Simon Pegg cringed once he hit the tweet button on his phone yesterday afternoon, immediately second guessing his choice to send out a photo of himself standing next to a mural of Marvel Comics hero Ant-Man. He will not be playing Hank Pym in the big screen adaptation of the movie, but 140 characters can lead to a lot of confusion.
“I was at Marvel doing a podcast and I had my picture taken and I looked around and I said, ‘Oh, it’s Ant-Man!’” the English actor recalled during an interview with BuzzFeed on Friday afternoon. “And then when I tweeted it I realized, oh my, I might have started a storm in a teacup.”
With tweets read like tea leaves by many film and comics bloggers these days, questions surrounding Pegg’s tweet began to swirl immediately. Edgar Wright, the director and Pegg’s co-writer on three films — including next week’s The World’s End — is slated to direct the big screen adaptation of the Marvel Comics series, which led many fans and bloggers to speculate that he had chosen Pegg as his leading man.
Pegg emphasized his non-participation in the film with several wry and slightly exasperated tweets late Thursday evening, and laughed about the whole situation on Friday. He shrugged at the internet’s ability to churn out rumors and speculation seemingly without end; having grown up a geek himself — his memoir is titled Nerd Do Well — he’s uncertain whether he’d have been such a voracious consumer of industry whispers and false signals.
“I don’t know; it amazes me, the flurry of interest baffles me,” Pegg laughed. “It’s like, it’s a fucking film! There’s huge turmoil in Egypt. Nobody’s tweeting about that — or maybe just no one on my feed. It’s very odd.
“I think these days, because there is so much dissemination of information, there’s such a huge scrabble for scoops,” he continued, “with just the slightest little thing, people just on it — even knowing it’s probably not true. Because they know they’ll get hits for their website, and if they get hits for their website, they’ll get advertising and they’ll make money.”
Wright said that he knew the ramifications of Pegg’s tweet the moment he saw it on his phone.
“When I saw that he had done that, I said, ‘Oh no, now everybody is going to ask me about this tomorrow,’” the director admitted, laughing with verve. “And then we were doing this Apple Store Q&A, me and Nick [Frost], and we very quickly started doing this joke, we had a clip of Simon that said, ‘The late Simon Pegg, who sadly died today.’ I thought I’d get my revenge by saying he was dead. If you tweet about this Q&A, please put this #PrayForSimon.”
Wright took the tweaking further, sending out a series of faked “scoops” over Twitter (see below).
Pegg also wanted to have some fun with it.
“I was going to take a picture of myself with different people’s faces today,” he said, grabbing a magazine with a cover photo featuring The Lone Ranger, “to see if I could get a rumor started that I was playing Armie Hammer.”