Simon Pegg Talks Isolation, Mental Health and Luck
In the years since 1999, when Simon Pegg made his breakthrough with the British sci-fi sitcom Spaced, the actor and writer has not only become a superstar, he’s appeared in a greater number of fanboy properties than almost anyone else in Hollywood. Whether it’s Mission: Impossible, Star Trek, Star Wars, The Chronicles of Narnia, The Adventures of Tintin, The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance, Ice Age, Phineas and Ferb or Ready Player One, Pegg has earned enough geek cred to last several lifetimes. In the actor’s latest project, Luck, the new film from Skydance Animation and AppleTV+, we learn how he’s made it all possible: as it turns out, Simon Pegg has nine lives.
“I really loved the concept,” Pegg says of Luck, wherein he plays the role of Bob, a magical black cat from the Land of Luck. “It was a huge, mythic world, this beautifully realized, magical land,” Pegg says. Luck follows Sam Greenfield, voiced by Eva Noblezada (Yellow Rose, Easter Sunday), a girl who turns 18, aging out of the foster care system without ever being adopted. As she moves into her first apartment and starts her first job, Sam finds that everything is going wrong. When she finds a lucky penny, her fortune changes, and suddenly she feels able to do anything. There’s a catch, shower: the penny, as it turns out, belongs to Bob, a mysterious feline with a secret, and he needs the penny for his own purposes.
Sam follows Bob to the Land of Luck, where both good and bad luck are manufactured. The two begin a journey that will change their lives, as well as their preconceptions about the nature of luck and fate.
“He’s in a position where his own self preservation is so important to him that he cuts himself off from everybody, he doesn’t want to form any attachments.”
The balance of good luck and bad is a delicate one, and Sam and Bob learn that bad luck can be as important to shaping who we are as the good. “It’s not some sunny world where everything is roses and everybody just gets through life without any problems,” Pegg says. “It starts from quite a serious point of view. But it manages to tell a story in such a lovely and imaginative way, which has a real, genuinely important message … you need the good and the bad, and the good usually happens when you are good to other people.” Pegg voiced his role in Luck entirely from home while isolating due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and never actually even met Noblezada until after they had both recorded all of their dialogue. “I’d seen a little bit of her performance,” Pegg says. “I’d heard a little bit of her voice work, just to get an idea of who Sam was… when I met Eva, finally, and we kind of got on like a house on fire, I felt like I knew her. And we had a really easy chemistry with each other, which kind of felt like Bob and Sam.”
Pegg related to Bob and Sam, who both believe that they are cursed with terrible luck. Pegg has been open about having suffered from depression since the age of 18, which led to a battle with alcoholism. The concepts of despair and desperation resonate with Pegg, and he identifies with Bob. “He’s in a position where his own self preservation is so important to him that he cuts himself off from everybody, he doesn’t want to form any attachments,” Pegg says.
“It starts from quite a serious point of view. But it manages to tell a story in such a lovely and imaginative way, which has a real, genuinely important message … you need the good and the bad, and the good usually happens when you are good to other people.”
“Ultimately, when he starts to let that go, when [he] starts to actually share and admit that he has stuff going on, that’s when things start to get better for him. And I think that’s very much an interesting parallel with the human condition of feeling isolated or anxious, or the kinds of mental health issues that lots of people deal with. As soon as they share that, as soon as it becomes something that becomes a shared problem or something that could be helped by someone else, that’s when those things start to change.”
Though he may be down to his last life, Simon Pegg always lands on his feet. You can enjoy his charming voice performance in Luck on AppleTV+ now. If you can’t wait until next summer for Mission Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One to see more of Simon Pegg, no need to fear: the limited run series The Undeclared War, which reunites Pegg with Ready Player One co-star Mark Rylance, is coming to Peacock on August 18.
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