For “Scott Pilgrim VS. the World” fanboys and fangirls, the highlight of the week arrived at 10:18 Monday night.
Hardcore fans of the comic book, cough, er, “graphic novel” series by Bryan Lee O’Malley lined up down Ponce de Leon Avenue Monday night outside The Plaza Theatre for an advance screening of the quirky comedy.
The screening was waay beyond capacity and many fans (some in costume) were turned away.
The film, directed and adapted for the screen by cult hero director Edgar Wright (“Shaun of the Dead,” “Hot Fuzz”), stars Michael Cera (“Juno,” “Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist”) and Jason Schwartzman (“Rushmore,” “The Darjeeling Limited”).
The screening inspired wild applause and screams from the initial video game music rendition of the Universal film theme in-joke as the lights went down.
Immediately following the film, three directors chairs were pulled out on stage followed by Wright, Cera and Schwartzman themselves (The Plaza, by the way, may want to contact the Guinness folks today about scoring the world record for most iPhone photos snapped in a 10-second time span. . .).
About taking the slacker comic book comedy to ComicCon last month, Schwartzman conceded: “It was a little terrifying. We wanted the fans to be happy.”
Wright said he spent five years thinking about the film adaptation and two years in production with O’Malley working as a collaborator (he even shared plot elements and cribbed a few ideas from Wright for the sixth and perhaps final installment of the series, “Scott Pilgrim’s Finest Hour” released this summer).
Throughout the film, beeps and blips from a generation’s gadget-laden lives are woven throughout the film’s soundtrack.
Explained Wright: “All of those computer and video game sounds are a bit like the soundtrack to our lives. For me, it made perfect sense that when Scott Pilgrim failed at something, internally, he would hear the Mac error sound in his head.”
Added Cera smiling: “Even though he owns a PC!”
For Cera, who has built a career playing sensitive slackers, embodying a video game action hero took some training.
“We had boot camp every morning,” he explained. “I ran and did push ups, sit ups, squats, head stands. . .”
“Prove it!” someone shouted.
Cera grinned and replied: “It’s all in the movie!”
For Schwartzman, who turns up in the last act as the evil music executive and Scott’s final League of Evil Exes nemesis Gideon Graves, his two-week fight sequence with Cera was a little intimidating.
“By the time I showed up at the end, most of the work was done,” he explained. “Edgar was showing me all these clips and I became very aware of all the ways I could come in and ruin this movie.”
Schwartzman credited Cera with giving him the proper notes and tones to play off.
Wright was then asked by an audience member if he felt he had created a film for an entire generation.
Wright replied: “What I tried to capture was that time in your life when you’re post-adolescence and post-school but pre-vocation when you’re still trying to find your way and you’re playing too many video games.”
The celebrity trio arrives at Criminal Records today at 3 p.m. for a sure-to-be-packed “Scott Pilgrim” in-store signing session with fans.
The film officially hits theaters August 13.