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The rock 'n' roll inspiration behind 'Scott Pilgrim's' Beck-led Sex-Bob-Omb

July 12, 2010 | 10:24 am

What film will be the breakout sensation of Comic-Con International 2010? You might want to put your money on Edgar Wright's "Scott Pilgrim vs. the World," which plugs its pop-culture amp into comic books, comedy and cool-kid music. Our sister blog Hero Complex, Geoff Boucher's must-read spot for all-pop-culture-things-awesome, will provide most of The Times' "Scott Pilgrim vs. the World" coverage. Monday's piece maps the music landscape where the film roams and is excerpted below. 



One doesn't have to get far into Bryan Lee O'Malley's six-part "Scott Pilgrim" series to realize some of the inherent challenges in bringing the pop-culture-obsessed comic to the big screen. From the first few pages of "Scott Pilgrim's Precious Little Life," released by Oni Press back in 2004, O'Malley's creation unfolds like a video game being played at a frame-by-frame pace. 

Scott Pilgrim Bryan Lee OMallley Oni At its heart, it's a tale of dating mishaps and a fear of relationships unknown, and the commitment-phobic themes unfold amid the series' grand martial arts-like fight scenes with "evil" ex-boyfriends. Yet Michael Cera, who has the title role in Edgar Wright's cinematic interpretation "Scott Pilgrim vs. the World," wasn't worried about the metaphor being obscured by the cartoonish fight scenes and the outlandish plot, in which Scott Pilgrim must win the heart of Ramona Flowers by taking on her seven ex-boyfriends. 

That's largely because "Scott Pilgrim vs. the World," due Aug. 13, is not only a comic book movie; it's arguably this summer's most rock 'n' roll-centric film. Cera's Pilgrim is a twentysomething slacker who despite declaring himself awesome is a below-average bass player. With half a dozen original songs, including pieces from Silver Lake's Beck, "Scott Pilgrim vs. the World" will live and die by its music as much as its action and script.

"Whenever you see a band in a movie, the music is barely passable," Cera said. "It's like when you see a film, and someone is writing a book. Whenever you hear excerpts of the writing, it's just terrible. You're like, 'That's what they're writing?' It's kind of the same theory."

What band did Beck use for inspiration in recording songs for the film? The answer and more on Hero Complex.

-- Todd Martens

Images: At top, Sex Bob-Omb in "Scott Pilgrim" comics (Bryan Lee O'Malley). Bottom, a "Scott Pilgrim" cover.