[Fun interview to do, genuinely nice guys. On the Hot Fuzz DVD special features, there is a quick shot of my big head backstage when they’re in Cambridge, MA. I only learned about it from two dudes that I didn’t know so well separately telling me. Very odd. I saw Simon Pegg in NYC years later and we had a quick chat and it was very pleasant and I felt like I was moving on up in the world. Also, let’s be honest: look at that Joe Cornish, who made an awesome film!]
In the midst of a whirlwind world tour to promote their new film, ‘Hot Fuzz,’ the jokes are fast and furious
By Elisabeth Donnelly
“Sweden, New Zealand, Australia, the UK for four days, Amsterdam, then New Amsterdam, New York, and then we came to Washington, and then here,” said the floppy haired Edgar Wright, director of the new cop spoof “Hot Fuzz,” the follow-up to 2004’s much-loved zombie romantic comedy “Shaun of the Dead.”
“In two days we’ll be in Chic-aaaago,” added actor Simon Pegg, attempting the rounded vowels of a Boston accent.
“All in the span of about three weeks,” finished Wright, “We’re slightly going on dementia where certain phrases get stuck in a loop.” Wright and “Fuzz” stars Pegg and Nick Frost were in junket land, where the city changes every 36 hours and nearly every second of their time is devoted to working on their online video blog, charming their legion of ardent fans at regional “Hot Fuzztivals,” and giving the press interesting quotes – such as Wright’s assertion that “ 'Hot Fuzz’ is ['Armageddon’ director] Michael Bay meets Agatha Christie.” (A more accurate quote would replace “meets” with a rude and hilarious sexual innuendo)
The multitalented funnymen, longtime collaborators also known for the cult British TV show “Spaced,” were jet-lagged and exhausted yet committed to providing the best “Hot Fuzz” preview screening experience possible. The 30-something Fuzzers convened in the lobby of the new Ritz-Carlton early Sunday afternoon before heading to Cambridge for the screening. Pegg, who is skinnier and more attractive than his shlubby film persona suggests, was the first one to appear, wearing a navy-blue army cap pulled low over his eyes. Wright was late as usual, and Frost, (“I call him Frosty and he calls me Peggy,” Pegg said) had disappeared for a smoke. In a surreal touch, a basketball team arrived at the hotel, and a continuous stream of extremely tall men poured into the hotel while Pegg talked about his and Frost’s night at “Old Bar or something,” where he drank so much that he ended up buying a commemorative T-shirt.
Once the “Hot Fuzz” team, including video blogger Joe Cornish, was accounted for, the four Brits jumped into the shiny black SUV that was taking them across the river to Harvard Square’s Brattle Theatre.
Cornish grabbed the front seat, turned on his camera, and pointed it at the back seat: “Act like I’m not here,” he said, then giggled. “I feel so anarchic not wearing a seat belt!”
“We’re constantly talking or blogging,” said Wright. “We did loads of it on the film, because we blogged our way through the shoot. Where did web blogging come from? Where did the actual verb come from, it’s medieval ”
“It’s weblog,” added Frost.
“It’s when they used to record things on logs.” Cornish joked.
“Big logs,” Frost said.
As the van went past Fenway Park, Frost and Pegg put their faces to the glass. “What’s Fenway Park like?” asked Frost, “Is it the home of the big green wall? Is it covered in ivy?”
“The last time we were here, in 2004,” he said, “they won the World Series.”
“We bring good mojo,” said Wright.
“Fenway Paaark,” Pegg said with an improved Boston accent.
Frost kept peering out the window with a curiosity befitting his naïve comic persona, asking, Where’s Harvard? Where’s MIT?
Pegg and Frost had a ready response to the eternal “Spaced” query, “Can dogs look up?” – an ad-lib that stuck thanks to a shoddy dog trainer on the set.
“They can’t. They really can’t.” replied Pegg.
“They can move their eyes up, but they can’t pivot their heads,” said Frost.
It makes sense, Frost explained, because dogs “have no airborne predators.”
In Cambridge, the Harvard jokes began.
“There’s a lot of tramps here,” Frost said. “They’re very smart tramps.”
“Can I have 5 dollars for my Michel Focault book?” Pegg asked.
The car pulled up to the Brattle, and the Fuzzers spilled out, transforming from loopy junket men to rock stars pressing the flesh.
They said “hi” to the cowed crowd before being whisked backstage via a circuitous route around the back of the building and through a side door. “This is just like 'Goodfellas!’” Wright said happily.
And then it was time to leave the stars to their duty. Their fans were waiting.
Originally published in The Boston Globe Thursday, March 29, 2007