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Wed 7 Dec 2011 06:38 PM

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Simon Pegg trades comedy for action in MI:4

The British comedian on how much he’d have to be paid to climb the Burj Khalifa

Simon Pegg trades comedy for action in MI:4
Simon Pegg with his Mission Impossible co-stars

Arabian Business: You’re known for your comedy: how was the switch to an action film?

I think comedy in a film of this kind is very important. It’s so tense and so exciting that the comedy lets you breathe and enables you to relax a little bit. Otherwise it would be incredibly exhausting to watch this film if there was no laughter. It would just be tiring because it is so relentlessly action-packed. I think Brad Bird pitches it very carefully so it happens when it should happen, and when it’s time for something serious and scary the comedy takes a back seat.

Did you enjoy working with Tom?

I think my relationship with Tom is very similar to Benji’s with Ethan. Benji sees Ethan Hunt and he thinks, ‘wow he’s such a cool guy’. Benji feels very privileged to work with him, and I feel like that with Tom. He is a great guy, a fantastic actor and a big movie star, and I get quite star struck around him.

How much would you have to be paid to do Tom’s Burj Khalifa stunts?

I think as long as Tom Cruise is working, I don’t have to do stunts like that. He is such a professional and he dedicates himself 100 percent to everything he does. I do as well, but as for that kind of thing, I’m glad he did it and not me. I was with him up there when he did it, and it’s very, very high. I would be terrified. I wouldn’t do it without a significant pay increase.

How did you rate Dubai as a setting for the film?

What Dubai does very well in this film is form a very impressive backdrop. It shows off the splendor of the city and the extraordinary look and scale of the place. It’s great to see Dubai on the big screen, it does give you an idea of how extraordinary the place is.

Has your net-worth gone up after starring in MI:4?

I don’t ever really think about things like that. I couldn’t possibly say. I do have life insurance but I’m sure it’s no greater than yours or anyone else’s.

As a writer, would you have consider working on the MI:4 script?

Sometimes it’s nice to just go and read someone else’s lines, and if you trust the people who are writing and producing as I do with JJ [Abrams] and the guys who wrote the film, it’s nice not to have that responsibility.

I also like to write my own stuff. With Mission Impossible it feels like it should be written by someone else.

Would you consider working with Brad Bird again?

I’d love to. I love Brad’s style. When hiring him for this film, JJ and Tom realized that it doesn’t matter if it’s animation or real life, it’s still about pace and composition and staging of action, and Brad can do that really well. I would love to a voice in a Brad Bird animation, ‘The Incredibles’ is up there as one of my favourite films. So I’d be there in a heartbeat.

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