It's hard to think of a geek who's had better luck than Simon Pegg. In his career he's impressed one of his favorite filmmakers, George A. Romero, with his ode to him, "Shaun of the Dead." And he's become Scotty, chief engineer aboard the starship Enterprise, in J.J. Abrams' much-loved reboot of the "Star Trek" franchise. That success has led Abrams to be tapped for rival franchise "Star Wars"'s sequels, although Pegg isn't harassing his boss for spoilers.
First of all, tell me what it was like wearing that hairy suit all day. Did it get hot?
Um, the hairy suit?
Was Harrison Ford difficult to work with?
I knew that was about Chewbacca.
People who get 'Star Wars' and 'Star Trek' confused — does that infuriate you?
You can’t expect everyone to know. It’s like when you follow a certain religion and you think everyone celebrates Christmas. They don’t!
There’s a new 'Star Wars' film coming, obviously, from 'Into Darkness' director J.J. Abrams. What’s your strategy to get J.J. to tell you something about it?
I don’t need a strategy. If J.J. wants to tell you something he will, and if he doesn’t it’s because he wants to keep things close to his chest.
So you didn’t get him drunk or anything?
I respect him too much for that. I’m very happy to be kept in the dark because I haven’t seen a good “Star Wars” film since “Return of the Jedi.”
OK, on to 'Star Trek Into Darkness.' The scene where the spaceship is going all over the place and you and Chris Pine are jumping around and hanging off railings. Is that look on your face genuine terror?
It was more pain. I had to hang from Chris’ hand and the harness could only go from my one hip so I was slightly skewed. But no, it was all acting. My 3-year-old daughter was on set that day and she assumed that’s what my job was. Hanging. She was like, "Are you going to hang today, daddy?”
Scotty doesn’t manage to hold on to the bar and is saved by a much stronger Capt. Kirk. Ever been like, man, I really wish I had Chris’ body?
You should feel his arms. They’re like oak. We’d go to the gym together and it was amazing how the female contingent would start gravitating towards him. Nobody paid me any attention. But no, I was pretty buff at the time!
Maybe you should have been the one holding Chris up.
It was really hard to do the catch because we were both sweating.
You guys should have had that chalk you wear in gym class to stop your hands from slipping.
It’s not that easy to get on a falling starship…
Sweat patches aren’t a sexy look. Are those space suits sweatproof?
Totally. I defy you to find a sweat patch in the movie.
You and Nick Frost have appeared in 'Shaun of the Dead,' 'Hot Fuzz' and other films together. If you could, what part would you give him in 'Star Trek'?
I’d love him to play Harry Mudd from the original '66 series. But I wouldn’t necessarily want him to be in it and I don’t think he would want to either. It’s not like we have to come as a package.
You don’t have a love interest in this movie….
What about my little guy? That’s my love interest. The little fellow. We’re a unit. We’re married.
Your little alien assistant? But you don’t even get to kiss it.
I don’t kiss it.
It would be hard to.
He needs a bit of moisturizing. His face is a little rocky.
But if you could, who would you share a kiss with, Alice Eve or Zoe Saldana?
That’s not a choice any man could make. They’re both as gorgeous as each other. They come in and everyone is just like, "WOW."
Wolf whistles and all?
We try not to be as crass as that. We’ll do it behind their backs. Sneaky.
Speaking of sneaky: Benedict Cumberbatch’s character is really creepy. How do you deal with bad guys like him in real life?
You come across people like that on a Saturday night, drunk and in the mood for a fight. You can see that longing for violence.
Have you ever picked up on it?
I tend not to go out. But it’s a testament to Benedict’s acting in that he’s possibly one of the sweetest people. I did see him get carb rage once. He was working out for a shower scene that didn’t end up in the movie — a lot of girls will be disappointed — and he’d had no carbohydrates for two days. That’s as close as he gets to showing any kind of madness.
Your character, Scotty, is Scottish. What’s your favorite nightcap? And whom would you share it with?
Sparkling water; I don’t drink. Probably my wife.
Not a fellow actor? Have you met everyone in Hollywood that you’ve wanted to meet, as a fan?
I don’t think you could ever meet everybody. L.A. is like one of those safari parks where you can walk amongst the animals. You see, like, Jeff Goldblum in the supermarket.