Newspaper article Coffs Coast Advocate (Coffs Harbour, Australia)

A Fish-out-of-Water Comedy

Newspaper article Coffs Coast Advocate (Coffs Harbour, Australia)

A Fish-out-of-Water Comedy

Article excerpt

BACK from a whistle stop promotional tour where he faced a grilling by hundreds of journalists, Simon Pegg stepped straight into his latest role - playing a celebrity-obsessed magazine writer who has a terrible knack of upsetting everyone including the people he's sent to interview.

In How To Lose Friends And Alienate People, Pegg plays British hack Sidney Young who lands a highly coveted job on an upscale Manhattan-based glossy called Sharps.

But his dream of finding himself inside the glamorous world of premiers, parties and rubbing shoulders with beautiful starlets goes disastrously, hilariously wrong thanks to a series of spectacular gaffs.

"It was interesting because I started the film directly after doing a big block of press for Hot Fuzz so I had literally just been in contact with about 600 journalists," said Pegg.

"So it was fascinating and funny and not as weird as you might think it was. I didn't suddenly think 'oh I'm on the other side of it now and now I understand them'. I think journalists are individuals and I wouldn't presume to say they are all the same."

How To Lose Friends And Alienate People is loosely based on British journalist Toby Young's memoir of his time working on Vanity Fair magazine. But, as Pegg points out, although the book is the inspiration, the film is vastly different.

"The film is very much an adaptation of the book and I'm keen to stress that," said Pegg.

"The book doesn't really lend itself to being a film in a sense, because it's very anecdotal and it's filled with huge tracts about philosophy and it's very much a book and an enjoyable one, but in order to make it into a film Peter (Straughan, screenwriter) had to shape it as such so it is pretty different."

But, says Pegg, one of the book's themes - the increasingly blurred divide between celebrity journalism and the people they write about - is still very relevant, perhaps even more so now than ever. …

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