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Interview: Simon Pegg and Nick Frost


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TNS is in Claridges - the ballroom to be specific. Walking into the main lobby we spy Elton John having tea, this place is pretty darn posh.

Simon Pegg and Nick FrostSimon Pegg is surprisingly cool in the flesh, along the lines of his mate Chris Martin, only with thick rimmed black glasses and a more contained ego. Nick Frost looks so friendly and warm you just want to give him a big bear hug.

It’s still hard to believe these two are movie stars. While they may not be your strictly archetypal leading men, movie stars they are, this time teaming up with Greg Motolla (Adventureland, Superbad) and flitting off to Hollywood to make alien road-trip movie Paul.

Simon and Nick kick things off by talking about their favourite movie aliens, aside from Paul of course.  “In Starship Troopers, in the scene where they are attacking the base, about five rows back on the left, that guy. He’s just giving it more than the others, do you know what I mean?” Pegg says with a cheeky glint in his eye. Frost quickly butts in, “I think ET or the lovely water aliens from The Abyss, they were nice.”

The film has been described as a ‘love letter’ to sci-fi, its Valentine’s Day release rather timely. Despite this, and the fact Pegg’s memoir is called Nerd do Well, the pair deny they are like their sci-fi enthusiast characters, “Well, we look like them.” Frost jokes to possibly avoid the comparison to their geeky counterparts. Pegg quickly takes over, “We're kind of nerdy like that but we're higher functioning nerds. We're married for a start we don't live alone. Nick and I are best friends before we're colleagues so we channelled a little bit of our own romance into it.”

Aside from being best friends off camera, they are long time creative collaborators, playing buddies in spoof comedies Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz and the amazing cult TV show, Spaced

Paul plays host to countless references to some of sci-fi’s greats, Stephen Spielberg even starring in a cameo, “The Spielberg cameo was in fact his idea, we didn’t even have to ask him. He said’ hey, why don’t I be in it?’ and we said ‘No, oh alright then’ Simon says with a smile. But were there any cinematic references that didn't make the cut? ‘Deep throat.’” Nick Frost says a bit too quickly, with Pegg adding “We shot it too”. It’s clear, like their characters in Paul, these two are tight, literally finishing each other’s sentences and exchanging knowing looks and giggles.

But if sci-fi is one tenet, then swearing must be the other. In the film, the character of Ruth loses her faith which provides a great stage for some superlative swearing.  Talking about how the script was developed, Frost grins and says,  “There's a great heritage to swearing, I remember asking a Danishman once what is the worst thing you could say to someone in Danish and he thought about it for ages and came back with "Long haired communist fag." That's a nicety in my house.”

On a more serious note, Paul explicitly challenges creationism in an often rather abrasive manner. Surely the pair are worried about the reaction from the American bible belt? Not these guys.

“Who doesn't get flak from the Bible belt in America? It's just a road movie with aliens in it,” says Frost, before Pegg adds, “If you have faith then a dope smoking alien isn't going to affect that. We were really interested in the idea that someone can have their belief system shattered in a single moment. You can't have an alien film without being anti-religious, even Mac and Me is anti-religious. We're not being anti-religious that's just the universe that this film takes place in. That sort of dogma can't exist if Paul exists. There wasn't an atheist protest when they created the 10 commandments.’ Nick agrees, adding ‘there wasn't a protest at my local nativity play this year.”

Regardless of the success Paul has, one thing is for sure: for a couple of comedians from old Blighty, Nick Frost and Simon Pegg sure aint done too bad.

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