Nick Frost on Spielberg, Paul, and Richard Curtis's Pirate Radio
For someone who never quite intended to become an actor, Nick Frost sure is having a good go at it. The British comedian rose to fame on his collaborations with Simon Pegg, including Shawn of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, and they have more in store (including the alien comedy Paul and a tandem role in Steven Spielberg's The Adventures of Tintin: Secret of the Unicorn) but in the meantime, Frost can be seen as part of the sterling ensemble in Pirate Radio, directed by Richard Curtis (Love Actually).
Movieline caught up with Frost to discuss the challenges of making the boat-set comedy, and Frost was happy to share some tidbits about his upcoming, fanboy-friendly slate at the same time.
I've noticed that the British press really, really has it out for Richard Curtis. They're positively vicious! Is it a case of tall poppy syndrome?
I don't know! Richard is such a positive person, and often I think that's enough for people to take a crack at.
Did you know him very well before you made this film?
I'd seen him around and stuff, obviously. He does Comic Relief and things, though I didn't know him a great deal. For him to write me a part in his film...I was very flattered.
He wrote it specifically with you in mind?
That's what he tells me, anyway. It made me feel like a big man. [Laughs]
I know they've made some cuts for the U.S. version. Were you privy to any of that?
Well, I think it was a little bit long, you know? I know they've been trimming it, but I actually haven't seen the U.S. version of it. From what I've heard, it's a very lean, trim animal.
Do you think there's a difference in comic sensibilities when you cross the Atlantic?
You know, after making Shawn of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, I think you become aware that we're not that different after all. In fact, we're actually quite similar, it's just the local specificities that change. On the whole, though, I think the things that make us laugh, make you guys laugh too, you know?
Speaking of Hot Fuzz, it was pretty heavily inspired by Michael Bay. I have to ask, did you see the Transformers sequel?
I didn't yet. I'm sorry!
There's a giant robot with wrecking ball testicles in it, Nick.
[Laughs] There's not enough of that in movies, I think! Maybe if Pirate Radio had a giant robot with wrecking ball testicles, the British press wouldn't have slagged it off so much.
So you actually shot Pirate Radio on a boat instead of a soundstage? Did I read that correctly?
You did read that correctly. We had a big boat, and we were out there for four weeks in a place called Weymouth, which is on the south coast of England. We got in the boat at eight o'clock in the morning with the tide, and off we went! It was a good way to make the film, because we felt a bit like pirates anyway.
Hollywood's got a lot of horror stories about shooting out in the water. Did you run into any problems?
Absolutely. You know, the problem with shooting on the water is that it's constantly moving, so the tide's changing and the wind's blowing. Also, you have to make the film look like you were ten, twenty miles out to sea, so we'd go out and get a shot and then we'd have to cut for half an hour while this little green tugboat pushed us into position.
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