On the Set of Scott Pilgrim vs. the World

In Da Club

Being that music plays such a large part in O’Malley’s comics, it would have to play an even bigger part in the movie, since for the first time ever, you’d actually be able to hear the music of Sex Bob-omb and the other bands. Working with hipster producer Nigel Goodrich (Radiohead, Beck), Wright has pulled together a who’s who of musicians, not only from the Toronto music scene like Metric and Broken Social Scene, but also some of the world’s hippest acts like Beck and Cornelius, both of whom wrote songs for the movie. (Oddly, Metric and Beck are also on "The Twilight Saga: Eclipse" soundtrack out next month. Coincidence? I think not.)

One of the coolest things about the comics is the way O’Malley has used them as a travelogue of some of the hipper locations in and around Toronto, something Wright taken advantage of to shoot at places like the popular local rock club, Lee’s Palace. Wright’s team also created part of the interiors of Lee’s Palace including the dressing room on the soundstages, although all that was left when we got there was the distinctive checkerboard tile floor of Lee’s. In the comic book, this is where Sex Bob-omb opens for The Clash at Demonhead, a much more successful band formed by Scott’s ex-girlfriend Envy Adams. Another recurring band who shows up in the comics is Crash and the Boys, Crash being played by Erik Knudsen, who played Cera’s friend Lefty in Youth in Revolt. According to Wright, each band would be "played" by a different local band.

To get some idea of the size of the spaces being created for the musical performances, we were taken to giant warehouse space that had been converted into the Ninth Circle Club where the Toronto International Battle of the Bands aka "T.I.B.B." would be taking place. This isn’t a normal rock contest where bands play one at a time and are judged by audience applause, but instead face each other in actual battles as the audiences gather on the large dance floor in between the stages on either side of them. On one side of the space is the stage for Sex Bob-omb and on the other The Katayanagi Twins, who also happen to be two of Ramona’s evil exes! While Sex Bob-omb has their usual set-up, they’ve gotten more successful by this time in the movie, evident in little touches on the set like that they’ve swapped out their "Lame Brand" amps for brand-new "Cool Brand" amps. Meanwhile, the Twins have a much simpler set-up of two linked keyboards and a mixing board, obviously more of an electronica DJ type group ala Chemical Brothers. Behind them was a wall of lights and speakers to pump out their electronic sounds at deafening levels.

The detail paid to this space made it apparent Wright had spent a lot of time going to concerts at some of London’s bigger venues, because it really looked like one of those places, including a makeshift bar on one side with two registers and crates of beer waiting to be sold. A poster behind the bar advertised the night’s show, declaring "Amp vs. Amp! Two Bands Enter, One Band Leaves!"

They wouldn’t be shooting in that space until the next week, when they would have something like 300 to 400 extras filling up the floor between bands (see the photo above) and along the balconies that surround the main area. It certainly looked like it could be a really cool scene, and we were bummed we weren’t able to be there when they filmed it, but the crew took a break from putting the final touches on the set to give us a demonstration of the impressive computerized light show they had created for the Twins, that danced across the wall of 40-50 lighted squares behind them.

Unfortunately, many of the other sets had already been taken down but we were given a walkthrough of the art department where they had pictures and drawings of some of the locations like the stairs for Casa Loma where Scott faces Lucas Lee, the interiors of Wallace and Ramona’s apartments, and Stephen Stills’ house where Sex Bob-omb practices and other places.

The art department was a regular treasure trove of all things Scott Pilgrim so we could see exactly how many of the things from the pages of O’Malley’s comics were being recreated physically. There were lots of great Easter eggs like the mock posters for some of Lucas Lee’s movies with titles such as "Action Doctor," "The Game is Over," "Thrilled to be Here" and there was designs for an arcade game called "Ninja Ninja Revolution." They also had Brian do the artwork to recreate some of the cool T-shirts worn by Scott and others in the comics.

The coolest part of the stuff we saw on the walls was probably the concept art for the weapons including some of the things Scott uses during battle, including his flaming sword. We also saw the design work that went into creating Ramona’s giant hammer, which she uses in her battle with Envy Adams, Knives’ namesake knives, which were innately adorned with dragon etchings. We also got to check out the designs for the weapon Gideon wields, which is a cane containing a sword.

Next up is our interview with newcomer Ellen Wong who plays Knives Chau, which you can read by clicking on "Next" below.