Edgar Howard Wright
18 April 1974
|Education||Arts University Bournemouth|
Edgar Howard Wright (born 18 April 1974) is an English director, screenwriter and producer. Recognized as an auteur, he is famous for his fast-paced and kinetic, satirical genre films, which feature extensive reliance on music, tracking steady-cam shots, dolly zooms and a signature editing style that includes transitions, whip-pans and wipes.
He began making independent short films before making his first feature film A Fistful of Fingers (1995). Wright created and directed the comedy series Asylum in 1996, written with David Walliams. After directing several other television shows, Wright directed the sitcom Spaced (1999-2001), which aired for two series and starred frequent collaborators Simon Pegg and Nick Frost.
In 2004, Wright directed the zombie comedy Shaun of the Dead starring Pegg and Frost, the first film in Wright's Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy. The film was co-written with Pegg--as were the next two entries in the trilogy, the buddy cop film Hot Fuzz (2007) and the science fiction comedy The World's End (2013). In 2010, Wright co-wrote and directed the action comedy film Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, an adaptation of the graphic novel series. Along with Joe Cornish and Steven Moffat, he adapted The Adventures of Tintin (2011) for Steven Spielberg. Wright and Cornish co-wrote the screenplay for the Marvel Cinematic Universe film Ant-Man in 2015, which Wright intended to direct but abandoned, citing creative differences. His latest film, the action film Baby Driver, was released in 2017, before filming commenced on his next feature Last Night in Soho (2020).
Wright has directed numerous music videos, including The Bluetones' "Keep the Home Fires Burning" (2000), The Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster's "Psychosis Safari" (2002), Mint Royale's "Blue Song" (2002), Pharrell Williams' "Gust of Wind" (2014), and Beck's "Colors" (2018).
Wright was born in Poole, Dorset and grew up predominantly in Wells in Somerset. He attended The Blue School, Wells from 1985 to 1992, and is honoured by a plaque at the school. Throughout the late 1980s and early 1990s, he directed many short films, first on a Super-8 camera that was a gift from a family member and later on a Video-8 camcorder that he 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 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. In June 2018, Arts University Bournemouth awarded Wright an Honorary Fellowship alongside graphic designer Margaret Calvert, costume designer Jenny Beavan and dancer Darcey Bussell. On receiving the award Wright said "I'm thrilled to accept my honorary fellowship from AUB, or as I knew it back in 1992, the Bournemouth and Poole College of Art and Design. I still think very fondly of my time spent there."
Edgar Wright is famous for including comedy in all the films he directs regardless of the main genre of the film. This is due to the influence of John Landis' an American Werewolf in London which Wright claimed was "laugh out loud funny, genuinely scary, and having a lot of heart". The comedic styling used in his cornetto trilogy was influenced by the more improvised style of the second Evil Dead movie. This influence was not only from the more horror-based movies but also comedy films such as Ferris Bueller's Day off which used a variety of action shots that keep a fast pace such as in most of his films like baby driver which syncs the pacing of the songs used to the action on the screen.
Wright made his feature film debut in 1995 with a low budget, independent spoof western, A Fistful of Fingers, which was picked up for a limited theatrical release and broadcast on the 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 Hynes 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 tube (with a beard) next to Tim and Daisy.
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 success critically and financially, and its rooting in American genre cinema helped to make it an international 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 Kie?lowski'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 November 2011, The Adventures of Tintin, 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.
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.
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. According to Wright, he had been hired as writer-director but became unhappy when Marvel wanted to write a new script. In 2017, he said: "The most diplomatic answer is I wanted to make a Marvel movie but I don't think they really wanted to make an Edgar Wright movie ... having written all my other movies, that's a tough thing to move forward. Suddenly becoming a director for hire on it, you're sort of less emotionally invested and you start to wonder why you're there, really." He was replaced by Peyton Reed as director, with Adam McKay and star Paul Rudd rewriting the screenplay. He and Cornish received both screenplay and story credits, with Wright also credited as executive producer.
