A nag­ging idea for a Strictly Ball­room style pro­duc­tion based on salsa was never go­ing to see the light of day un­til a cer­tain zom­bie-chaser sat down to a few beers

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - PLAY MOVIES -

Nick Frost is best known for tack­ling zom­bies and aliens with Si­mon Pegg, but Baz Luhrmann and the glitzy dance world helped in­spire his lat­est film Cuban Fury.

Frost had Luhrmann’s clas­sic Strictly Ball­room on loop while com­ing up with the idea for Cuban Fury, about an un­der­con­fi­dent, over­weight for­mer salsa prodigy, who reignites his pas­sion for dance.

“The thing Baz does so well in that film is the com­edy is funny, the people are real ... the drama is dra­matic and the dancing is fiery hot and amaz­ing and pas­sion­ate,” he says.

“And I think that was one of our briefs to our­selves go­ing into this – it needed to be a lit­tle bit like Strictly Ball­room.”

That in­cluded all the span­gly cos­tumes.

While Frost hap­pily em­braced the se­quins, the fake tan was a dif­fer­ent story.

“I didn’t like fake tan. I have a quirky pho­bia where I don’t like any sticky liq­uid on my chest or neck,” he says. “The tan was a bit wrong.” And then there was the dancing.

Frost trained in salsa dancing for six hours a day, five days a week over seven months to per­fect his steps.

But he re­mem­bers at the end of day four, he was ready to throw in the towel.

“You’re es­sen­tially stand­ing in a mir­rored box, be­ing a big lump, try­ing to do what these dancers are show­ing me to do. And you just think I will never, ever get this,” he says.

“There were mo­ments there where I thought, you’ve just got to be hon­est (and say) ‘look I can’t do it, I gave it four days, I know it takes people a life­time to learn the minu­tiae of Cuban Salsa, but I can’t do it’.

“I re­ally cursed my­self and thought, why don’t you keep your mouth shut next time you have a great idea.”

It was all thanks to a drunken email that the idea ever got off the ground. Frost had been sit­ting on the idea for ages, when he got fairly tipsy and emailed it to his long-term pro­ducer.

“I think I wanted to be caught. The thought of me do­ing a dance film is ridicu­lous and I un­der­stand that,” he says.

“But it was an idea that would not go away ...

“I knew that if it was just left to me I’d sit on it and I’d re­ally re­gret it, so that’s where Stella Ar­tois and an Ap­ple Mac­in­tosh came in.”

But the pro­ducer thought it was hi­lar­i­ous and soon di­rec­tor James Grif­fiths was on board, fol­lowed by ac­tors Rashida Jones and Chris O’Dowd.

Frost left the writ­ing up to Jon Brown, be­cause as much as he loved writ­ing Paul with Si­mon Pegg, it took up a huge amount of time. “Go­ing for­ward, I think is a re­ally nice tem­plate for me per­son­ally – you have an idea, people like that idea, you find great people to write it and you pro­duce the thing,” he says.

“(And) in­stead of do­ing one thing ev­ery two years, you could do two things a year and have some cre­ative con­trol over it.”

Cuban Fury opens to­day.

Olivia Colman and Nick Frost

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