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Simon Pegg   ('Run, Fatboy, Run') Simon Pegg ('Run, Fatboy, Run')

'Got It Pegged'

Simon Pegg is fast establishing himself as one of Englands leading comic movie actors. But calling him a handsome leading man might be stretching it a bit. He knows that too — and that’s why he pinches himself when he recalls that his last two on-screen lovers have been two A-list Hollywood beauties. Simon Pegg is an English comedian, writer and film and television actor. He has also performed stand-up comedy. He is known for his title roles in 'Shaun of the Dead' and 'Hot Fuzz,' and for the British sitcom 'Spaced.' Much of his major work has been in collaboration with some combination of Nick Frost, Jessica Hynes, Dylan Moran and Edgar Wright.

Simon is also close friends with American actor David Schwimmer. The two have worked together in 'Band of Brothers,' 'Big Nothing' and newly released comedy 'Run, Fat Boy, Run.'

Chatting recently with Simon, 37, it was those last two on-screen lovers that he first pays mention to: “In my last two films I have had Kirsten Dunst and Thandie Newton as my love interest. It really gives hope to pudgy little ordinary guys everywhere.”

In his latest British rom-com 'Run, Fatboy, Run,' a security guard attempts to run a marathon to show Libby (Thandie Newton), the pregnant girlfriend he ditched at the altar, that he is capable of commitment. But, of course, Pegg isn't totally stupid about the whole ditching-Thandie-at-the-alter thing: “I think it is the least believable moment in the film. You have to suspend your disbelief so much. I can go see 'The Lord Of The Rings' and believe in hobbits and orcs. But I see 'Run, Fatboy, Run' and think ‘What the hell?’ The thing is, Dennis has landed himself such a wonderful girl, so strong and successful, that he doesn’t believe it. He fears he will destroy her life.”

When he started work on 'Fatboy' he had just finished making 'Hot Fuzz,' where he had trained for four months and lost two stone for the stunts in the hit cop comedy. “I had about a month between 'Hot Fuzz' and this film and I was in peak physical condition. The film isn’t a joke about being fat. It is more about being fat of mind, becoming slothful and stopping caring. I had three fatsuits, in decreasing fatness, that I wore for filming. The biggest one had man boobs."

And the fat suits? “The suits were very annoying, especially when nature called. I decided against trying to put on weight for real because it is unhealthy and because the film required me to run a lot.”

Simon, who became famous thanks to his slacker creation Tim Bisley in 1999 UK telly comedy 'Spaced,' is now so into pounding the pavements that he is considering the ultimate test. “I really enjoy getting out there and having a little run. It’s a nice way to relax. I am tempted now to enter a fun run or maybe even do the London Marathon.”

Simon, who married Maureen McCann in 2005, is hugely in demand. He has most recently been filming the comedy 'How To Lose Friends And Alienate People,' which stars Kirsten Dunst and Jeff Bridges, in New York.

He has also appeared in 'Mission Impossible III,' his own films 'Hot Fuzz' and 'Shaun Of The Dead' have been big successes, and he will soon be seen with Gwyneth Paltrow, Penelope Cruz and Danny De Vito in 'The Good Night.'

All that success makes Simon wants to pinch himself. “Every day I step back and think, ‘Wow.’ When you are standing under Brooklyn Bridge in New York shooting a film it really jumps out at you. I never want it to stop being surprising.”

Simon, from Gloucester, credits his mother with helping him to achieve his big-screen dreams. "I had always wanted to be in films because I was a huge fan of them. My parents were always utterly supportive of me. My mum let me go to a theatre studies college in Stratford-upon-Avon when I was 16. She got the money together, got the grant. She encouraged me. She was a keen amateur actress though the idea of being a professional wasn’t an option for her as a young girl in Gloucester. My love of film was entirely down to her. My dad was creative as well, he was a musician.”

Yet the path to fame and fortune has not always been easy. “I worked as a demonstrator of battery-operated toys and in manual labour. The worst thing was an animal- feed packing factory, which was infested with mice. I went through that whole time of living hand to mouth.”

Simon is also the godfather to Apple, the daughter of Coldplay frontman Chris Martin and Gwyneth Paltrow. He has also become pals with 'Run, Fatboy, Run' director and Friends star David Schwimmer, who he appeared alongside in the movie 'Big Nothing.' In 'Run, Fatboy, Run' another friend, Little Britain star David Walliams, makes a cameo appearance.

The pair met at Bristol University. “David and I go back 20 years. Every time I see him in the paper, with all his success, I feel quite proud of him. I was in the year above and we did plays together. We ran a comedy club together in Clifton when we were 18. We never envisaged that we would end up where we are now. We just wondered where our next bottle of Newcastle Brown would come from.”

Simon admits his comedy wasn’t so great at the start. “I had a goldfish on stage with me and I did poetry. I don’t know what I was thinking of in those days.”

It’s all changed now. Yet for all you guys thinking that working with Thandie Newton must be truly wonderful, Simon says she is nothing like her Hollywood image. "She is a practical joker who enjoys toilet humour. Simon explains: “She put plastic wrap over my toilet, stapled up my T-shirt, put fake poo in my trailer and moulded chocolate bars and dropped them in my toilet. The so-called porcelain beauty is no such thing!”

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