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Nick Frost talks Ron and the talent of today


Attack The Block
11 May 2011

Attack the Block is a fast, funny, frightening action adventure movie that pits a teen gang against an invasion of savage alien monsters. It turns a London housing estate into a sci-fi playground. A tower block into a fortress under siege. And teenage street kids into heroes. It¹s inner city versus outer space.

Trainee nurse Sam is walking home to her flat in a scary South London tower block when she¹s robbed by a gang of masked, hooded youths. She¹s saved when the gang are distracted by a bright meteorite, which falls from the sky and hits a nearby parked car. Sam flees, just before the gang are attacked by a small alien creature that leaps from the wreckage. The gang chase the creature and kill it, dragging its ghoulish carcass to the top of the block, which they treat as their territory.

While Sam and the police hunt for the gang, a second wave of meteors fall.Confident of victory against such feeble invaders, the gang grab weapons, mount bikes and mopeds, and set out to defend their turf. But this time, the creatures are bigger. Much bigger. Savage, shadowy and bestial, they are hunting their fallen comrade and nothing will stand in their way. The estate is about to become a battleground. And the bunch of no-hope kids who just attacked Sam are about to become her, and the block¹s, only hope.

Nick Frost, one of the United Kingdom’s most highly celebrated comic actors, speaks to the Fan Carpet’s Stefan Pape, ahead of the impeding release of British Sci-Fi Comedy Attack the Block.

The talented actor speaks about his character Ron, as well as his bemusement on the talent of those working around him.

 

 

Well, firstly – it was a great film. Your character was hilarious throughout – so what was it about this film that drew you in?

From an actors point of view, if someone writes a part specifically for you, its very nice and I felt very honoured that Joe Cornish would do that and that he would want me anywhere near his directorial debut. I’ve known Joe for a very long time and we’ve been mates for around 12 years, so I was chuffed to bits that he would let me come and be ‘Ron’ in his film. I don’t know why he would want me to play a shadowy drug dealer, but it was typecast. But yeah, I was glad he did, because I really enjoyed it a lot.

 

Do you think the part he wrote for you was appropriate for how you would consider a part for yourself?

Um… No, I think if I was to write a part for myself, my default setting is always from a place of darkness. So I think Ron is a bit nicer and, yes he is a Fagan-style character who gets young men to sell drugs for him, but on the other side of that is, when you see Ron with the character Hi-Hatz, you see that’s he’ frightened of him, like everyone is. So, I like that about the character, he’s not just about banging out weed, he’s afraid as well. And you also see, and get a sense that he’s terribly lazy too, and me and Joe would talk about the character before we did this, and I imagined that he had maybe five or six plants in his house and he sold a bit of weed, and he was very good at that, and then I think Hi-Hatz kind of got a sniff of this deal going down and kind of said to Ron, that you can do it two ways – you can now work for me and we’ll industrialise this process, or – you can leave the block. So I think Ron would rather have a quiet life and just do Hi-Hatz business. So yeah – I am like that in some respect.

 

The film, is some respects, bear some similarities to Shaun of the Dead, in a sense that it’ normal, everyday people taking on supernatural beings of some sort – and you play a pot smoker in both. How differently did you approach the character of Ron, to how you did for Ed, in Shaun of the Dead?

Ed’s a drug-dealer too isn’t he? Ron is one up from Ed, he is self-employed essentially. Ed could never get off the couch; he could never put time-splitters down enough to sort out the finances – he’s not as motivated. I probably prepared more for Ron than I did for Ed to be honest. I think that’s because Joe took a lot of time, not just with me but with all of us, working out a back story of where Ron came from and how he is like he is, why he is like he is and I didn’t do that for Shaun of the Dead, I think Ed was just like me essentially, not when we shot Shaun of the Dead, but I had been like Ed.

 

What was it like working with Joe – just how bright a future do you think he has in British cinema?

I think the sky’s the limit for Joe, I think he can go on and do whatever he wants to do. It will get financed and he will shoot it. He can do whatever he wants from this point on. I think he’s proved himself to be a great director and the sky’s the limit. Did you just say that, or did I just say that?

You just said that.

Fine, yeah. The sky’s the limit for Joe.

 

So working with relatively inexperienced actors, did you feel at all like the old-hand, the Daddy?

Ha, I certainly didn’t feel like the Daddy! I wasn’t like Carlin off Scum. I think it would have been disrespectful of the kids to take on a mantle of the elder statesmen of acting, I mean I never trained to be an actor, so you know, by the time we rehearsed a bit together, I came to set around three weeks after they had started so by the time I got there, there was nothing they needed to be taught by me, you know, they learnt their lines and they knew where to stand, and they were respectful to the crew and the crew liked them. But yeah, I never trained and a lot of these guys never trained and I think there is a lot to be said for training, but what these kids did on the film, you can’t teach. So in terms of me coming in and help teach them something, I just didn’t need too. Plus, you then get a different dynamic, it’s not like we’re all actors of equal standing working on a film together. Who am I to tell them anything?

 

Just how impressed were you with their performances, given their inexperience.

I loved it, I loved watching them. I loved sitting at the monitor watching them work and I loved watching Joe direct them too, that was pretty impressive. Also, the girls, who aren’t in a lot are amazing, they’re so good. There’s no-one that sticks out.

 

 

Did the film change a lot from when you were first given the script and the character, to what ended up on screen?

I’m not sure – I don’t think it did. I mean, things change when you start rehearsing and I think Joe was very keen that every one got a say in what they thought their language was like on the screen. Did it work for them, and could they feel themselves saying it, did it work and resonate with their characters, and so on. So obviously when you start opening that out, the thing that you finish will always change to when you shoot it.

Nick Frost Photos | Attack The Block Film Page

ATTACK THE BLOCK IS OUT TODAY FROM OPTIMUM RELEASING