15 years ago, the team behind cult Channel 4 sitcom Spaced released their love letter to zombie films, Shaun of the Dead. While it had all the jumps, scares, and apocalyptic doom of a great zombie movie, it was also one of the funniest British comedies to hit the big screen in a long time. It heralded the start of a strong film career for several cast members as well as director Edgar Wright.
Shaun of the Dead marked the beginning of what went on to become known as the “Cornetto trilogy”, with Hot Fuzz and The World’s End also written by Wright and Simon Pegg – the latter starring in each alongside Nick Frost. We take a look at what the main cast and director have been up to since.
Simon Pegg (Shaun; also co-writer)
His first leading role in a film, Shaun of the Dead gave Simon Pegg the chance to flesh out the man-child character he’d played as Tim in Spaced, to great effect. Post-Shaun, Pegg featured in numerous British comedy series such as the sublime Look Around You, but it was 2006’s role as Benji in Mission: Impossible III that took his career to the next level. Penning and starring in the David Schwimmer-directed Run, Fatboy, Run, he then landed a second major role as Scotty in the reboot of Star Trek. Soon followed a small part in Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens. A self-proclaimed nerd, his career has found him starring in franchises he obsessed over as a young boy, going as far as writing 2016’s Star Trek Beyond.
In the last year alone, Pegg has featured in Ready Player One, Terminal, Slaughterhouse Rulez and Mission: Impossible – Fallout. With no sign of slowing down, he is working on three films currently in production and has another Star Trek sequel in the pipeline.
Edgar Wright (director, co-writer)
Edgar Wright had a number of TV comedy series under his belt by the time he directed Spaced, and his fast-paced and often music-influenced style as featured throughout the sitcom soon became his calling card. He exercised this style further within Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz and The World’s End, all of which he co-wrote with Pegg. His first feature-length film away from the Cornetto trilogy was 2010’s graphic novel-inspired Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. This again featured his fast-paced editing set alongside a high-octane soundtrack. 2017’s Baby Driver followed in a very similar vein, with the film’s soundtrack guiding the film almost in a musical-like way. Next up for Wright is the currently untitled documentary he’s been working on with the band Sparks, and a noir-esque picture called Last Night in Soho with Anya Taylor-Joy, Matt Smith, and Thomasin McKenzie already attached.
Nick Frost (Ed)
Frost was working as a waiter when best friend Pegg cast him as the gun-toting Mike in Spaced. This slight leap of faith paid off, with Frost giving one of the funniest performances in the show. He starred in leading roles in each of the Cornetto trilogy films and also teamed up with Pegg separately in the slightly less memorable alien comedy Paul. Outside of their partnership, Frost has starred in numerous British films including The Boat That Rocked, Attack the Block, and Cuban Fury. He teamed up with Pegg again for last year’s Slaughterhouse Rulez, and recently starred alongside Dwayne Johnson and Vince Vaughn in Fighting With My Family, written and directed by Stephen Merchant.
Lucy Davis (Dianne)
Already well known in the UK for her breakthrough role as Dawn in The Office, Davis’ career took a slightly different direction after Shaun. A move to the States saw her with small roles in the likes of Ugly Betty, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip and Reaper. It wasn’t until 2017’s Wonder Woman that she made her real leap into Hollywood mainstream as Etta Candy, and then went on to land herself the role of Aunt Hilda in Netflix’s Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.
Kate Ashfield (Liz)
Kate Ashfield’s career has probably been the quietest of the Shaun cast, although she seems to have actually been the busiest, with countless TV series, short films and feature lengths to her name since 2004. Most notably, she’s worked on Silent Witness, Nymphomaniac: Vol. II and Line of Duty.
Dylan Moran (David)
Dylan Moran was already a successful standup comic and actor prior to his role as the spineless David. Having won the newcomer’s award at the Edinburgh Fringe and written and starred in the hugely popular sitcom Black Books, he also had the lead role alongside Michael Caine in 2003’s The Actors. Post-Shaun he starred in Michael Winterbottom’s A Cock and Bull Story and teamed up with Pegg for Run, Fatboy, Run. 2014 saw him play a small part in Calvary, but since then, aside from appearing in the TV series Uncle, he has predominantly focused on his standup career.