Edgar Howard Wright (born 18 April 1974) is an English director, screenwriter, producer, and actor. He is best known for his comedic Three Flavours Cornetto film trilogy consisting of Shaun of the Dead (2004), Hot Fuzz (2007), and The World's End (2013), made with recurrent collaborators Simon Pegg, Nira Park and Nick Frost. He also collaborated with them as the director of the television series Spaced.
He also co-wrote, produced and directed the 2010 film Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. Along with his friends Joe Cornish and Steven Moffat, he co-wrote Steven Spielberg's The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn. Wright and Cornish co-wrote the screenplay for the Marvel Studios film Ant-Man, which Wright was intended to direct before departing the project.
Wright was born in Poole, Dorset, but grew up predominantly in Wells, Somerset. Throughout the late 1980s and early 1990s, Wright directed many short films, first on a Super-8 camera which was a gift from a family member and later on a Video-8 camcorder won in a competition on the television programme Going Live. These films were mostly comedic pastiches of popular genres, such as the super hero-inspired Carbolic Soap and Dirty Harry tribute Dead Right (which was eventually featured on the DVD release of Hot Fuzz).
From 1992 to 1994 Wright attended the Bournemouth and Poole College of Art (now Arts University Bournemouth) and received an ND in Audio-Visual Design.
1994–2002: Early works and Spaced
Wright made his feature film debut in 1994 with a low budget, independent spoof western, A Fistful of Fingers, which was picked up for a limited theatrical release and broadcast on the British satellite TV channel Sky Movies. Despite Wright's dissatisfaction with the finished product, it caught the attention of comedians Matt Lucas and David Walliams, who subsequently chose him as the director of their Paramount Comedy channel production Mash and Peas. During this time he also worked on BBC programmes such as Is It Bill Bailey?, Alexei Sayle's Merry-Go-Round and Sir Bernard's Stately Homes. In an interview with journalist and author Robert K. Elder for The Film That Changed My Life, Wright attributes his edgy and comedic style to his love for An American Werewolf in London:
I've always been fascinated by horror films and genre films. And horror films harboured a fascination for me and always have been something I've wanted to watch and wanted to make. Equally, I'm very fascinated by comedy. I suppose the reason that this film changed my life is that very early on in my film-watching experiences, I saw a film that was so sophisticated in its tone and what it managed to achieve.
In 1998 writer/actors Simon Pegg and Jessica Stevenson were in the early stages of developing their sitcom Spaced for Channel 4 and thought of asking Wright to direct having fondly remembered working with him on the 1996 Paramount comedy Asylum. Wright gave Spaced an unusual look for the sitcom genre, with dramatic camera angles and movement borrowed from the visual language of science fiction and horror films. Instead of shying away from these influences Wright makes an active effort to show his referencing, adding a 'Homage-O-Meter' to all of his releases, a device that displays each directorial nod he has made during shooting. In 2002, he made appearances as a scientist and a technician named Eddie Yorque during both series of Look Around You, a BBC programme created by a member of the Spaced cast, Peter Serafinowicz. He also made two brief appearances in Spaced, one in which he can be seen, along with other crew members on the series, lying asleep in Daisy Steiner's squat as she prepares to leave for her new house. The other is a brief appearance during the montage in the episode "Gone" where Daisy describes to Tim what she thinks would be a fun night out for the two. Edgar is sitting on the subway (with a beard) next to Tim and Daisy.
2003–13: The Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy and Scott Pilgrim
The critical success of Spaced paved the way for Wright and Pegg to move to the big screen with Shaun of the Dead, a zombie comedy which mixed a "Brit flick" romantic comedy style with homages to the horror classics of George A. Romero and Sam Raimi. The film was a great success both critically and financially, and its rooting in American genre cinema helped to make it a transatlantic hit.
