From left, Pegg; McG.Photos: Getty Images
Simon Pegg vs. McG
Remember that great scene in Shaun of the Dead where Simon Pegg is barreling though his neighborhood, smashing apart zombies’ heads with his cricket bat? Well, the exact same thing is happening in real life, except that Pegg’s neighborhood is the court of public opinion, and the cricket bat is words, and the zombies are director-producer McG and Fox. Pegg launched the attack on his semi-official Website in response to Fox’s announcement that they were going forward with the McG-produced American remake of Pegg’s seminal nineties Britcom Spaced, perhaps the ne plus ultra of pop-culture geek riffing. The network’s claim that it intends to replicate the format of the show — which used elaborate fantasy sequences to portray the pop-culture savvy of its characters — makes Pegg want to blow them away in slow motion using only two finger-guns.
Pegg blasts McG and Fox for using his and Shaun director Edgar Wright’s name to add cred to the remake in their press release, while never once consulting with the pair about a remake of the show they helped create. In the unusually pointed response, Pegg writes:
The fact is, when we signed our contracts ten years ago, we had neither the experience or the kudos to demand any clauses securing any control over future reversioning. We signed away our rights to any input in the show’s international future, because we just wanted to get the show made and these dark days of legal piracy seemed a far away concern. As a result, we have no rights. The show does not belong to us and, those that do own it have no obligation to include us in any future plans. You would perhaps hope though, out of basic professional respect and courtesy, we might have been consulted. It is this flagrant snub and effective vote of no confidence in the very people that created the show, that has caused such affront at our end. If they don’t care about the integrity of the original, why call it Spaced? Why attempt to find some validation by including mine and Edgar’s names in the press release as if we were involved? Why not just lift the premise? Two strangers, pretend to be a couple in order to secure residence of a flat/apartment. It’s hardly Ibsen. Jess and I specifically jumped off from a very mainstream sitcom premise in order to unravel it so completely. Take it, have it, call it Perfect Strangers and hope Balkie doesn’t sue. Just don’t call it Spaced.
Spaced fans have taken to the Net in response, decrying the creation of — as they’re cheekily calling it — “McSpaced.” Four pages of angry comments follow Wright’s reposting of Pegg’s rant on his MySpace page. The requisite Facebook group has already been formed, currently up to 1,600 members. And we imagine it’s only a matter of time before Fox, McG, and the other producers suddenly miraculously come up with a little scratch to hire on Pegg, Wright, and co-creator Jessica Stevenson as consultants.
Simon’s Official Statement Regarding the US Spaced [Peggster.net]Simon Pegg vs. McG