Feature: The men behind Hot Fuzz
Note: This article was originally published in Technician on April 19, 2007.
Pegg, Frost, Wright talk Hot Fuzz
First zombies, now cops.
Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, the comedy duo perhaps best known for their appearance in Shaun of the Dead, will light up the screen again this weekend in the buddy cop action film Hot Fuzz. In the film, Pegg stars as Nicholas Angel, a police sergeant so good at his job that his co-workers conspire to get him assigned to a quiet little town with no crime. With the help of a new witless partner (Frost), he'll have to solve a series of suspicious events that hint the town may be more than it seems.
This was a departure for Pegg, who had to play a more serious character than usual.
"It was difficult because I couldn't rely on the comic devices I could use if I was playing a more comic character. Shaun was very much closer to myself, in the sense that he was a regular guy," Pegg said.
His co-star also needed to do extensive research in order to prepare for his role as a policeman.
"I joined the Hungarian police force for a year. I played the character rather like a police dog." Frost said.
Most people are probably familiar with Pegg and Frost after they starred in the 2004 zombie comedy Shaun of the Dead.
"We kind of figured that we had to up the ante after Shaun of the Dead," Pegg said. "It's kind of similar in tone."
Whereas Shaun of the Dead parodied the stereotypes and cliches of zombie films, the team's new film promises to do the same thing, but within the buddy cop genre.
"We made Hot Fuzz because we wanted to make a cop movie. We're drawing attention to some of the more cliches that are used in cop films," Pegg said. "We want to make a film that could stand up as a cop buddy movie if you took away the jokes. We make jokes within the genre rather than about it."
Edgar Wright, the director of the film, said that Hot Fuzz was an even greater challenge to make than Shaun of the Dead due to its higher production values and larger crew.
"It was quite daunting. I think the thing that helped enormously was that we rehearsed with everyone before shooting," Wright said. "Doing scenes with lots of actors, no matter how famous they are, is always difficult. It was a real balancing act with the actors to make sure everyone had their moment."
Wright is also the person responsible for coming up with the title of the film.
"I always thought 'fuzz' was the coolest name for the police," Wright said. "If I was a policeman, the one slang term I wouldn't mind being called is 'the fuzz.'"
The film promises to be filled with many large-scale action sequences. Pegg and Frost did their own stunts when possible.
"We did everything we could. It was really good fun," Pegg said. "It was a challenge to leap through the air and all that sort of stuff."
Frost had a different perspective on the value of stunt work.
"I get very nervous before a stunt because hundreds of people are watching and you want them to like me afterward. It's very nerve-wracking," Frost said. "But afterward, a hundred girls clap, so it's great."