Before he started slaying zombies and road tripping with aliens, Nick Frost actually had a pretty eventful life. Now he’s finally written a book all about it, a book filled with of laughs, tears and minute details. We spoke to Frost about his memoir, Truths, Half Truths And Little White Lies, as well as his relationship with Simon Pegg, his geek superstardom and his undying love for Special Agent Dana Scully…
Your book is extremely honest. Is that how you wanted it to be when you set out to write it?
I dunno, I think I’m kind of an honest person. I mean, if you’ve going to write an autobiography you’re not going to fill it with shit that didn’t happen. You know, I kind of think what’s the point of that? It’s kind of pointless. I wanted to tell an honest account of what happened and I think honesty is probably just one part of it. If you take the book as a whole, you know, it’s as funny as it is honest. What I wanted was for, at the end, someone to go away and think, well this guy had a bit of a shitty time and he’s all right. I think that’s what I wanted to get across. Keeping going and it will be better.
Did you find writing it a cathartic experience?
No, not really, I mean, I think over the course of—well, the book finished when I’m 29 odd, so I think there’s been a long time since then. I kind of worked it all out and my catharses came long before the book was started, so it was actually just fun, sitting there every day and chomping away. You know, I really enjoyed it.
What made you want to write a memoir as opposed to writing a novel or something similar?
Well, there’s something there too! That’s what I want to write, a novel is what I’m trying to work on writing next. It will be more in the sci-fi world as well, so I’m just trying to figure that out at the moment. But I was independently writing my story, so to speak, but then I was approached by Penguin last year. They asked if I wanted to do an autobiography and I wasn’t sure, and nothing really happened with them, but a few months later I was approached by Hodder and I thought, yeah, why not? It was important, I didn’t want to just write a book about meeting Steve Coogan or hanging out with Jack Black, you know? That’s just what my job is. It’s amazing and I love it, but it’s a part of my job. I think it’s kind of unapproachable for normal people who work for a living. It has no context, you know?
The book also touches on your battle with depression. Do you have any advice for young people who are going through what you went through?
I mean, I think obviously there’s not as much of a stigma attached to depression these days. I’d always say go and talk to people, even if it’s just a mate, a good friend, a parent or your doctor… there’s nothing to be ashamed of.
Are there any book, films and shows that you enjoyed while you were growing up that you feel have shaped the way you work today?
Well, I mean, I loved science fiction as a child and I used to love Blake’s 7 and Space 1999 and, you know, I’ve always liked Close Encounters or anything with a robot or a spaceship. I think that’s where my love of sci-fi and geekery comes from. In the book I wrote about how as an 11-year-old I could watch I Spit On Your Grave and Suspiria. [Laughs] Having my mind melded by Dario Argento from an early age probably did something to break it… Or fix it!
How do you take your title of ‘Geek Icon’?
Happily! Wonderfully! I’m happy with that. It’s a group of likeminded peers, all the stuff they do, so I’ll take that. That’s a great compliment.
When you go to places like Comic-Con and you’re surrounded by people who have been inspired by your work and people who cosplay characters you’ve played, how does it feel?
It’s amazing! It’s incredibly flattering that someone would make the effort to hunt down an ‘I GOT WOOD’ shirt and cover it in blood. What’s that saying? I can’t remember it. There’s a saying about it’s the greatest form of flattery or something.
Come on! Something is the greatest form… Come on!
Something is the greatest form of flattery…
I’ll look it up and add it in.
Okay, brilliant. But let’s not add in the conversation where I can’t think about it. Yeah, you know, it’s great! It’s a wonderful thing. You’re doing something they love and you could potentially touch someone enough in their house in Australia or America or Canada or Germany that they would want to dress up like you at a comic convention.
What’s the best cosplay you’ve seen of a character you’ve played?
I dunno, there’s just so many! There’s always good Shaun and Eds out there. There’s not one specific cosplayer. But on Twitter I get loads of people sending drawings and stuff and I just really appreciate the skill and the effort and the art that goes into sketches and cosplay. It’s all great fun.
You talk about The X-Files in the book. Are you still a diehard Dana Scully fan?
Absolutely I am. Yeah, I can’t wait for the new series. I’m really excited. And I kind of know Gillian a little bit too. A little bit, just from bumping into her at things. Years and years and years ago, she came to a pub quiz that we used to attend in a pub in Highgate. We knew her as Scully and it kind of blew mine and Simon’s minds. But yeah, absolutely.
Did you fanboy a little bit?
Oh yeah! Totally! I had a little 10 x 8 I’d bought from a comic shop and as she was leaving I ran out and got her to sign it. I still have it!
What do you reckon both you and Simon would be doing now if the two of you hadn’t met?
Oh, I don’t know! I think Simon would be exactly where he is, and I think I’d be a powerful area manager for a restaurant chain.
You said you didn’t want to be an actor when you started. What was it that changed your mind?
Well, nothing really. It just happened. After Simon and Jess [Jessica Hynes] got Spaced commissioned and he said, I want you to come and do Mike Watt, I kind of had to do it, you know? I said yes but I didn’t realise what that entailed, essentially. I sort of ended up having to do it and then I kind of liked it but pretended I didn’t, and then the second series happened and I had to do that, and then another little bit came in. You know, I was just gradually being shown it, so to speak. Now here we are 12 years later and I kind of really love it.
Do you have a favourite project you’ve worked on?
I mean, it’s going to sound like everything. I love the Cornetto Trilogy obviously. When me and Simon did Paul, it was something really special. It felt special when we were writing it and making it and we lived in New Mexico for four months, and that was kind of amazing. We got to work with John Carroll Lynch! We’ve worked with some fantastic actors through what we’ve done, and that has been really special, you know, working with someone like Jim Broadbent or Bill Nighy. And then I know it wasn’t the biggest film in the world but putting in the seven months, eight months training for Cuban Fury was intense and I’m really proud that it paid off, especially when 99.9 percent of the dancing on screen is me.
Have you carried on with the dancing since then?
I’ve always been a bit of a dancer, so it’s kind of in me. But remembering all those steps… I think you literally have to go two or three times a week to stay in that kind of shape. It’s about the steps and remembering where your feet go. But in terms of my Cuban fire, it’s still in there. Or it’s heartburn. One of the two.
Do you do any rituals to get into character or prepare for a role?
Not really, I mean, I just work a lot. Literally, I just go through my scripts for hours and hours and hours and then, you know, when I get home I’ll always do an hour before bed and I’ll wake up at 5am and do an hour before I have a shower, so it’s just about knowing the script, every word of it, and knowing the stage directions and looking at the call sheet obsessively and knowing who is in and just knowing my business and knowing everyone else’s business too. I have a bag, I guess. I have a set bag that I have to have the same things go in it every day, and it has to be like that throughout the whole shoot. But you know, I don’t put a rabbit’s foot down my knickers or rub a statue’s nose.
If you had to cosplay as a character, who would you pick?
I know it sounds weird, but some of those girls when they dress up in Sailor Moon or Hello Kitty outfits, I think I’d like to be some kind of Japanese cosplayer doing Sailor Moon. I’d have a really tiny Sailor Moon skirt on and pigtails! [Laughs]
Truths, Half Truths And Little White Lies: A Memoir by Nick Frost is out now. You can buy it from £9.50 from Amazon.co.uk.