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Interview: Simon Pegg & Nick Frost

Yes, last week I managed to get the chance to grab a chat with Simon Pegg and Nick Frost for Starburst Magazine. The occasion? That would be promoting The World’s End. Whilst I have the video footage of the interview, it’s ridiculously huge (11 GB!) to upload at the moment. Maybe I’ll find a way around that – who knows? Either way, find the transcript below:

Pegg & Frost

With The World’s End finally hitting DVD and Blu-ray, we got the chance to sit down with stars Simon Pegg – who claims to have been reading Starburst (magazine) since the days when Starburst (sweets) were known simply as Opal Fruits – and Nick Frost about the final flavour in the Cornetto Trilogy. We talk friendship,MasterChef, knocking out Hungarians, and even cheeky mentions of Spaced and the Marvel Cinematic Universe…

When you first met, did you ever imagine you’d be doing films like this?

Simon Pegg: We didn’t have any plans. I was a stand-up comic…

Nick Frost: I worked in a restaurant for 8 years after we met, so it was never… I never wanted to act, I never wanted to do this, I never wanted to do anything. I was happy being where I was; we were mates and having a laugh, and that’s what it was all about. Then, I think part of our revolution as men and friends is, it just kinda happened. We didn’t think Spaced would happen. We did Spaced, then we had the chance to do Shaun of the Dead. We did it, and that was it.

SP: I think if you went back in time and told us then that a couple of layabouts in the ‘90s would be doing what we’re doing now, we’d be incredibly amazed.

NF: I’d probably say, “Do you want to see the dessert menu?”

SP: That was all he knew.

NF: Or, “Do you want chips and salsa?”

Bar the head explosions, aliens and blue stuff, how much does The World’s End resemble a night out from your youth?

SP: In our youth?

Or these days. I just presumed maybe you’d toned it down a little bit…

SP: Yeah, we’re dads now. I was in bed by half nine last night.

NF: I probably do the same thing every night. I spend a few hours cooking dinner for my wife and I, and I’ll bath my child, my wife will put him to bed, we’ll eat dinner and then I… If I can be in bed watching MasterChef: The Professionals… I don’t wanna go to sleep, but if I can tuck up in bed…

SP: We don’t have a TV in our room…

NF: Laptop!

SP: Same thing. Get little ‘un ready for bed, stories, downstairs… My missus is currently working her way throughBreaking Bad, which is a pleasure for me to revisit the series with her. We watch that, then she might toddle off, I’ll watch an episode of Portlandia, join her, go to sleep, lights out. I think in terms of the old days, there wasn’t as much alien invasion.

NF: There was some.

Just the blue goo?

SP: Just the blue goo…

NF: There was some black foam. Now I have a thing on my phone that’s called UK Tide Tables, ‘cos I live in Twickenham, which is where the Thames flows through and it’s very tidal. There’s a pub called The White Swan, and, if there’s a tide over 4 1/2 metres, you’re essentially trapped inside it… only for an hour… but it’s enough. So I’ll have a look at the tide table and I’ll see how big the tide is and what time it’s at, then I’ll make sure I’m in there 30 minutes before high tide so I can then phone my wife and say, “Love, I’m stuck in the bloody pub again.” I’m very excited when there’s a tide over 5 metres. It even moves the bottle bank.

How hands on were you with the fight scenes in The World’s End?

SP: We did it all.

Were you involved with the actual choreography and the planning of it all?

SP: We worked with a fight choreographer called Brad Allan, who’s one of Jackie Chan’s team. He worked with a great team of stunt guys here… Damien Walters, who has a phenomenal show reel on YouTube – look it up – and his team, and we did a lot of training and choreography and learnt the fights like one would a dance, so we came to the set fully equipped to do virtually anything. Anything that didn’t involve what the insurance thought might hurt us, we did. Also, the way we shot the fight scenes was in long takes on wide angles so that… a lot of fight scenes you see will be very choppy and you edit so that you can fit the stunt performers in… but with this, because we were doing the fights, you could be a little more lengthy. They were also shot as if they were one continuous take.

It does have that look to it, like one smooth, fluid movement…

SP: If you imagine each fight was choreographed like a 3D event. So any time Nick was doing one part of his fight in the background, we knew that we’d be at a certain point in the fight, so you can see us fighting in the background of Nick’s shot. So, in The Beehive where he does an incredible…

NF: It takes time, you know? The Beehive took 8 or 10 days to shoot, so you’re on that set for a long time, and it’s very laborious, and you have to be fit physically and you have to be careful to not… It would be an absolute disaster if you broke an ankle or a finger. It would be terrible. Plus, you have to be careful, especially me with those bar stools. I mean, you’re hitting these men! The first couple of times I did it, you could tell I wasn’t… because if you’re fighting with your hands, you can do things with the camera where it looks like I’ve hit him. With bar stools, you can’t. So you have to hit these men, so you have to be careful. And I knocked out two gnarly old Hungarian stuntmen.

With the change in your characters’ relationships throughout the Cornetto Trilogy, is that mirrored in how your relationship has changed over the last 10 years?

SP: Not really, because, in Shaun and Hot Fuzz, Nick’s like the child and I’m like the grown-up. In The World’s End, I’m like the child and Nick’s like the grown-up. In real life, we’re both both. We’re both childish and grown-up. Our relationship is a lot more even than it is in the films. It’s not like one is looking up to the other. We’re just a couple of guys…

NF: Just a couple of powerful guys…

Powerful, dashing, witty…

NF: Hairy!

Who would be your favourite characters from the Cornetto Trilogy?

SP: Gary King, for me, just because he was a lot of fun to play, and I got close to the guy.

NF: I think, probably Danny Butterman. I enjoyed playing Danny; I enjoyed his naivety and his honesty.

SP: I liked Jim Broadbent as your dad…

[Both break into Jim Broadbent impressions]

Any thoughts on seeing Spaced again?

SP: No, we’re not going back to that. It would just be… we couldn’t get Edgar back to do it. Well never say never. As an actor, TV these days is…

Boardwalk EmpireGame of ThronesThe Walking Dead – it does big business…

SP: It does.

With Edgar Wright directing Marvel’s Ant-Man, and you [Simon] regularly teasing fans on Twitter, would you be interested in joining the Marvel world?

SP: Yeah, I guess so. I feel like I’m already part of big franchises. The trouble is, when you join that world, they can pull the trigger on you any time that they like. So whatever you wanna do, they own you, and I’m already owned by Paramount.

The World’s End and The Three Flavours Cornetto Trilogy are available on DVD/Blu-ray from today.

My only regret from the interview is that time was against me, meaning once The World’s End Qs were brought to a close, the chatter was conveniently wrapped up, meaning my Star WarsStar Trek, and further possible Marvel questions were left redundant.


14 thoughts on “Interview: Simon Pegg & Nick Frost

    • That was one of the big questions that I wanted to ask before the interview got brought to a close. I did ask about any interest in Marvel, and he said he would be, although he wasn’t so keen on the demands that a deal with such a studio would put on him.


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