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INT: Pegg & Frost!

04.20.2007

Simon Pegg and Nick Frost are damn funny guys and they happen to make damn funny movies together. Whether it’s the fantastic SHAUN OF THE DEAD, or the brilliant action/comedy/horror of HOT FUZZ, they work wonders. And as far as the United Kingdom goes, that has transferred into great box-office, over 40 million in the UK alone. Whether it will do the same kind of business in the states is up to moviegoers. Are they ready for one of the smartest, funniest and most exciting action flicks to come around in awhile? Maybe so… and with a duo like Pegg and Frost, you’ll be glad you shelled out the cash.

I got the chance to meet with Simon and Nick at The Four Seasons in Beverly Hills and I wasn’t surprised by one thing…they really are funny. And you can tell that they have a strong bond as they do with HOT FUZZ director, Edgar Wright. The important thing about these guys is that they love movies and they love making them. They are also very friendly with the online folk, such as JoBlo.com , because if they weren’t making these movies, they would be watching them. It’s always cool to see people who are down to earth and don’t take themselves too seriously. We spent the time talking about HOT FUZZ, shaving pubic hair and of course…cake flushing. What is “cake flushing” you may ask? Well read on and you will know exactly what Nick has discovered about America , toilets and cake.

Simon Pegg Nick Frost

You guys have been working together for so long. You’ve known each other for so long. You’re friends. Does that make it easier? Do you ever discover new about each other?

Simon Pegg (SP): Every single day. It’s nice because it’s an enduring friendship and it makes working together fun. He still surprises me. I was very impressed by him on “Hot Fuzz” just as he grows as an actor. When I met Nick he was a waiter, and he wasn’t even a waiter trying to be an actor like everyone here in L.A. He just wanted to serve food and I said, why don’t come and be an actor with me, you fool? And he went, alright, with that amount of enthusiasm. And now he’s like stealing the show. It’s nice. I’m very proud of him.

So what’s the reaction been in the UK ? You two have made a dollar or two at the theaters.

SP: Yeah, it’s been enormous. I think it’s been record-breaking. We’ve made three times what “Shaun of the Dead” made theatrically and we out grossed its entire takings in the first weekend of release for the UK . So it’s been really good. We did really work hard with a very big UK tour, very big for the UK [because] it’s not a very big place, five cities I think.

Nick Frost (NF): Yeah, we enjoy selling it really.

Are you great fans of Jerry Bruckheimer, and have you heard from him about this movie?

SP: No, I think Shane Black has seen it and he really likes it, but we haven’t heard from Bruckheimer or Bay – the big B’s. “Fan” is a strange word to use with those guys in context. I think I’m just an admirer of just the bombast of those films. After having attempted to make an action movies you realize how hard it is to pull off. Obviously we were fighting against the fact that we only had an eighth of “Bad Boys 2” [budget]. You literally can make eight and a half Hot Fuzzes for one “Bad Boys 2”. That’s a hell of a trade off. And actually eight Hot Fuzzes are almost as long as one “Bad Boys 2” as well. Just the wherewithal and gumption that it takes to pull off an action film is quite impressive. Dismissing those movies is not so easy now.

Nick did something very method for “Shaun of the Dead”, shaving your [pubic hair] to make sure you itched. Did you do anything method like that [for “Hot Fuzz”]?

NF: Actually I joined the Dutch police force for four years.

SP: They were the only ones that would have him.

NF: They are the only ones that would have me. The uniforms fit. No, not really, but I did watch “Bad Boys 2”.

SP: To me the whole shaving the [pubic hair] was just an excuse to actually do that. You palmed off as some kind of method thing but you actually just wanted to [trim] the scrotum.

Why only “Bad Boys 2” and not [the original “Bad Boys”]?

NF: Is there a [“Bad Boys”] one? It’s in none of the clips.

SP: I think because it was an odd thing, and I think they kind of knew it wasn’t an entirely requested sequel really. It was like everyone went, oh there was “Bad Boys” but I think that in order to kind of [counter] that they just made the most impudent, excessive movie possible, and now because of that it exists solely without the need of its predecessor. It’s like “Bad Boys 2”; forget “Bad Boys 1”. It kind of makes it obsolete.

Ok, “Hot Fuzz 2”?

NF: I don’t know really. I think it might be silly to do [a sequel].

