The best of enemies
Best mates Nick Frost and Simon Pegg aren’t so friendly in The World’s End.
W E’VE loved them together battling zombies in Shaun of the Dead, playing with action cliches in Hot Fuzz and road- tripping with an alien in Paul.
We thanked the movie gods for their presence as the animated Thompson and Thomson in The Adventures of Tintin.
And the geekier among us fi rst fell in love with them, together, in the English TV comedy Spaced.
But Simon Pegg and Nick Frost would like to clear things up: they are not a package deal.
“We don’t fi ght against it … But I don’t think that’s how we see it ourselves,” Frost says.
“Because Simon and I have been great friends for years and we have a certain chemistry … people assume we are double.”
Pegg agrees. “I wouldn’t like us to be reduced to that, like, ‘ Oh it’s those two again’,” he says.
“I’m very proud of the work I do with Nick. I love working with him because I get to work with my best friend. “But Nick’s got a fi lm coming out next year,
Cuban Fury, which I’m not in, and I do stuff without Nick … We’ve done more stuff apart than we have together.”
So, for the record, Frost, 41, will play a former salsa champion forced to face his demons on the dance fl oor in Cuban Fury. He’s also gone Peggless in movies such as
The Boat That Rocked and Snow White and the Huntsman and will again in a new UK TV comedy, Mr Sloane.
And Pegg, who has gone sans- Frost in movie franchises including Mission: Impossible and Star Trek, will soon return to Australia to shoot Kill Me Three Times without his best mate. “I’m making a fi lm in Perth later this year,” the 43- year- old says. “Kriv Stenders, who I’m excited to work with. “[ He’s] a great Australian fi lmmaker. Great script. I hadn’t seen Kriv’s work until after I’d read the script so it was a nice validation of my decision to say yes,” Pegg says of his decision to work with the director of Red Dog.
While there’s little chance the cinematic chemistry between these two will ever lay dormant for too long, their new fi lm The World’s End marks the end of a trilogy of sorts that began in 2004 with Shaun of the Dead and was followed three years later by Hot Fuzz.
“It’s the end of a phase, but it’s not the end,” says Pegg, who co- wrote the three fi lms with director Edgar Wright. “We never did a third series of Spaced, we rather missed the boat on that one. So to actually do something to its natural conclusion feels like an accomplishment.”
Well aware they’re perceived as being very much like their Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz characters, Pegg and Frost turn against each other in The World’s End.
“We’d always said at one point we were going to have to play mortal enemies or lovers,” Frost says. The romance will have to wait.
Pegg plays Gary King, a 40- something with addiction issues still wearing the same goth getup he did in high school.
When Gary gets the old gang back together – including realtor Oliver ( Martin Freeman), body-proud Steven ( Paddy Considine), downtrodden Peter ( Eddie Marsan) and lawyer Andy ( Frost) – to complete the pub crawl that bested them 20 years ago, they realise their home town has been invaded by aliens.
Andy holds a huge grudge against Gary and that, says Pegg, was “a nice little twist in the dynamic”.
“The diffi culty when you play enemies is that most of the fi lm you’re apart; it’s not until the showdown that you fi nally come together. This afforded us the opportunity to be at odds with each other but be together through the fi lm.”
It’s not just the appearance of a Cornetto icecream that ties The World’s End together with Shaun and Hot Fuzz. All three movies delight in fi nding humour in everyday blokes facing something apocalyptic.
Or, as Pegg puts it: “Edgar and I have this theory that what we’ve done over the past 10 years is make Trojan horses. The big genre things defi ne them – it’s a zombie fi lm, it’s an action fi lm, it’s an apocalypse movie – but really, they are fi lms about male friendship and the struggle of the individual. Slightly more complex ideas are smuggled in under the guise of these big, broad, silly comedies.”
“You wouldn’t know that by looking at that,” Frost blurts out, pointing at a World’s End poster featuring himself and Pegg pulling faces.
THE WORLD’S END Now Showing State and Village cinemas