy picks her fight.
Creating the visual effects on Scott Pilgrim vs. the World was a long and involved process. There was so much required in terms of editing and special effects that when Wright and the DP shot a scene, it was only the beginning for VFX producer Lucy Killick, SFX coordinator Laird McMurray and editors Jonathan Amos and Paul Machliss. Throughout production, everyone on Wright's team had to think many steps ahead to understand where the shot would eventually lead them.
Scott Pilgrim vs. The World part 2www.girl.com.au/scott-pilgrim-vs-the-world-part2.htm