SP: It’s an easier sequel to do than “Shaun of the Dead” because it’s just Danny and Angel getting into another adventure. But “Hot Fuzz” is like an origin story, it’s how they become Hot Fuzz, and I think once you have them just being Hot Fuzz it’s just less fun and just makes it two and a half hours of the last 30 minutes of “Hot Fuzz”, which would be tiring.

So are you a little sad that [the TV series] “Extras” is over and you don’t have a chance to spoof yourself on a season three?

SP: The series “Extras”? I’m not a fan.

Is the title “Hot Fuzz” a take off on [the rock group] The Killers’ “Hot Fuss”?

SP: No, it came before that although it was a simultaneous sort of moment. We were in New York and I walked into a record shop and there it was. I thought, oh shit, someone’s made an album with a very similar title to our film.

NF: We saw The Killers recently at a thing.

SP: [to Nick] And we didn’t stop to talk to about it, did we? We just sort of said hello to them.

NF: We were giving them an award so we didn’t really have time to chat, between their acceptance speech and being on camera.

So what was behind the title of the film?

SP: We just wanted to make a title that had very little meaning, and also to appeal to the two word titles of the 80’s and 90’s action flicks, like “Lethal Weapon” and “Point Break”.

NF: And “Exit Wounds”.

SP: Yeah, all those film. All those titles seemed to be generated from two hats filled with adjectives and nouns and you just pull one [from each hat] and you’re like, ok this is it. And also with “Shaun of the Dead” because it a pun on a specific English phrase, it got changed a lot so we figured let’s start off with something that means nothing and that way they aren’t going to change it, but I think they are still going to change it. Like in Spain , “Shaun of the Dead” was called “Zombies Party” which is like [odd].

NF: It’s very ‘Euro’, isn’t it?

Simon, do you and Edgar collaborate in the script. How involved is Nick in the writing process?

SP: We have this period of rehearsal that takes place 4 weeks before we start shooting and Nick is the first person to get the script and the first person we have in, and we have a like week of improvising and just rehearsing. If anything comes up during the line readings, if Nick brings something else to it, then we’ll integrate it to the script. But in terms of when we’re on set, it’s pretty rigid. We’re quite anal about the right things being said at the right times. Sometimes it’s very necessary for things to be said in this particular way.

NF: I call it “bringing the funny”.

What is going to be the next thing you are going to write together?

SP: The next thing Nick and I write together, which we are busy working on at the moment, is a little side project. It won’t be the third thing from Edgar and me, it will be something extra. Edgar won’t work on it as a director, he’ll probably be a script editor or something. But me and Edgar as well had an idea as well for our third run in the “Shaun of the Dead” “Hot Fuzz” …

NF: The Blood and Ice Cream trilogy.

SP: The Blood and Ice Cream trilogy we’re calling it. Which we had when we landed in Sydney but we’re not going to say anything about it until it’s born. Because the last time we spoke of “Hot Fuzz” before we even started writing it and it became a thing where people wanted to know where it was, and we hadn’t even started writing it, so we learned a lesson there.

Could you give an update for your fans of what you guys are working on now, and what your schedule is like for the next year?

NF: I’ve got a show called “

Hyper Drive
” and another one called “Man Stroke Woman”. They come out now in May. When Simon and Edgar write a film I go off and make British television. And then [Simon and I are] writing our film so hopefully we’ll shoot that in the autumn. That’s kind of it. That’s going to take our whole year.

SP: I’m doing a film in the interim of Toby Young’s book, “How to Lose Friends and Alienate People” which is directed by Bob Weide who did “Curb Your Enthusiasm”, and it’s me and Kirsten Dunst at the moment, but I’m not sure of the rest of the cast.

Do you have plans on the DVD on this?

SP: Yeah, it’s all done. It has to be done so quickly now because it’s 3 months after release that they want to get it out. It seems awfully fast but you’re barely done making the thing and you’re doing commentary and putting the extras together. We wanted to do something that was as good, if not better than the “Shaun [of the Dead]” DVD, so there’s loads of behind the scenes footage and little films we made.

NF: Everything is covered from the very first rehearsal.

So you really thought about it when you were shooting?

SP: Oh yeah, you have to now.

NF: It can be an odd thing when you come off set from shooting all day and then you have to shoot a blog in your trailer. So you’re constantly shooting. And even when you’re not filming, there’s something to be blogged. We’re blogged out. We got a blogger with us, a friend of ours called Joe, who comes and blogs everything.

