SHAUN OF THE DEAD - Did You Know?


Trivia Compiled By: Ken Hulsey
Sources: IMDB / Wikipedia

I'm certain that I am not alone when I say that the movie "Shaun of the Dead" is one of the greatest comedies of all time. The collaboration between director Edgar Wright and actors Simon Pegg and Nick Frost is a perfect parody of zombie movies that serves as a spot on social commentary as well.

Who are the real zombies in the film?

Anyway the movie is one of my all-time favorites and I felt that is was about time that we took a closer look at this modern classic!

Did You Know?

In some markets, the film was released as Zombies Party.

Many of the Zombie extras are fans of the TV series Spaced, which also starred Simon Pegg and Nick Frost and was also directed by Edgar Wright. They were recruited through the Spaced Out fan web site to be in the film.

The phrase "fried gold" originated behind the scenes of Simon Pegg, Jessica Hynes and Edgar Wright's sitcom Spaced and was mentioned several times on the DVD commentaries for that series. It makes several fan-pleasing appearances in the film.

Frequent references are made to Big Al's claim that dogs can't look up. This is a reference to the commentary to the second series of Spaced in which Simon Pegg (Shaun) and Edgar Wright talk about Nick Frost (Ed)'s claim that the difficulty in shooting a scene with a dog was due to the fact that dogs can't look up.

When Shaun, Liz, David, Dianne, Barbara and Ed run into the alternative 'gang' as they make their way to the Winchester, there are quite a few comedy partnerships brought together again. Simon Pegg and Jessica Hynes - Tim and Daisy from Spaced. Lucy Davis and Martin Freeman - Dawn and Tim from The Office. Dylan Moran and Tamsin Greig - Bernard and Fran from Black Books. Julia Deakin and Nick Frost are, of course, in Spaced too, as Marsha and Mike respectively.

The zombie that Shaun (Simon Pegg) and Ed (Nick Frost) find in their garden is Mary, the checkout girl from the film's credit montage. A short story detailing her transformation into one of the undead was featured in issue 1384 of the classic British sci-fi comic 2000AD. The issue went on sale 7 April 2004. The strip was called "There's Something About Mary" and was written by Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright (the film's co-writers) with art by Frazer Irving.

Shaun (Simon Pegg) complains that Ed (Nick Frost) isn't his boyfriend, then says, "Thanks, babe." In season one of Spaced, a conversation begins in a similar manner between the two actors ("All right, babe?"). This was, however, a total mistake. The writers used the same joke again, forgetting they had used it in Spaced.

Because of the timing and the indisputable similarity of the names, the distributors were forced to hold the film back until two weeks after Dawn of the Dead was released in the UK.

When Shaun and the group are running out of Liz's flat they are all carrying weapons of some kind, but only Shaun actually hits any zombies. This was because only the cricket bat that Shaun was carrying was a padded fake, all the other items were real and would have hurt the extras playing zombies if they had been hit with them.

John and Bernie run the Winchester. These are the real names of the landlord and landlady who used to run Simon Pegg's local pub, the Shepherds in Highgate. John used to make toasted sandwiches for regulars, hence the reference to "the Breville out back." Pegg and Nick Frost were regular attendees of the Shepherd's Thursday night quiz, hence the line "we do the quiz" when Shaun is knocking on the Winchester's door. Chris Martin of Coldplay, who plays a zombie in the film, also used to attend quiz night.

At one point, a zombie can be glimpsed wearing a yellow cycling helmet and lycra shorts. He's played by comedian Michael Smiley, who made appearances in Spaced as a bicycle courier named Tyres.

Night of the Living Dead director George A. Romero was given a private viewing of the film near his home in Florida. During the scene in which Ed (Nick Frost) yells into the phone, "We're coming to get you, Barbara," Romero was oblivious to the fact it was a direct lift from his film Night of the Living Dead and only found out later after a phone conversation with director Edgar Wright.

According to writer-director Edgar Wright in the DVD commentary, when Ed attempts to cheer Shaun up at the Winchester with plans of binge drinking, he is actually summarizing the events of the next day (Z-day) entirely in drinking references. "Bloody Mary" - Checkout Girl, "Bite at the king's head" - Phillip, "Couple" - David and Di, "Little Princess" - Liz, "Stagger back" - impersonate zombies, "Bar For Shots" - firing rifle.

The garden scenes were originally a lot longer, featuring a hanged man zombie and a woman being eaten by her own dog (The dog was intended to be played by Spaced's Colin).

Shaun tells Liz that he's going to take her to "the place that does all the fish". When he opens the phone book you can see that the restaurant is literally called 'The Place That Does All the Fish'.

The film was inspired by the Spaced episode "Art", written by Pegg (along with his writing partner and co-star Jessica Stevenson) and directed by Wright, in which the character of Tim (Pegg), under the influence of amphetamine and the PlayStation video game Resident Evil 2, hallucinates that he's fighting off a zombie invasion. Having discovered a mutual appreciation for Romero's Dead trilogy, they decided to write their own zombie movie. Spaced was to be a big influence on the making of Shaun, as it was directed by Wright in a similar style, and featured many of the same cast and crew in minor and major roles (as well as Pegg, Wright and Stevenson, Nick Frost — who played Mike in Spaced — has a starring role in Shaun as Ed, and Peter Serafinowicz and Julia Deakin, who played Duane Benzie and Marsha in Spaced, respectively — appeared in Shaun as Pete and Yvonne's mum, respectively).

The scenes filmed in and around "The Winchester Pub" were shot at The Duke Of Albany in Monson Road New Cross, a three-storey Victorian pub popular with supporters of Millwall F.C. which was converted into luxury flats in 2007.

And now you know!

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