In July 2014, Wright announced that his next film would be Baby Driver. Wright has described the film as "kind of like a musical", and Deadline Hollywood described it as "a collision of crime, action, music, and sound". The film stars Ansel Elgort, Kevin Spacey, Lily James, Eiza González, Jon Hamm, and Jamie Foxx. The film began production on 11 February 2016 in Atlanta, and was released on 28 June 2017.
In January 2019, it was announced that his next film will be a horror thriller film set in London and inspired by movies such as Don't Look Now and Repulsion. In February 2019, it was revealed that the title was Last Night in Soho, with Anya Taylor-Joy attached to star. In February, Matt Smith and Thomasin McKenzie joined the cast. Other confirmed crew members include co-screenwriter Krysty Wilson-Cairns, editor Paul Machliss (who edited four episodes of Spaced in 2001 and all of Wright's films since Scott Pilgrim vs. the World), and Baby Driver production designer Marcus Rowland. The film is scheduled to be released on 25 September 2020.
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", that has been in development since 2010. Shadows, as the film was known, was to be Wright's animation directorial debut. The film has been in development for a long time, changing directors. Mark Dindal, who created the film's original story, was involved between 2010 and 2012, was replaced by Alessandro Carloni from 2012 to 2015, and Wright is slated to develop the picture. Three drafts of script were written but the project is on hold due to staff changes at DreamWorks leaving it in limbo.
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 2017 it was reported that Wright was approached by Sony officials for a Baby Driver sequel. Wright is interested in developing Baby Driver 2.
In June 2018, Edgar announced he is making a documentary on the cult pop rock band Sparks. He had covered the band's concert in London in May at the O2 Forum Kentish Town. This concert will be included in the documentary.
In April 2007, it was reported that Wright may expand Don't, a fake trailer made for Grindhouse, into a feature film. According to Eli Roth, he and Wright have discussed the possibility of pairing Don't with Thanksgiving for a Grindhouse sequel. Roth is quoted as saying "We're talking to Dimension about it. I think they're still trying to figure out Grindhouse 1 before we think about Grindhouse 2, but I've already been working on the outline for it and I would do it in a heartbeat."
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; another of their songs also underscores the opening sequence of Baby Driver, which also featured Jon Spencer himself in a small role as a prison guard. 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.
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.
Wright has stated in The Film That Changed My Life that the film that most influenced him was John Landis' An American Werewolf in London. 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 December 2007, Wright began guest programming at Repertory theatre the New Beverly Cinema following a sold-out screening of his films. He curated a two-week series of his favorite films dubbed "The Wright Stuff", hosting interviews with filmmakers and performers for each screening. The festival concluded with a double-bill of Evil Dead II and Raising Arizona. Wright returned for additional "The Wright Stuff" events in January 2011 and December 2011, the third series consisting of films Wright had been recommended by friends Bill Hader, Daniel Waters, Quentin Tarantino, Judd Apatow, Joss Whedon, John Landis and Joe Dante, but had never seen before. Wright's attempt to narrow the list based on public comment from visitors to his blog "produced another thousand suggestions." In August 2013, Wright programmed an additional double-feature series at the theater, "The World's End is Nigh", consisting of 12 movies that he called "stepping stones to our new movie" The World's End.
