Edgar, Simon and Nira had very specific ideas as to who should play each character, and in every role, they cast the epitome of their vision. Simon remarks: “Both Edgar and I always write from a very truthful perspective. We always try and draw on reality because that’s where a convincing story or character will come from.” To enhance the honesty of the performance, they allowed their actors to contribute to the development of the character, bringing as much of themselves to the role as they felt appropriate.
Simon Pegg plays Shaun – a twenty-nine year old who manages an electrical goods store in North London. Says Simon: “Shaun’s journey is about growing up and learning to take on responsibility. Anything could have motivated him to get on with his life – a traffic jam, a hailstorm, a fire. It just so happens it’s a zombie invasion.”
Kate Ashfield plays Liz – Shaun’s girlfriend and a teacher. Says Kate: “Liz loves Shaun but she just wants things to move on. They always go to the Winchester and they’re always with Ed. She wants to do different things, go to different places, live more. That’s why she splits up with him – it’s not because she doesn’t love him.”
Nick Frost plays Ed – Shaun’s best mate, lazy, unemployed and lives with Shaun. Nick says: “Ed is Shaun’s best mate. He came to stay at his house years before and just never left. It’s an odd kind of relationship. Shaun doesn’t need Ed really but he likes him. Ed listens to what Shaun has to say. Shaun can do what he wants, say what he wants and Ed doesn’t give a shit, he doesn’t judge him.”
Dylan Moran plays David – Dianne’s boyfriend with an answer for everything, and really in love with Liz. Dylan says: “David’s not very happy with who he is and what he’s doing. He’s not sure of himself. He’s very insecure, wound up. Always that feeling of looking over the garden wall, sure that everybody else is having a better time and he’s been excluded.”
Lucy Davis plays Dianne – David’s girlfriend, a drama teacher. Lucy says: “Dianne is a little bit odd but kind and well meaning. She’s so keen and eager to be helpful. She comes up with the idea that the only way to escape death is that they pretend to be zombies too. She relishes this part of the day so much, where she is finally of use.”
The main cast also includes Penelope Wilton as Barbara, Shaun’s mother with whom Shaun is very close even though they don’t communicate very well, Bill Nighy as Shaun’s stepfather, Philip, a real monster but only in Shaun’s head, Peter Serafincowicz as Shaun’s long-suffering flat mate, and Jessica Stevenson, Simon’s ‘Spaced’ writing partner and co-star, as Yvonne, an old friend whom Shaun bumps into on their way to the Winchester.