MEFCC 2016: Actor Nick Frost on Dubai: 'It's such a beautiful city, there's so much to see here'

Nick Frost, it’s fair to say, probably isn’t your typical movie star. The British comedy actor does not possess chiselled cheekbones, or a six-pack – when asked during his appearance at the Middle East Film & Comic Con which superhero he should play, he suggested a fictional character, British Beef. It was a typically self-effacing […]

Nick Frost, it’s fair to say, probably isn’t your typical movie star.

The British comedy actor does not possess chiselled cheekbones, or a six-pack – when asked during his appearance at the Middle East Film & Comic Con which superhero he should play, he suggested a fictional character, British Beef.

It was a typically self-effacing reference to his own less-than athletic physique – but his modesty cannot hide the fact that Frost has become one of the UK’s biggest film exports, with leading roles in films such as Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, The World’s End and Paul (alongside regular comedy collaborator Simon Pegg), along with Cuban Fury and Steven Spielberg’s The Adventures of Tintin.

More recently, an internet movement has risen for him to take over as James Bond when Daniel Craig retires, as the producers are said to be looking for a “different approach”.

Frost greets the Bond suggestion with what can best be described as a withering look – but he does have form with 007 actors, having appeared alongside Timothy Dalton in 2007’s Hot Fuzz, Daniel Craig in 2011’s Tintin, and Pierce Brosnan in 2013’s The World’s End.

The latter is seemingly a particular favourite.

“How often do you get to headbutt James Bond’s head off?” asks Frost. “It was amazing to shoot – how often do you find yourself on set going ‘oh look – there’s James Bond’?

“The fight scenes in that film were great because it wasn’t long after I’d shot Cuban Fury, so I’d already been doing dance training and I think that shows in the fight scenes. That whole big fight scene with Pierce took us about eight days to shoot and I’m proud to say I knocked out two Hungarian stuntmen in the process.

“There’s that whole weird thing where stuntmen really thrive on getting hurt and punched. I’m not a naturally punchy person really, but when they’re there going: ‘No, do it harder,’ you go ‘well, all right’. They’re still being hit by an 18-stone man though.”

Although Frost might lack the physique or martial-arts training of Jean Claude Van Damme, he says he loves action sequences.

“We don’t really have guns much in England,” he says. “So you’re like a little kid when you get to play with one. There was this scene in [British sitcom] Spaced where I have to basically hold two submachine guns and fire them into the air while I’m laughing manically like a lunatic. That might have been the best moment of my life, not just my acting career.”

Frost’s recent career hasn’t only involved decapitating Bonds, fighting zombies and unleashing hot lead.

In 2014’s Cuban Fury, he played Bruce Garrett, a former teen salsa champion who pulls on his Cuban heels for one last shot at the big time. Frost has fond memories of making the film, although he admits it was ­exhausting.

“I always like to think of that film as the British Dirty Dancing,” he says. “It was really tough, though. I was dancing for five or six hours a day for seven months.

“I’ve always loved dancing, at parties or something, but I’ve never really danced with a woman before, you know, where you actually hold her and do all the moves, except maybe when I was five stood on my mum’s feet while she waltzed me round the living room. I should maybe have taken a film playing Dr Stephen Hawking. It would have been less exhausting.”

The movie even took on an unexpected political dimension.

“It didn’t do very well in America [where Cuba was at the time under a strict economic and political embargo, which is now beginning to ease]”, he says. “But it was the number-one most-­pirated film in Florida [which is home to a large Cuban immigrant population].”

Frost’s visit to Dubai was brief – he was jetting off to the Los Angeles premiere of his latest movie, The Huntsman: Winter’s War, a sequel to Snow White and the Huntsman, in which he reunites with Liam Hemsworth and Charlize Theron.

But he was there long enough to offer one piece of advice for the city.

“Someone really needs to get on TripAdvisor and take The Dubai Mall off the number-one-place-to-visit position,” he says. “It’s such a beautiful city, there’s so much to see here – and it’s such a shame that all people want to do is come here and shop, it really is.

“Even I spent two hours this morning just shopping for some Lego for my son. I got him a fire engine.”

cnewbould@thenational.ae

Source: art & life

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