Simon Pegg on BBC’s Desert Island Discos: Actor opens up on struggles with alcohol on Mission Impossible set
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Simon Pegg has opened up about alcoholism and his recovery journey while working alongside Tom Cruise on Mission Impossible films. Pegg made the revelation on the latest episode of BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs.
The actor and writer spoke about reliance on alcohol and how he hid it while working on film sets in the early 2000s. He admitted: “You become very sneaky when you have something like that in your life.”
The star spoke about the realisation that he was a depressive alcoholic despite having a burgeoning film career. He said: “You learn how to do it without anyone noticing because it takes over. It wants to sustain itself and it will do everything it can to not be stopped,” the 53-year-old tells Lauren Laverne, host of the show. “But eventually it just gets to a point when it can’t be hidden, and that’s when, thankfully, I was able to pull out of the dive.”
Pegg said that his mental health problems began when he was a teenager after his A-levels, before studying at the University of Bristol. He revealed that while filming Mission Impossible III in 2006 a seriously low mood returned unexpectedly and he began using alcohol to numb his emotional pain. Simon revealed that the birth of his daughter, Matilda in 2009 forced him to admit his dependency and accept the need for recovery.
During the interview Pegg also talks about his relationship with longtime co-star Tom Cruise. Pegg said while Cruise is a friend he still steers clear of discussing Cruise’s controversial faith in the Church of Scientology, believing it would “abuse my privileged access that I get to him”.
He added: “My relationship with him is just very simple and amiable,” he tells Laverne. “It’s always been a very easy relationship. I think you realise, when you meet the person rather than the thicket of mythology that’s built up around them, it’s a different experience. I mean, he loves [the fame] and he really relishes it, it’s all he knows. It energises him and spurs him on.”
Pegg, who is popularly known for his leading roles in the “Cornetto” film trilogy Shaun Of The Dead, Hot Fuzz and The World’s End which he worked closely with friend Edgar Wright and Nick Frost on, revealed that he teases Cruise about his fame. He said: “We joke about it. I mean, I always make fun of him for it, you know, about the things that he can access,” he says.