SP: Actually for the American DVD we’re putting together a special little documentary about this tour. I think it will be different. It might be a case of the completists with their region-free players will have to buy two.

Can you talk about working with all these veteran character actors in the film?

SP: It was great. It was really good. They were such a marvelous sort of people.

NF: I wish we had a bit of gossip for you but they were great. There is a reason why they are the top of their game because they are the whole package. They’re prompt, they remember their lines, they’re nice, and there were no egos. They’re good at what they do.

SP: “Hot Fuzz” was just one long anecdote. You’ve acting alongside people who have acted alongside [Laurence] Olivier and worked for Samuel Beckett. It was just fantastic to sit around between shots and listen to them talk to each other.

NF: When were rehearsing, before every rehearsal time, we’d get half an hour of anecdote time. So you could hear Edward Woodward talk about [working on the TV series] “The Equalizer”.

SP: I think that was his way of getting into the swing of things. He’d just sit and tell a story. He’s 76 [years old] now, you know he’s getting on. But he’s absolutely amazing. As is Billy [Nighy]. Jim Broadbent actually came to us after “Shaun of the Dead” and sort of said, would you consider working with me in one of your future projects. We were kind of like… NO! [Laughter] So we really wrote [the character of] Frank Butterman for him.

NF: Take your Oscar with you.

SP: Yeah, it doesn’t mean anything here.

Are these big, loud American action moves as big in England as they are here? At least have big enough of an audience as into the joke as you might be?

SP: Oh yeah, because it’s not just a number of movies. It’s a whole genre that has fed into British culture since the 50’s and in all its incarnations, right through the hard bits “The French Connections”, “Serpico’s” of the 70’s, through to the more high concept “Lethal Weapons” and “Die Hards” and “Last Boy Scouts” and right up to “Bad Boys 2”. It’s evolved into the British consciousness. And also, we’re very hungry for American culture in the UK . We don’t quite like seeing ourselves on the screen. We get a bit bored of it. Exotic locations and people who have guns is so exciting.

NF: They drive Ferraris.

So the two movies you guys spoof the most are “Point Break” and “Bad Boys 2”. Were there other movies you were interesting in doing but you couldn’t get the rights?

NF: We don’t like to use the “s” word by the way.

SP: Yeah, we don’t use “spoof”.

Were you thinking “homage”?

SP: I think more “spasticious”, I think ultimately the film is what it is taking on. For “Shaun of the Dead” we wanted to make a zombie film. We didn’t want to make fun of zombie films. At no point do we ever make fun of zombie films. There are elements in “Hot Fuzz” where we’re drawing attention to some of those grounded clichés that are always employed, like the never-ending magazine full of bullets, and that they manage to fire and not hit anything.

NF: Someone saying, I’ll give you information in five minutes and then they’ll be dead in 5 minutes.

SP: Yeah, they only 5 minutes to live. But basically it’s more like inhabiting that genre “comedicly” rather than making fun of it. There’s no derision in “Hot Fuzz”. We don’t feel superior to the sort of material at all. And in a way the film is saying, it’s ok to be dumb, as long as you temper it with some intelligence occasionally it’s ok to watch a fireworks display. You don’t have to watch Ibson all day long. We were going to mention “Lethal Weapon” but I don’t think Mel Gibson has got a sense of humor.

So what is something we can ask Edgar that he wouldn’t be expecting this morning?

NF: Why did you murder that boy? Watch the blood drain from his face. Ask him about cake flushing.

SP: [Ask him], Texas sewers have been jammed up with cake, can you explain?

NF: Seriously, if you get a chance to flush a cake, do it, because it’s joyous. It’s like my pay-it-forward to you.

SP: It was Nick’s birthday.

How do you do it?

NF: You put it in the toilet and you flush it. And you video tape it.

Piece by piece?

SP: If you want.

NF: If it’s a small cake, you can put it down all in one. Your American toilets, they f*ckin’ …

SP: Suck cake like no one!

NF: I got given such a massive cake in Atlanta that I had to cut it into pieces with a shoe horn and flush it.

SP: We videoed the flushing as well.

Is that going to be on the DVD?

SP: I hope so.

NF: Our tour finale in New York, I’m going to flush a wedding cake.

SP: Tier by tier.

NF: I’m also doing apple pie but I’m going to leave it in the toilet all day to let it steep and then flush it later.

Let me know what you think. Send questions and comments to jimmyo@joblo.com.

Source: JoBlo.com

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