Inside a stylish boardroom of the Intercontinental Hotel Sydney, sitting next to Simon Pegg and across from Nick Frost, two British guys who have done some very good films, many of them together, prove to be fascinating and in symmetry with each other’s answers.
Shane A. Bassett – So, any chance of a ‘Paul’ sequel (a movie they did that was a huge hit Down Under)?
Simon Pegg – No, the problem is, that level of budget just wouldn’t get made now.
Nick Frost – If we were going to do it, we would have done it immediately. We were not even contacted to continue the story.
SP – The film did great but a sequel would involve multiple Paul’s so production price would be through the roof. I don’t want to make a sequel to anything for the sake of it, including ‘Run Fatboy Run’ now I have lost a lot of weight. We never made a sequel to ‘Shaun of the Dead’ or ‘Hot Fuzz’ because the story was done and we didn’t want to. People ask about Shaun all the time, but what’s the point, everybody’s dead! We had an idea of a Paul sequel called Paul’s, but the special effects were so complicated, Paul himself took 20 million to create, it’s a commercial business and wasn’t successful enough to continue.
SAB – You guys kick some serious butt in ‘The Worlds End’. How did you both get fight fit for that?
SP – We were put into place by a remarkable stunt team headed by Australian Brad Allen who is part of Jackie Chan’s stunt team. They put us through our paces of training. They worked us really hard but looked after us, they didn’t want us to get hurt, a lot of defence.
NF – He had an amazing calm to him which was really unnerving because you know he could crush you.
SP – If he gave you a smile, he was approving of you, it meant the world.
SAB – Any injuries on set? And Nick, I have to say, brilliant rage scene!
NF – Well thank you very much, I was sad that cardigan got ripped (laughing). Originally that was supposed to be my shirt coming off. So you were spared me running around shirtless for half the film, plus I have tattoos that would have been needed to be covered.
SP – Covering tattoos is contentious by makeup artists, but there is a great spray out now for that. I broke my hand in a jumping scene but I continued to film. A camera assistant was the only one who noticed me sweating and cause for concern.
SAB – Is there an established character you would like to play?
SP – Maybe Bond, James Bond (laughing). I’ve worked with three, Pierce Brosnan is in The Worlds End of course, Timothy Dalton was part of Hot Fuzz and Danny (Craig) did Tin Tin.
NF – Anything Phillip Seymour Hoffman doesn’t want to do, I’ll do it.
SAB – What is your process of writing together?
SP – Well this one was me and Edgar (Wright). We write in a collaborative way with a brainstorming session then brought Nick into the process for his input on the rest of the script. Then we work with the cast so when we arrive on set, it is completely watertight. We don’t have time to improvise on set. Sometimes an idea pops up on set and we go with it, but that’s rare.
NF – Edgar has an idea of how the scenes are cut so there is no need for extra nonsense, money wasted.
SAB – Nick, you’re more of the straight person in this and Simon, you’re the screw up to some extent. How did you approach the roles?
SP – It was different, we wanted the audience to be on alert. Generally with the script, we wanted to not just deliver what was expected of us.
NF – We are actors so any chance to be someone else or do something new.
SAB – Plenty of Fosters (Aussie beer that Aussie’s don’t drink) was consumed throughout the film, do you drink it yourselves back in the UK?
NF – No I would never drink that piss (laughs)
SP – Its common in the UK, we are always led to believe that it’s all you drink here.
SAB – What was your first day on set like with this eclectic cast?
NF – The first day was freezing cold and the scene where we were waiting for Simon’s character Gary at the bus stop. Gary is inside playing Need for Speed while we waited. It was 7:30am and a couple of bus loads of soccer fans pulled up completely drunk to use the town toilets.
SAB – Rosamund Pike is adorable albeit not in the film much. Did she just show up and become one of the boys.
SP – Absolutely we love Ros.
NF – Simon and I are always keen to make people we haven’t worked with before comfortable on the set from the get-go. Sigourney Weaver when we did ‘Paul’ is a good example, plus we are all men, she’s very attractive, it was like five older brothers looking out for her. It was very cold when we shot, we did penguin cuddles or group hugs.
SAB – Your hair is dyed back blonde from the dark shade you had in the movie.
SP – It’s actually blonder at the moment as I just finished a role in ‘Hector and the search for Happiness’.
SAB – You’re both in the upcoming animated film ‘Boxtrolls’
SP – Yes and we didn’t even know it. We can talk on the phone for 20 minutes and not mention movies.
NF – I had no idea he was in Boxtrolls until later.
SAB – What would be your choice of favourite film?
SP – Close Encounters of the third Kind. Also Raising Arizona, the Cohen Bros film. A major influence on myself and Edgar’s careers.
NF – Raising Arizona easily.
SAB – Do you ring each other when offered roles independently to get an opinion?
NF – No not really, we are not a double act as some people think. I like doing various roles.
SP – I get great pleasure in watching Nick’s work. I’m a big fan as well as being his friend. It was delightful seeing Nick as dwarf in Snow White and the Huntsman.
NF – If ‘The Worlds End’ has taught us anything, it’s that friendships evolve on screen and on set.
SAB – I assume there is NO Gary King (Simon’s rude character) in you off the set. I did not want to hate Simon Pegg but I did for the most part. That’s how good your acting is.
SP – Thanks mate, I think everyone has known someone like Gary King in their life, who won’t grow up or lives in the past. He does have redemption of course.
SAB – Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz and now The Worlds End has been named as the Cornetto trilogy, are you over that saying.
SP – No that’s fine, it’s part of the films and I think when we do another film we will be expected to put in the Cornetto on the fence reference. However we do have this little box set of films now and we never took a cent for the free advertising of their ice cream.
Thanks for your time (shaking hands) and out the door they go.
Shane A. BassettSydney Unleashed is one of Australia’s premier entertainment publications exploring the latest in lifestyle trends. From Sydney’s finest restaurants, cafes and bars to the hottest in gadgets, products, and home entertainment, Sydney Unleashed is your one-stop lifestyle platform.