Wright is a friend of fellow director Garth Jennings, and made cameos in his films The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Son of Rambow and Sing. Jennings himself had cameos in Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz and The World's End.
|1995||A Fistful of Fingers||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|2004||Shaun of the Dead||Yes||Yes||No||Co-written with Simon Pegg|
|2007||Hot Fuzz||Yes||Yes||No||Co-written with Simon Pegg|
|2010||Scott Pilgrim vs. the World||Yes||Yes||Yes||Co-written with Michael Bacall|
|2011||The Adventures of Tintin||No||Yes||No||Co-written with Joe Cornish and Steven Moffat|
|2013||The World's End||Yes||Yes||Executive||Co-written with Simon Pegg|
|2015||Ant-Man||No||Yes||Executive||Co-written with Joe Cornish, Adam McKay and Paul Rudd|
|2020||Last Night in Soho||Yes||Yes||Yes||Co-written with Krysty Wilson-Cairns|
|TBA||Untitled Sparks Documentary||Yes||No||No||Documentary|
Executive producer only
|1995||A Fistful of Fingers||Cheesy voiceover artist and two-bit farmer|
|2004||Shaun of the Dead||Rabid Monkeys Newsreader, Prat-falling Zombie,
Italian Restaurant Voice, Noel's Friend on phone
|2005||Land of the Dead||Photo booth zombie|
|The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy||Deep Thought Technician||Uncredited|
|2007||Hot Fuzz||Shelf Stacker and Dave||Uncredited voices|
|Son of Rambow||Metal Work Teacher|
|2013||The World's End||Construction worker||Uncredited voice|
|2017||Baby Driver||Background passerby||Uncredited|
|Star Wars: The Last Jedi||Resistance soldier||Uncredited|
|1988||I Want to Get into the Movies||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
|Rolf Harris Saves the World||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Role: Rolf Harris (voice)|
|1993||Dead Right||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Role: The Director|
|2007||Don't||Yes||Yes||No||No||Fake trailer from Grindhouse|
|1996-1997||Mash and Peas||Yes||No||9 episodes|
|1998||Alexei Sayle's Merry-Go-Round||Yes||Yes||6 episodes|
|Is It Bill Bailey?||Yes||No||6 episodes|
|French and Saunders||Yes||No||Episode: "Titanic"|
|1999||Sir Bernard's Stately Homes||Yes||No||6 episodes|
|Murder Most Horrid||Yes||No||Episode: "Confessions of a Murderer"|
|1999-2001||Spaced||First Sleeping Ex-flatmate, Man on Tube Next to Daisy,
Sounds of Despair tape
|2002-2005||Look Around You||Scientist, Eddie Yorque, Floor manager, Technician||7 episodes|
|2017||Tour de Pharmacy||Commentator||Television film|
|2019||DuckTales||Alister Boorswan (voice)||Episode: "The Duck Knight Returns!"|
|2000||"Keep the Home Fires Burning"||The Bluetones|
|2003||"Psychosis Safari"||The Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster|
|"Blue Song"||Mint Royale|
|2014||"Gust of Wind"||Pharrell Williams featuring Daft Punk|
|2019||Death Stranding||Thomas Southerland||Likeness only|
|2000||BAFTA Awards||Situation Comedy Award||Spaced||Nominated|
|2004||British Independent Film Awards||Best Screenplay||Shaun of the Dead||Won|
|Bram Stoker Awards||Screenplay||Won|
|2005||BAFTA Awards||Alexander Korda Award for Best British Film||Nominated|
|Empire Awards||Best British Director||Nominated|
|ALFS Awards||Best Screenwriter of the Year||Nominated|
|Online Film Critics Society Awards||Best Breakthrough Filmmaker||Nominated|
|Best Original Screenplay||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||Nominated|
|2011||Empire Awards||Best Director||Won|
|Hugo Awards||Best Dramatic Presentation||Scott Pilgrim vs. the World||Nominated|
|Online Film Critics Society||Best Adapted Screenplay||Nominated|
|Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America||Bradbury Award||Nominated|
|Satellite Awards||Best Adapted Screenplay||The Adventures of Tintin||Nominated|
|2012||Annie Awards||Writing in a Feature Production||Nominated|
|2014||Saturn Awards||Best Writing||The World's End||Nominated|
|Empire Awards||Best Director||Nominated|
|Georgia Film Critics Association||Best Director||Nominated|
|Oglethorpe Award for Excellence in Georgia Cinema||Won|