British actor finds happiness is in the journey
TORONTO — Simon Pegg plays a routineplagued London psychiatrist who bursts forth from a selfconstructed shell to become a global adventurer in the movie part of Johannesburg and it felt quite tense and everyone seemed to be... there was a lot of frowning. “Then you’d go into these places of abject poverty and there was a lot of life and happiness,” he says. “That’s not to suggest that’s somehow a better way of living, but it might be a better way of understanding what happiness is because you have a clearer idea of what happiness isn’t.” The character of Hector, Pegg acknowledges, likewise travels far afield of the characters he has played in other films, where the emphasis is on comedy. “I wouldn’t call this a departure as much as an evolution,” he says. “Certainly the films I’ve made with Edgar Wright, we’ve always tried to give them an emotional depth so there’s a genuine story going on there. “Shaun of the Dead is a hilarious zombie comedy, but it’s also about growing up and letting go of the things that you cling to, and The World’s End is about a suicidal alcoholic,” he says. “It’s not a huge comedy premise there. “But Hector felt to me like a neat segue into doing more serious stuff. I often see myself described as a comic, and I’m not a comic. I haven’t been a comic for 15 years. I’m an actor. “And I feel like being an actor is playing all of those things,” he says of Hector’s far-ranging emotional journey in the film. “You don’t just specialize in comedy. There are other notes to be able to play, and to make the comedy even funnier, you often have to play the others. This film is all about tonal shifts and the fact that he goes through every colour in the emotional spectrum. And it was really fun for me to get to play that stuff. “It’s a journey. And the best thing for an actor is to play someone who starts somewhere and ends somewhere different.” Hector and the Search for Happiness opens in theatres Friday, Sept. 26.
Hector (Simon Pegg, above and left) is a psychiatrist who turns into a globe-trotting seeker of happiness.