The pair subsequently planned out a trilogy of British genre-comedies which were connected not by narrative but by their shared traits and motifs. The trilogy was named "The Three Flavours Cornetto Trilogy" by the pair due to a running joke about the British Ice Cream product Cornetto and its effectiveness as a hangover cure. Wright explained to Clark Collis in an interview for Entertainment Weekly, "We put that joke in Shaun of the Dead where Nick asks for a Cornetto first thing in the morning. When I was at college, it was my hangover cure—probably still is my hangover cure. Then we put it into Hot Fuzz because we thought it would be a funny recurring thing. One journalist in the United Kingdom said, 'Is this going to be your theme as a trilogy?' and I said, 'Yes, it's like Krzysztof Kieślowski's Three Colors trilogy. This is the Three Flavors Cornetto trilogy.' It was just a joke that stuck." Collis observes that the films also feature "a running gag involving garden fences."
The second installment was the comedy action thriller Hot Fuzz. Production started in March 2006 and the film was released in February 2007 in the United Kingdom and April 2007 in the United States. It revolves around Pegg's character, Nicholas Angel, a police officer who is transferred from London to rural Sandford, where grisly events soon take place.
In 2007, Wright also directed a fake trailer insert for Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez's Grindhouse, called Don't. It was a plotless trailer that mocked horror clichés, with lines such as, "If you... are thinking... of going ... into... this... house... DON'T!".
In 2010 Scott Pilgrim vs. the World was released; its over-$85 million budget dwarfed the £8 million budget of Hot Fuzz. The film, based on the graphic novel series Scott Pilgrim, was co-written, co-produced and directed by Wright. It took in roughly half its budget in box office, in spite of its critical reception and praise from fellow directors such as Kevin Smith, Quentin Tarantino and Jason Reitman.
In 2010, Wright was under consideration to direct Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol. The film was ultimately directed by Brad Bird.
In November 2011, The Adventures of Tintin: Secret of the Unicorn, directed by Steven Spielberg, produced by Peter Jackson, and based on Hergé's The Adventures of Tintin was released. Wright co-wrote the film with writing partner Joe Cornish and Steven Moffat. The film also co-starred Wright's frequent collaborators Simon Pegg and Nick Frost.
Wright directed one single shot of the 2013 film Star Trek Into Darkness, directed by J. J. Abrams, and co-starring his friend Simon Pegg. According to him, it is a one-second-long shot during the scene featuring the Klingons on Kronos.
The third installment of the trilogy, The World's End, premiered in London on 10 July 2013. The film is about several friends who reunite when one decides to repeat a pub crawl they did 20 years earlier. They have to get to The World's End pub without ending up in the gutter to do this, but some unusual powers are at work and what happens to them may determine what happens to humans as a species.
2014–present: Ant-Man, Baby Driver and upcoming projects
Wright was developing a live-action film based on the Marvel Comics superhero Ant-Man with Joe Cornish since 2006. However, on 23 May 2014, Wright and Marvel Studios issued a joint statement announcing that Wright would exit the movie due to creative differences. He was replaced by Peyton Reed as director, with Adam McKay and star Paul Rudd re-writing the screenplay. He and Cornish still received both screenplay and story credits, with Wright being also credited as executive producer.
Wright has numerous other projects in development. In 2008, Wright was rumoured to be directing a remake of the 1961 British monster film Gorgo. It was reported the film would employ a man in a suit to portray its monster (as had the original film). Wright has also been attached to direct films including Them and a film version of the television series The Night Stalker that would star Johnny Depp, which was announced in early 2012.
In July 2014, Wright was announced as director of the film adaptation of Andrew Smith's novel Grasshopper Jungle for Sony Pictures.
In July 2014, Wright announced that his next film will be Baby Driver. Wright has described the film as "kind of like a musical"; Deadline.com has described it as "a collision of crime, action, music, and sound". The film is set to star Ansel Elgort, Lily James, Jamie Foxx and Jon Hamm. The film is set for release on 11 August 2017. The film began production on 11 February 2016 in Atlanta.
