Simon Pegg And Nick Frost On Working With Hero Steven Spielberg - Filmmakers' Lourdes, Apparently
"We feel like we've been to filmmakers' Lourdes. We've drunk his celluloid," is how Nick Frost describes the experience of working with childhood hero Steven Spielberg on the big-budget performance-capture film, The Adventures of Tintin.
"One day, we were left to our own devices, so we came up with some choreography for a scene, and Steven watched it enthusiastically. Then he suggested a few tiny things, and fixed in one go all the things that had been bothering us. You realise how prodigious his talent is. So you roll over like a dog and say, scratch my tummy."
Despite being prolific and enormously successful writers and producers themselves, Frost and his long-time collaborator Simon Pegg were all too happy to surrender to the creative control of Spielberg and his team from the start.
"For me, it was a no-brainer," remembers Frost. "I didn't read the script. You know when you're in his hands, the chances are it's going to be pretty awesome. The idea of working with him on something where the technology was new to him as well was too much of a dangling carrot."
"It's also about knowing your place on the food chain," explains Pegg. "It's not our gig. We are brought in because of our particular set of skills, so that affords us the chance to say, 'How about this?' he says 'No' and we do it as it was written. And he called us "my boys" which was great."
It is evident that Pegg and Frost hold their American director in great reverence, nevertheless, they reject the idea that this represents a new level of professional success for them.
"It's a line, not a ladder," reflects Pegg. "I have an immense sense of achievement from working with Stephen Spielberg and Kathleen Kennedy, on a film with a score by John Williams. But my latest film, a small project at Shepperton with a tiny crew, is just as satisfying."
The pair has been working together since 1998, creating some of the UK's most successful TV and film of the past decade - Paul, Hot Fuzz, Spaced and Shaun of the Dead. It is a partnership they are very open to the idea of evolving if necessary, with Frost acknowledging that, "the bromance thing is old now, and not us - that guys being mates thing has got a bit boring." (Has anyone told The Inbetweeners this?)
Something less satisfying than the creative process for both Pegg and Frost is engaging with the whole "celebrity" process - they almost spit out the word.
"We're not tired of life, just tired of premieres. The red carpet is a very high energy night, and it's a myth that those things are glamorous. You have to engage with so many people, it's completely exhausting. God knows how politicians do it."
Pegg goes on: "It's the price of doing the job I love doing, but I hate being called a celebrity. We're not complaining, but it's an oddly treacherous part of the job.
"There is a difference between someone who spends their life acting and working and feeling sick with nerves, and 'celebrities'. Fame doesn't interest me."
If they hate having to deal with celebrity, press, the general fanfare, Pegg admits it can come in handy occasionally, as when he was quoted in several interviews voicing his admiration for Doctor Who, and ended up getting a part in the popular series.
The last time Simon Pegg was asked in an interview what he would be doing next, he replied, "It's not like I'm going to be appearing in Mission Impossible 4 or anything."
Six months later, he was on the set of Mission Impossible 4. So, what is he NOT doing next this time? "That's easy. I'm not going to be in Mission Impossible 5."
The Adventures of Tintin is now in cinemas. Watch the trailer below...