The Ice Adventures Of Buck Wild Star Simon Pegg On His Long-Awaited Spin-Off [Interview]

The "Ice Age" franchise has, rather amazingly, been around for just shy of 20 years. What started as a fairly straightforward movie has since blossomed into a series that not only won't quit, but is now expanding into spin-off territory under Disney's leadership, potentially paving the way for many more installments to come. The first of these installments is upon is in the form of "The Ice Age Adventures of Buck Wild." As the title implies, it centers on the character of Buck, voiced by Simon Pegg ("Shaun of the Dead," "Mission Impossible").

While this may not be the character that Pegg is most associated with, he has been voicing buck since 2009 when he debuted in "Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs," and he's been a mainstay of the series ever since. Following the Disney merger with Fox, the Mouse House gained control of the franchise and is now offering up the latest film as a Disney+ exclusive, which allows Buck to take the spotlight after 12 years.

I recently had the good fortune of speaking with Pegg over Zoom in honor of the film's Disney+ debut. We discussed how the spin-off came about, why he and Edgar Wright don't like to do sequels to their movies, the craziness of filming "Mission: Impossible 7," and much more.

"It's exhausting, but it's enormous fun"

How's it going?

It's good, Ryan. What the hell is behind that blanket there. It's gonna drop and reveal magic.

I was attempting to hide the fact that I'm doing this in my closet and I thought this was a better option. The illusion is shattered.

It's the tantalizing promise. I don't know what's behind there. It could be anything. It's Schrodinger's cat.

We'll probably leave it at that because that's more exciting than the truth. So, we're here to talk about the new "Ice Age" flick. In researching this, in my head, you were the "new" character, but you've been doing this long enough now where you're getting your own movie. How does that feel?

I've been doing Buck for 12 years now, but "Ice Age" has been around for 20 years, which is incredible. Some of the young adults that watched it when it first came out will have families of their own now. I'm delighted. In all of the movies that I did as Buck, we would drop hints about a Buck spin-off, because we'd always have massive fun doing the sessions because he's such an energetic character. I'd always be really pumped afterwards because I'd be so up, and I'd be like, "Oh man, we should do this more. We should do like a Buck movie," half-jokingly. I'm sure it wasn't my persistent hinting that got the job done, but here we are in "The Ice Age Adventures of Buck Wild."

"Ice Age" has been around a long time, originally at Fox, now at Disney. Was this something that was in the works before the merger happened? Or did the merger and Disney+ allow for this to happen?

Do you know what? I don't know the details. I mean, I always stayed in contact with ["Ice Age" franchise producer] Lori Forte, who I always really loved working with. I'd read a rumor somewhere there was talk of a Buck series or something, but that came from no official channel. It was like an internet rumor. I was like, "Hey Lori, is this..." and she was like, "No." Who knows where they were development-wise. But it's great. If that's the reason why it's happened, then it's a great sort of outcome for the merger.

Totally. So I've always had an enormous deal of respect for voice acting specifically because I don't think your average person understands that it's more than just sitting in a booth. You do a lot. But as a performer, what is it that appeals specifically about doing voice acting to you?

Well, I mean, I took Buck back in 2008 because my wife was pregnant, and I was determined to have a movie that our child could watch, because everything I'd done up to that point had been fairly sort of adult-oriented. Not in that way. But I kind of decided to do it for that reason and then doing it and sort of getting into the swing of it. It's a real challenge. It's a discipline that you have to hone because you put everything into your voice. There's a reason why there are actors who specifically do voice, because it's a skill not everybody can do. You have to put every single element of your performative technique into one facet of your being, which is your voice. And it's exhausting, but it's enormous fun.

"Sometimes you add to something, and it ends up damaging the original"

This is now a character you've done a few times. You've revisited a few characters. You've done Benji [from "Mission Impossible"] a few times. Are there any characters that you've only done once that you're like, "I want another crack at this one," having revisited a few characters you've done?

I'd love to play Gary King again from "The World's End" because I really, really loved playing that character. Edgar [Wright] and I tend not to dwell on the past. We don't do sequels to our movies because we just always want to keep things moving, do different things. And people always ask us about sequels, and we always say no. I think that will always be the case, but in an imaginary kind of scenario where we did do a sequel, I would definitely do a kind of post-apocalyptic "World's End" sequel with Gary off in the wilderness with his blank friends fighting.

That's an interesting idea because I had bugged you both during different interviews about "Hot Fuzz 2" because that's the one I would like to see. But I had never thought about that. That actually makes more sense if you really think about where that movie left off and the possibility there.

Yeah. It would be a different film, and "Hot Fuzz" definitely lends itself to a sequel because "Hot Fuzz" is an origin story really. It's about those two cops becoming hot fuzz at the end. There's a reason why the title is at the end of the movie. It's because by that time they've become these two super cops. But as I say, Edgar and I are always like, we don't really want to just rinse our ideas for cash. We'd kind of like to move on and do things.

And I respect that a lot. And "Hot Fuzz" to me is very precious. It is my favorite comedy of all time.

Oh, thanks.

Of course, yeah. So I have a lot of respect for that.

You don't want to spoil them retroactively. Sometimes you add to something, and it ends up damaging the original. Even something like "Jaws," which is an unassailable masterpiece, you can't help but mention "Jaws [The Revenge]" in the same breath. It's just slightly diminishing.

Yeah, totally, despite Michael Caine's best efforts. I talked to you a couple of years ago, and at that point, you were just getting ready to film "Mission Impossible 7." Little did we know that was going to end up being this insane stop-start crazy situation. What was that journey like? Actually shooting that movie during that time and going through the hurdles of having to get that done?

Well, in a way we're still shooting it because we're now transitioning into episode eight, and there are still bits of seven we need to sort of finesse. It was hard work because we were supposed to start in Venice. We had to down tool for six or seven months and then eventually we got to Venice and Norway. I mean, our COVID protocols, I think wrote the book going forward for the film industry. I mean, Tom [Cruise] and [Christopher McQuarrie] were extremely rigorous in making sure that we were able to shoot, and nothing was done recklessly. But it was all very, very, very carefully managed. We found a way, and I think people have found a way now. You're just super careful. It doesn't insulate you against COVID ultimately. It will still slip through. And we did have to shut down a couple of times, but that's just the way of the world at the moment.

Unfortunately, that's true. Let's circle back to "Ice Age" to wrap this up. This is going to be on Disney+. There's a lot of streaming options. What would you say to the fans or families looking for stuff to watch?

Well, one thing I think that's lovely is that the whole of the "Ice Age" franchise is now on Disney Plus. So you can go right back to the beginning to when the herd was just Manny, Diego, and Sid. It's a really lovely kind of evolution. The family has grown like any family. In "Ice Age" family is herd, and the herd has grown and grown and grown. So you can go back and start from the very beginning and then get to this new adventure. I think in the era of cinematic universes, this is very much along those lines. Now we have enough characters to start having individual adventures and spending more time with them, rather than trying to service everybody in one movie. So who knows? I don't know what the plans are, but maybe this is the beginning of the "Ice Age" cinematic universe.

"The Ice Age Adventures of Buck Wild" arrives on Disney+ January 28.