Yesterday, March 28, was the 42nd birthday of English comedic actor Nick Frost. Frost “rose to fame” thanks to collaborations with director Edgar Wright and long-time friend Simon Pegg. In fact, it’s Pegg’s fault that Frost became an actor at all.
In 1999, Pegg was cast in a comic sci-fi show for British television called, “Spaced”…directed by Edgar Wright. Pegg suggested his flatmate Frost for the role of Mike, because he made him laugh, even though Frost was working as a waiter and had no prior acting experience. Wright was skeptical, but eventually decided that Frost was brilliant in the part. The rest is showbiz history.
The three went on, of course, to make “The Cornetto Trilogy”*, that consists of Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz and The World’s End. Without Wright, Pegg and Frost made the insanely funny Paul. Both voiced characters (Thompson and Thomson) in Steven Spielberg’s motion capture epic, The Adventures of Tintin (although Wright cowrote the screenplay).
It’s not exactly rare to find Frost’s name in the credits of a film without also finding Pegg’s, but the two names are so inextricably linked in most people’s minds, that it’s worth mentioning.
In 2005, Frost played the homophobic Don in the wonderful Kinky Boots opposite Chiwetel Ejiofor and Joel Edgerton. Even more memorably (in my humble opinion), Frost played Dave in 2009’s critically lauded The Boat That Rocked, about a group of maverick music lovers and rogue DJs that refused to let some puritanical members of the British government stop the 60’s from swinging. (Though it boasted a cast that included Philip Seymour Hoffman, Chris O’Dowd, Bill Nighy, Tom Sturridge, Tom Wisdom, Rhys Ifans, Kenneth Branagh, Emma Thompson and January Jones and was written and directed by Richard “Love, Actually” Curtis, it became the little-seen Pirate Radio in the US). And in 2012, he played one of the dwarves in Rupert Sanders’ Snow White and the Huntsman.
Next month, Frost gets the chance to go it alone once more, this time with his name above the title, in Cuban Fury, which opened in the UK back in February but finally comes to the US on April 11.
“Former teen salsa champion Bruce Garrett (Frost) is now a sad-sack engineer. But his passion for dancing is re-ignited by his crush on his gorgeous new boss Julia (Rashida Jones) and the only way he can win her over is by mastering the art of dance. Now all Bruce needs to do is rediscover his inner passion.”
Take a look at this:
That the producers felt the need to call Frost as Bruce a “sad-sack” is almost redundant, since most of his characters are to some extent just that. They are also, as Bruce tells Chris O’Dowd‘s Drew, full of heart. In less capable hands Cuban Fury, which sounds like a new take on Cinderfella meets Dirty Dancing by way of Strictly Ballroom, might be cringe-worthy. In Frost’s though, I’m willing to not only give it the benefit of the doubt, but the benefit of my dollars at the box office.
Here’s the official trailer:
The cast includes Ian McShane (always a plus), Rashida Jones, Olivia Coleman, Wendi McClendon-Covey and O’Dowd. Director James Griffiths may primarily be known for his work in television sitcoms, but at least they’re good ones like “Up All Night” and “Episodes”. The screenplay is based on Frost’s idea and written with yet another friend, Jon Brown. It opens in US theaters on April 11.
Oh, and look for a Simon Pegg in a blink-and-you’ll-miss-him cameo.
If all goes according to plan, we can look forward to even more Frost on US tv screens as he’s signed on to star in comedy pilot “Sober Companion” in which he will play an inebriated attorney court-ordered to spend 90 days with Justin Long‘s unorthodox sober coach. Let’s hope Frost and Long have at least a fraction of the chemistry that Frost and Pegg share and that Fox picks it up to series.
Once more, a belated wish for a Happy Birthday, Mr. Frost. Let’s all go have a Cornetto to celebrate!
*a Cornetto is a brand of ice cream cone in the UK, kind of like “Nutty Buddy” here in the US. Edgar Wright’s “Cornetto Trilogy” is also known as the “Blood and Ice Cream Trilogy”, each film a reference to a different flavored Cornetto (strawberry, original, and mint, respectively).