In October 2015, Wright was announced as director of the film adaptation of Neil Gaiman's novel Fortunately, The Milk. The time-travel story will be a hybrid of live-action and animation. The film will star Johnny Depp and will be co-written by Wright and Flight of the Conchords alumnus Bret McKenzie. In November 2015, it was announced that Wright would direct and co-write with David Walliams a DreamWorks Animation film centered on "the concept of shadows".
Wright cites Jon Spencer Blues Explosion as his favourite band: several Blues Explosion songs feature in Wright's film Hot Fuzz, including one written specifically for the film. Wright has directed two videos for his ex-girlfriend Charlotte Hatherley: "Summer" and "Bastardo". He has also directed promos for 80s Matchbox B-Line Disaster, Mint Royale and The Bluetones. Many of these videos have been made available to view on the "Archives" section of his official website.
Wright has a brother, Oscar, who is a comic book artist, contributing storyboards, conceptual art and promotional pictures for Edgar's films. For example, he designed comic book interpretations of the characters of Shaun of the Dead and created the animation for the flickbook PC Danny Butterman uses in Hot Fuzz, as well as the art for the "Plot Holes" features on both the Hot Fuzz and Shaun of the Dead DVD releases. Oscar also was on set for the Hot Fuzz poster shoot to help Edgar out with the design. Oscar also directed the Charlotte Hatherley video for "Behave" and also designed the 8-bit Universal Pictures logo at the beginning of the movie Scott Pilgrim vs. the World along with Edgar.
Though he has stated that the film that most influenced him was John Landis' American Werewolf in London (according to his interview in The Film That Changed My Life), Wright also mentioned Sam Raimi's Evil Dead II and the Coen brothers' Raising Arizona as films that made him want to be a director. When he met Raimi and told him so, Raimi joked to him, "Don't say that, you make me feel old."
In 2009, Wright began a relationship with actress Anna Kendrick after meeting on the set of Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. The couple split in early 2013. He was previously in a relationship with singer-songwriter and former Ash guitarist Charlotte Hatherley.
Wright is a friend of fellow director Garth Jennings, and made cameos in his films The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and Son of Rambow. Jennings himself had cameos in Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz and The World's End.
Wright has cast certain actors in more than one of his films/television series. Simon Pegg is Wright's most frequent collaborator, appearing in six of his films. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World isn't listed because no actor on the film had previously collaborated with him.
|Dead Right||A Fistful of Fingers||Asylum||Spaced||Shaun of the Dead||Hot Fuzz||Don't||The World's End|
|Lucy Akhurst|| || |
|Bill Bailey|| || || |
|Paddy Considine|| || |
|Joe Cornish|| || |
|Adam Buxton|| || |
|Martin Curtis|| || |
|Julia Deakin|| || || || |
|Kevin Eldon|| || |
|Patricia Franklin|| || || |
|Martin Freeman|| || || |
|Nick Frost|| || || || || |
|Mark Gatiss|| || || |
|Mark Heap|| || |
|Jessica Hynes|| || || || |
|Graham Low|| || || || |
|Alice Lowe|| || |
|Bill Nighy|| || || |
|Simon Pegg|| || || || || || |
|Robert Popper|| || || |
|Lucy Punch|| || |
|Peter Serafinowicz|| || || || |
|Reece Shearsmith|| || || |
|Michael Smiley|| || || || |
|Rafe Spall|| || || || |
|Stuart Wilson|| || |
|1995||A Fistful of Fingers||Yes||Yes||No||Yes||Also producer |
Role: Cheesy voiceover artist/Two bit farmer cameo
