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Nick Frost and Edgar Wright Interview, part
Part 1, two of
the three creative forces behind Hot Fuzz talked about beer
in HD, reworking the film for TV and searching for fame
next section talks about referencing action films and Nick
Frost speaks of his actor's journey. Actually, he'd probably
be annoyed at that pretension.
In your third film, is there another genre you're going
to try to latch onto and pay tribute to, or do something
Edgar Wright: I think so. We try
to come up with the story first, really. I'd hate it to
be like we have a list of genres. I suppose we like making
the kind of films that they don't make in the UK. There
used to be such a great tradition of genre films in the
UK in the sixties and seventies, and it just doesn't happen
That's really what we want to do. Certainly,
we did the films that we do back home to do something that
isn't coming out of the UK. It's a British spin on an existing
genre. So it's not like we sat back and thought "god, cop
movies really have it coming," after eight Police Academies.
It's just that we wanted to produce our
own spin on it, which was to do an English action film.
Can you talk a little about Ant-Man and the other film?
Edgar Wright: No. (laughs)
Only in that they're both being worked on at the moment,
one of which I'm co-writing, and Them, which is not
a remake of the giant ant film. It's an adaptation of a
Jon Ronson book. It's something that I've been developing
with Mike White. He's been writing that.
Nick Frost: So you're doing a film
about a small ant and a big ant.
Edgar Wright: Yes.
What about Scott Pilgrim?
Edgar Wright: That's another one
that I'm writing at the moment. It's in progress as we speak,
and we've been working with Bryan Lee O'Malley, the original
creator, on that as well, which has been great.
Have you read the next volume yet?
Edgar Wright: I have. I have some
of it in my bag. I'm not going to show it to you. It's only
some photocopied pieces of paper. He's great. I think Bryan
is an amazing writer. He's got such a great voice; it's
exciting to be working with him.
Have you guys walked the floor yet?
Edgar Wright: This morning. We did
an early run. We got in at exhibitors' time and got out
at ten past ten.
Did you buy anything?
Both: No. (Edgar laughs)
Edgar Wright: We got a couple of
free comics. I don't know. I find it quite overwhelming
being on the floor. There's so much stuff that I don't know
where to start. I kind of gave up and went back to the hotel,
fell asleep in front of Black Christmas on the hotel
cable. You can quote me on that.
Did you ever get overwhelmed in your research, trying to
put in references to action films?
Edgar Wright: There's a trivia track
on the DVD, which kind of explains everything. There are
obviously very explicit references in the film like Point
Break and Bad Boys II. The other kind of references
are really kind of sly. With this one particularly, we tried
to cover the entire genre, and there are aspects of so many
different cop films.
There are really little details, like streets
that are named after characters in films. Some of those
are obvious and some of those are very obscure, like one
of the streets is called Spencer Hill, which is a reference
to Terence Hill and Bud Spencer. That's from Supercop,
Superfly and Miami Supercops. One of your
favorites, I'm sure.
There are less references in the film than
people think. If you look at Wikipedia or IMDB, you'll find
that people have read a lot more into the film and you see
on Wikipedia it says things like "…in the climax of Hot
Fuzz, Nicholas Angel opens the door much in the same
way that Agent Smith does in Matrix: Revolutions."
I'm thinking, "hmmmm."
Don't believe everything you read on Wikipedia.
You didn't need to be told that, I'm sure.
Nick Frost: I did.
Edgar Wright: You did.
Does it disappoint you to work so hard on a well-received
film that audiences just love, and yet not have North American
in-theater box office reflect that?
Edgar Wright: It doesn't disappoint
us because by the time we got a release in the U.S. we'd
already made our budget back like four times in the UK.
From just a profit level, it was similar to Shaun of
the Dead. It's nice that it was major in the UK and
over here it's kind of a cult thing.
DVDs kind of help that. Shaun of the
Dead became more of a thing through DVD than it did
the box office, and I feel it will be the same with this.
I think there's a thing in this day and
age in the way box office is reported. It's all an obsession
with three-day totals. If it doesn't open at number one
then it's kind of nothing. That doesn't really account for
sleepers and cult films.
If you look at some of your favorite films
from twenty years ago, not many of them opened in the top
three or top five. It doesn't really matter to me. As long
as people like the film and it finds its audience, then
Obviously if it had cost like fifty million
dollars and made twenty, then that would be a disaster.
But it didn't. It cost fifteen and made eighty-five. So
Nick, I think your performance in the film is underrated,
especially compared to the attention that Simon gets. From
Spaced to Shaun of the Dead to this film, you've really
matured as an actor. Do you think your experiences have
helped you with that?
Nick Frost: Ummmm…yeah, I think
I kind of think a little bit more about my job now. I was
never an actor; I don't think I did any acting at all until
Shaun of the Dead. Really up until that point, I
was just pretending to be an actor. After that, I put more
effort into it, I think.
You know what? I learned to enjoy it. I
learned to enjoy the nerves and not feel as if it was the
worst job in the world. But thank you.
Underrated by who?
Isn't pretending to be an actor acting?
Nick Frost: Ahhhh…but I was thinking
more about my pretense.
Edgar Wright: That was very zen-like.
I like that. It's almost like that Starship Troopers
thing - (hushed) If you pretend to be an actor, then
After Shaun of the Dead, you got to meet George Romero and
have cameos in Land of the Dead. Has Hot Fuzz opened any
doors like that for you?
Nick Frost: Police officers. It
opened police officers' doors.
Since Simon and Jessica (from Spaced) have both had them,
when do you get your pivotal role in Doctor Who?
Nick...Simon did it...
Nick Frost: I wouldn't do it.
Edgar Wright: Why not?
Nick Frost: I'm not a big Who fan.
I'm sorry everyone. I would actively shun a role in it because
everyone goes nuts for it.
Edgar Wright: I was asked to direct
the first episode of the new series, and I didn't do it.
I am a big Doctor Who fan, but I couldn't make it
work. And my mum has never been more disappointed in me.
She'll never let me forget that.
Have you thought about jumping into a show?
Edgar Wright: I find it kind of
difficult to jump into something. I tend to invest everything
into what I'm doing. It's tricky to jump into something
else that's pre-existing. I'd rather work on the first part
of a show, and kind of set the trend.
That said, I'm always impressed when people
do it. I was really impressed when Quentin Tarantino did
that episode of CSI as the first thing after Kill
Bill. To do a shoot for a year, and then CSI
shoots for fifteen days.
if it was the right thing, I'd do it.
Part 3 later this week...