Nick Frost has battled zombies and leapt through the air with two guns blazing – and with The World's End, he's taking on alien invaders and the pub crawl to end all pub crawls.
The third instalment in the loosely-linked Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy reunites Frost with Simon Pegg, Edgar Wright and a host of familiar faces from previous films Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz. When Pegg's Gary King gathers his teenage pals for a nostalgia-tinged pub crawl, they quickly discover that their hometown has been taken over by something alien – and it's down to Gary and Andy (Frost) to save themselves, the Earth and the pub crawl (not necessarily in that order).
We talk cozy catastrophes, fight choreography and whether he'd take a role in Star Wars Episode VII…
You're playing a very different character in The World's End…
We've always tried to make things different. We're character actors, you want to inhabit someone different each time you step up to make a film.
Because Simon has been the "parent" in Shaun and Hot Fuzz, I think people assume that Danny Butterman and Ed were the same character. I would argue that they're not – all three of these men are vastly different, but it's just that Simon's been playing Dad, and I've been playing the naughty child and the naive idiot in the first two.
The World's End is less of a riff on specific film genres than Hot Fuzz and Shaun…
Edgar and Simon didn't watch many films for this – they watched It's Always Fair Weather, that musical about old army buddies hooking up, and The Big Chill.
For us, the influences on this were much more literary science fiction; JG Ballard, John Wyndham – that kind of "cozy catastrophe." And Invasion of the Body Snatchers – that idea that by the time you realise it's happening, it's happened.
How much preparation went into the intricately-choreographed fight scenes?
We worked with a guy called Brad Allan – he's an amazing martial artist from Melbourne, and a bloody nice man. I think he was the first westerner that Jackie Chan brought into his team.
We had five or six weeks' rehearsal – we'd come in every morning and spend an hour warming up, boxing and kicking things. And then we'd got through the fights bit by bit. We had a giant space at the studio where we shot them, and they essentially made every set out of cardboard; you'd fight in these tramlines.
You'd come in in the morning and Brad and his team would've spent the day before shooting a pre-viz of what he thought the fight would look like. He'd set the laptop up and press play, and they'd put music to it, and little effects, and it was essentially exactly as you'd see it in the film. We had quite a long first couple of days where we were put through our paces in terms of what our limitations were, stunt-wise, and then the fights were tailored to what we could and couldn't do. Fortunately, I could do everything!
Will there ever be a fourth Cornetto film?
No, it's done now. We don't want to make a film because it's what people expect of us. If it means that we won't make a film for ten years, but in ten years we have an amazing story, we'll do that. It'll happen when it happens.
Me and Simon have a really good idea for something, the two of us, for a double-header, but that would be something much lower-budget that we'd potentially produce and self-finance, and have fun improvising it – 'cause these films are not improvised at all, they're all very scripted.
Are you much of a tech-head?
I am, yeah. I'm an Apple slag. My whole house is Apple, I got the new iPhone on the day it came out. I read that they're planning on bringing out a bigger iPhone with a curved screen, and that's what this should've been. With the iOS 7 update, I shouldn't have really got the other iPhone, 'cause it's basically the same apart from the fingerprint thing.
What gadgets would you hang onto in the robot apocalypse?
Well it depends if there's been some sort of electro-magnetic pulse, doesn't it? I mean, the thing about a machete is that it'll never go offline, and you don't need to charge it up. So I think in terms of hardware, it's always going to be a good machete.
We've seen your Star Wars sketch with Simon Pegg – would you take a role in the new film if it's offered?
I dunno. I mean, I'm a massive fan of IV, V and VI – I love JJ [Abrams] and what JJ does, but I would be in a bind in terms of… I want to see them, I want to watch them and enjoy them. Because I think they're going to do an amazing job, I think they're going to be fantastic. And I'm not sure if my mush on screen would add anything to that.
But, as an actor – of course I'd want to work with JJ Abrams and do the best I can with the best people in the business. We'll have to see, but… it's not 100 per cent that I'd say yes, just because I want to see them.
What's happening with The Adventures of Tintin?
We were in New Zealand earlier this year with Peter Jackson, and he's very keen to get cracking. I think next year they're keen to get us down there to do it. I think they're just tinkering with the script and getting it right.
I think they're going to do what they did on the first one, and amalgamate a couple of stories. Me and Si loved doing that, it was a great laugh – I hope we get the chance to do it again.