|2004||Shaun of the Dead||Yes||Yes||No||Yes||Role: Rabid Monkeys Newsreader/Prat-falling Zombie/Italian Restaurant Voice/Noel's Friend on phone|
|2005||Land of the Dead||No||No||No||Yes||Role: Photo booth zombie|
|The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy||No||No||No||Yes||Role: Deep Thought Technician|
|2007||Hot Fuzz||Yes||Yes||No||Yes||Role: Shelf Stacker/Voice of Dave|
|Son of Rambow||No||No||No||Yes||Role: Metal Work Teacher|
|2010||Scott Pilgrim vs. the World||Yes||Yes||No||No||Also producer|
|2011||Attack the Block||No||No||Yes||No|
|The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn||No||Yes||No||No|
|Paul||No||Yes||No||No||Script editor (Uncredited)|
|2013||The World's End||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Role: Voice of construction worker|
|1988||I Want to Get into the Movies||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
|Rolf Harris Saves the World||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
|1993||Dead Right||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Role: The Director|
|2007||Don't||Yes||Yes||No||No||Segment from Grindhouse|
|2014||Lennon or McCartney||No||No||No||Yes||Interview clip|
|1996–1997||Mash and Peas||Yes||No||No||No||9 episodes|
|1998||Alexei Sayle's Merry-Go-Round||Yes||Yes||No||No||6 episodes|
|Is It Bill Bailey?||Yes||No||No||No||6 episodes|
|French and Saunders||Yes||No||No||No||Episode: "Titanic"|
|1999||Sir Bernard's Stately Homes||Yes||No||No||No||6 episodes|
|Murder Most Horrid||Yes||No||No||No||Episode: "Confessions of a Murderer"|
|1999–2001||Spaced||Yes||No||No||Yes||Roles: First Sleeping Ex-flatmate / Man on Tube Next to Daisy / Sounds of Despair tape|
|2002–2005||Look Around You||No||No||No||Yes||Roles: Scientist / Eddie Yorque / Floor manager / Technician|
|2000||"Keep the Home Fires Burning"||The Bluetones|
|2002||"After Hours"||The Bluetones|
|2003||"Psychosis Safari"||The Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster|
|"Blue Song"||Mint Royale|
|2014||"Gust of Wind"||Pharrell Williams featuring Daft Punk|
Awards and nominations
|2000||BAFTA Awards||Situation Comedy Award||Spaced||Nominated|
|2002||BAFTA Awards||Situation Comedy Award||Spaced||Nominated|
|2004||British Independent Film Awards||Best Screenplay||Shaun of the Dead||Won|
|Bram Stoker Awards||Screenplay||Shaun of the Dead||Won|
|2005||BAFTA Awards||Alexander Korda Award for Best British Film||Shaun of the Dead||Nominated|
|Empire Awards||Best British Director||Shaun of the Dead||Nominated|
|ALFS Awards||Best Screenwriter of the Year||Shaun of the Dead||Nominated|
|Online Film Critics Society Awards||Best Breakthrough Filmmaker||Shaun of the Dead||Nominated|
|Online Film Critics Society Awards||Best Original Screenplay||Shaun of the Dead||Nominated|
|2008||Empire Awards||Best Director||Hot Fuzz||Nominated|
|2010||SDFCS Award||Best Adapted Screenplay||Scott Pilgrim vs. the World||Nominated|
|Satellite Awards||Best Adapted Screenplay||Scott Pilgrim vs. the World||Nominated|
|2011||Empire Awards||Best Director||Scott Pilgrim vs. the World||Won|
|Empire Awards||Inspiration Award||Won|
|Hugo Awards||Best Dramatic Presentation||Scott Pilgrim vs. the World||Nominated|
|Online Film Critics Society||Best Adapted Screenplay||Scott Pilgrim vs. the World||Nominated|
|Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America||Bradbury Award||Scott Pilgrim vs. the World||Nominated|
|Satellite Awards||Best Adapted Screenplay||The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn||Nominated|
|2012||Annie Awards||Writing in a Feature Production||The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn||Nominated|
|2014||Saturn Awards||Best Writing||The World's End||Nominated|
|Empire Awards||Best Director||The World's End||Nominated|