“There’s a difference between watching a film and watching a bit of cinema and enjoying a film as a piece of cinema.”
Nick Frost has multi-faceted talents. He is not only a screenwriter, producer and actor, but also an author and painter who has garnered quite the name for himself. Born to office furniture designers in London on March 28, 1972, Nick’s childhood was beset with various difficulties and untimely tragedies. He lost his sister at the mere age of 18 to an asthma attack, his family business fell through the roof, leaving them homeless and emotionally scarred, his mother suffered a stress-induced stroke and more. Frost struggled as a child, trying to support his family by enrolling at a shipping company. When he met Simon Pegg while working as a waiter in London, his life changed for the better.
Frost has often laid emphasis on how his homelessness at the age of 15 left a deep impact. As he told The Guardian, “I might have a beautiful life at the moment, but if things didn’t come in for a year… I can feel my heart beating now just thinking about it.” After Pegg and Frost became inseparable, Pegg co-wrote a role for Frost with Jessica Hynes in a comedy series named Spaced, the inspiration for which was derived from the slacker lifestyle led by both Pegg and Frost.
Pegg and Frost became frequent collaborators. Friends for life, they have been each other’s strongest support systems during dark times. Pegg, Frost and Edgar Wright had worked together on numerous occasions — from Shaun of the Dead to Hot Fuzz and more. Pegg and Frost have also appeared as the iconic duo that indulges in eccentric buffoonery, Thomson and Thompson, in Steven Spielberg’s The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn.
Frost, who has been a huge Star Wars fan his “whole life”, however, had rejected an offer to be in the franchise. He blamed the “rubbish” pay for motivating him to turn down the offer, talking about how he had a family and did not “do this for free”. Pegg and Frost’s idiosyncratic tomfoolery may be gradually losing its touch— their project Truth Seekers which was streaming on Amazon Prime Video was cancelled after one season.
However, Nick Frost’s impact on cinema, especially in the zombie, body-snatcher or cop genre is undeniable; he has managed to infuse comedy in horror and that has led to hilarious results. On his 49th birthday today, we take a look at the films that have been his top picks. In an interview with Rotten Tomatoes, Frost picked out his favourite films and it makes for an essential watch list.
Nick Frost’s 5 favourite films
5. The Shining (Stanley Kubrick, 1980)
Adapted from Stephen King’s 1977 novel The Shining, Stanley Kubrick’s film is considered one of the greatest horror films of all time. The film’s protagonist, Jack Torrance, is an aspiring novelist and recovering alcoholic who is offered to serve as the caretaker of the isolated and infamous Overlook Hotel in Colorado. Jack’s wife, Wendy and their five-year-old son Danny accompany him to spend the winter at the hotel. A ghastly storm leaves the Torrance family snowed in for days, just as Jack’s sanity starts disintegrating under the influence of the sinister forces, and his slow but steady descent into maniacal madness endanger the lives of his wife and son.
According to Frost, the film is a “great horror film” because it is “incredibly creepy” imbued by “fantastic performances” which possess an impending doom and a “sense of threat” that is omnipresent in the film, adding a sense of discomfort that he finds enjoyable.
4. Raiders of the Lost Ark (Steven Spielberg, 1981)
The film is an epic adventure saga where an archaeologist, Indiana Jones, ventures into the dense jungles of South America to find a golden statue. He comes to know of a biblical ancient artefact named the Ark of the Covenant, which the Nazis are hunting down because it is the key to gaining supremacy over humanity. As Indiana Jones battles his ophidiophobia as well as a revenge-seeking ex-girlfriend, he has to battle against the Nazis as well as fellow archaeologist Rene Belloq to find it.
Frost, a super fan of Close Encounters, finds the film very similar to its predecessor. It is, to him, “a timeless gem” that never seems to tire him and provides him solace and company on his darkest and laziest days. He plans to show his son the film when the latter is old enough (hilariously, three years old).
3. Bottle Rocket (Wes Anderson, 1996)
Dignan helps his friend Anthony escape from a mental institution; Dignan seems more unstable than Anthony. They hatch a wacky plan to embark on an unknown crime spree which includes the involvement of their previous boss, the iconic Mr Henry. Anthony soon finds love with the hotel maid Inez while hitting the road with their neighbour Bob.
The ensuing adventure with Mr Henry turns out to be far more different and bizarre than expected when they finally meet their boss.
Nick Frost loves Wes Anderson and connects with Anderson’s debut as one of his favourites. He is enthralled by the “staging of detail and specificity”; Wes Anderson who is the master of detail, supposedly “nails it”.
2. Dead Man’s Shoes (Shane Meadows, 2004)
In Derbyshire, Anthony is an autistic boy who gets involved in a drug cartel and gets viciously abused by the merciless members, which includes gang leader Sonny and his cronies.
When Richard, a paratrooper, returns to Derbyshire, he hopes to avenge his brother. He employs guerilla tactics and frightens the men before unleashing his wrath by becoming the delivering angel of vengeance.
Nick Frost wanted to always be “as good an actor as Paddy Considine” and found him to be “the finest actor” with whom he had a blast working with, in Hot Fuzz. this Shane Meadows-Paddy Considine duo is one of Frost’s personal favourites.
1. Close Encounters of the Third Kind (Steven Spielberg, 1977)
This is Nick Frosts “favourite film of all time” which he can watch like “it’s a time machine”. He has often expressed how the film takes him back to his childhood days when he first watched it and brings him the same exuberance and joy. It is a timeless and ageless flick for him; he simply describes the film as “just perfect”.
In this sci-fi flick, the planets that wnt missing in 1945 suddenly reappear in the Mojave desert. Cableman Roy Neary is one of those lucky ones who witness the UFOs in the night sky. He does not understand the meaning of the phenomenon he witnesses and wants to get to the bottom of it.
Meanwhile, government agents start getting a witness of otherworldly visitors trading planet Earth. Soon, they come in contact, which is strange and bizarre.