Based on the six-book comic series by Bryan Lee O'Malley, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World follows a young man trying to win the heart of Ramona Flowers, a girl with a sketchy past and seven evil exes to show for it. Scott must fight his way through the ranks of The League of Evil Exes to earn the right to be with her. Fans were relieved when director Edgar Wright — of Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz fame — took the helm for the movie adaptation, knowing he could bring the series' quirky action and drama to the big screen.
But what about the cast? O'Malley's characters bring all kinds of personality and humor to the table, along with the challenges that take Scott from boy to the man he desperately wants to become. For the movie to be more than an action flick with a checklist of strange set pieces, random video game references, and an indie rock backdrop, that casting needs to be strong. We take a look at the Scott Pilgrim and the top 13 players in his life, evaluating Wright's selections for the roles.
Movie Update: So how did the cast do? Check out our final grades below.
Michael Cera as Scott Pilgrim
"Smoking is... It's evil right? Who smokes?"
Scott Pilgrim's a self-absorbed jerk, but his charisma and ignorant innocence ultimately make him a likable character. Cera can pull off Scott's social awkwardness, but judging from the trailer he might be channeling a bit too much of Juno’s Paulie Bleeker. He'll need to find a little bit of his Superbad side to truly shine.
We were a little worried about Cera's ability to pull off this role, fearing it would be another one of those "Michael Cera plays Michael Cera" roles. But he proved us wrong. He might not have played the exact Scott Pilgrim in the pages of O'Malley's comic, but he pulled off his own version and a character that tugs at all the right emotions. He lets us know that Pilgrim is a bit of a self-absorbed jerk, and still we can't help but cheer for him.
Ellen Wong as Knives Chau
"My name is Knives Chau, and I am a SCOTTAHOLIC!”
Scott 's 17-year-old ex-girlfriend (he's 23, by the way) is totally devoted to him, even to the point of attempting to completely change herself after being dumped in favor of Ramona. Wong nails the "quiet schoolgirl hopelessly in love" part, but she might not be able to capture the more complex Knives we get to know a little later in the series. We hope she can do an action scene.
Wong was a double threat in this role. Not only did she pull off the "quiet schoolgirl hopelessly in love," but she also slipped into the "jilted stalker ex-lover" role when needed. Best of all, she did a wonderful job transitioning between the two personas.
Mark Webber as Stephen Stills
“Scott, if your life had a face, I would punch it in the balls.”
The talent of Scott's band “Sex Bob-omb” and longtime friend, Stephen is one of the forces that keeps Scott slightly grounded in reality. Webber has the right look and can pull off the laid-back nature of the character. Our one concern? He might not have the right energy for the band's front man.
We knew Webber had the right look for the laid-back Stephen Stills, but we were concerned about his ability pile on the energy when The Sex Bob-omb's needed it most. In the end, he looked great center stage as the band's "talent" and was spot on portraying the manic pre-show jitters that always plague the character.
Alison Pill as Kim Pine
“WE ARE SEX BOB-OMB! ONE TWO THREE FOUR!”
Not only is Kim the drummer in Scott’s band, she's also an ex-girlfriend from high school. They usually don’t like to talk about that. Pill looks a little too cherubic and lacks the general apathy Kim has throughout the series, but she has passable energy behind the drums.
The trailers made Pill look like a cherub. The movie made her look like Kim Pine. From the general apathy to the friendly loathing she has for Scott, her portrayal hit all the right notes. The only downside was that a lot of her material from the comic was cut from the movie, leaving us wishing she'd had a bigger part to play.
Kieran Culkin as Wallace Wells
“Today a child is born unto us and his name will be bacon.... Everything does not suck.”
Scott's gay roommate, Wallace is probably one of the most important people in his life — Scott would probably be long dead without his guidance (and brutal honesty). Culkin pulls off the role wonderfully with the dazed looks, general frustration, and comedic timing that he shows in the movie's trailers and clips.
We knew Culkin would be great and he was. Wallace is an important role; he constantly keeps Scott in check and makes sure the easily distracted hero is aimed in the right direction. Culkin found the perfect balance of bringing Scott down when he is sitting high in his tower and pushing him forward when all seems lost. He was also hilarious.
Anna Kendrick as Stacy Pilgrim
“Awww, I’m always there for my little brother’s crappy band’s shows, you know that.”
Scott’s younger sister is always a voice of wisdom and maturity in his life, while never sacrificing her own youth in the process. Kendrick is eerily perfect for the role, especially if she can find a nice blend of her characters from Twilight and Up in the Air. Trying to be the voice of reason in Scott’s life might be even more of a challenge than trying to do the same for Twilight’s Bella.
Stacy Pilgrim takes a more up-beat and positive approach to encouraging Scott and keeping his eyes on the prize. Kendrick was one of the best casting decisions made for the movie. The pep, youth, and wisdom are all there, and she sold it without pause.
Johnny Simmons as Young Neil
“Um ... nothing. I just live here.”
Young Neil is Sex Bob-omb's #1 fan but always ends up fading into the background. It only gets worse as Scott’s world gets more and more crazy. It's pretty hard to remember Simmons from what we have seen of him so far, but he is there if you watch closely. So far, so good.
Simmons did a pretty good job as Young Neil, playing the socially awkward friend/fan well. We just never got a chance to see the angst-ridden side of his character. But we're not blaming Simmons. Things inevitably get cut when a series becomes a single movie and plot points, just like Young Neil, fade into the background.