Interview: Nick Frost On The Truth Seekers

Interview: Nick Frost On The Truth Seekers

Set in a mysterious world filled with dread and just-out-of-sight monsters, Truth Seekers mixes the very funny with the very scary in an exciting take on genre storytelling, and stars Nick Frost as Gus, Simon Pegg as Dave, Samson Kayo as Elton, Malcolm McDowell as Richard, Emma D’Arcy as Astrid, and Susan Wokoma as Helen.

From the minds that gave us Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, Sick Note and Paul, Truth Seekers is co-written by Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Nat Saunders and James Serafinowicz who executive produce alongside Miles Ketley and Jim Field Smith, who also serves as director.

The Truth Seekers is released on Amazon Prime Video on Friday, 30th October in over 240 countries and territories worldwide. 

 
 
Question: Can you take us back to the beginning of the project and how it first came about?
 
Answer: Well, there’s probably a couple of versions. So, Simon and I used to be ghost-hunters, I would say children, but we were like thirty. And it wasn’t ghost-hunting, it was just getting in his car and driving to Essex where there’s an old Saxon Church and just frightening one another, walking around the cemetery at night on our own. I’d always get quite badly injured, I think I suffered two really bad injuries, including knocking myself unconscious and Simon left me because he thought I was mucking about. I think that was partly where it came from. Just normal people, you know, wanting to experience something super-unnormal. And then, the actual nuts and bolts of the show itself came when James Serafinowicz and I – the writer who co-created the show – had an idea of: what if this guy, Gus Roberts, was also, as well as being a satellite field engineer and cable installation expert, tapped into the world of the supernatural.
 
Question: Obviously, the four of you are writers, how was the writing process done and what sort of influences did you draw on, if any?
 
Answer: Oh, I don’t know. I think I didn’t want it to be a kind of ‘set them up, knock them down, sitcom’, which I think in hindsight would have been a lot easier. I think Martin Clunes in a car with a ghost is a lot easier than trying to craft some British Stranger Things. I think that’s what I wanted it to be. I think that this is changing but I don’t think we in Britain do that thing very well where we think, let’s do something big. Let’s do something which starts small but becomes really big. I think I wanted to do something which was, in terms of scale, scary and funny, to be funny and to not step over the line... It was kind of difficult. I think we bit off so much. There were times in the writing process where we would just sit and look at one another, and then we’d go home. Or none of us would come in. It was really difficult because when you want to write something complex and it involves science fiction, you have to have an answer for questions people might have. That answer can be sh*t but as long as you have it and you believe in that then the viewers are comforted by that.
 
Question: You and Simon obviously have your cult following and you guys have been brilliant at marrying humour with horror. How have you gone about crafting the story to get that balance right? It must be quite a tricky balance.
 
Answer: I don’t think we’ve ever done something like this apart from zombies, although Truth Seekers is similar to old-fashioned 1970s/1980s British horror. A lot of it is shot in the daytime, relying on jumps and things being creepy, houses being creepy and that innate sense of ‘I feel that there’s something weird about this’. There were different types of horror we wanted to go for, some gory, some of it was that weird horror including jumps, old women, a passage way and old hospitals. It was a real job trying to get scares into every episode and to make them work. It’s important for us to not step on them by undercutting them with a punchline. I think it’s allowed to be scary and it stands alone as something which is frightening as long as there is comedy in there in some way. How would you react with your best mate if you saw a ghost? It would be terrifying but your sense of humour wouldn’t leave you. I think that’s what our ambition was for Truth Seekers but at the same time trying to make something super ambitious and fun.
 
Question: For those who don’t know anything about Truth Seekers, do you mind just giving us a broad premise?
 
Answer: Truth Seekers is about a man called Gus Roberts who is a broadband engineer for a company called Smyle. He’s also a very keen amateur ghost hunter and paranormal investigator. He sadly lost his wife Emily who was his drive in life, and thinks he can secretly get her back or find out something about what happened when she disappeared. All of the main characters are seeking a truth, a personal truth, not just the truth of, is there an afterlife? Are we alone? What’s up there? And so they come together and form a gang. I like to think there’s a Scooby-Doo element to it, which I’m really enjoying because I’m hoping that I’m Velma. I will always be Velma.
 
Question: Just going into a bit more detail with Gus. Where do we find him, what drives him, what are his ambitions?
 
Answer: Gus lives with Richard who’s a cantankerous old fool but they love each other. It’s been nice having Malcolm here because it’s fleshed out a really nice, natural, father-son warmth. He’s [Gus] single, obviously, he’s never been with anyone since Emily died and he’s happy being in his house fixing stuff and being a great field engineer. There’s a passage later on in episode six or sevenwhere he explains that he watched footage of a door closing over a time period of nine hours and that was the most psychic thing he had ever seen. I love the fact he gets to a point in his life where what went before this point is moot now because he’s seen this incredible thing.
 
Question: You mentioned Malcolm, a brilliant casting. What was it like working with such a legend, obviously from cinema? He’s playing very much opposite to the character, isn’t he?
 
Answer: He’s amazing. I think rightly or wrongly you have a preconception of what someone is going to be like because of films they’ve made and the history of the person. Malcom has smashed it, he’s amazing. I love being around him and he’s got a million stories. I genuinely feel happier when he’s on set because he likes the fact that we can improve a bit. I think he comes from that kind of school where he’s like ‘ok, let’s see where this goes’, and I like all that too. So, once he starts going down that rabbit hole, I’m just with him and I hope he enjoys that because he’s perfect.
 
Question: Talking about some of your other cast members, tell me about Samson who is playing Elton, your partner in crime?
 
Answer: Ever since we went through the casting procedure with Samson he was fantastic. I have yet to see a picture of him as ababy because I feel my balls would blow up through cuteness because he’s so fu*king cute and as a grown man I would hate to see what he looks like as a tiny baby. He’s charming, funny and has an edge to him which I like. You don’t see it a lot but there are a couple of times in the show towards the end that you see his steel and you think, this guy means business. He’s also having to live with Elton, his character, who has to live with a tremendous secret. I think that’s a good thing for an actor to play, someone with a façade.
 
Question: And also reuniting with Simon. He’s playing your boss, Dave.
 
Answer: I just like to hang out with Simon. We started this company so we could hang out a bit more together. So, to get the chance to actually be on set and do what we do and do what we love the most is a treat.
 
Question: Finally, onto the last thing, have you had anything unexplainable or paranormal happen to you in your life?
 
Answer: Yes, loads of bits and pieces. My mum comes from one of eight sisters and they’re all witchy, Pembroke, Welsh ladies. I think my aunty, Melanie, is a vampire. I’ve been at her house before and things have moved. The other day, we were somewhere and the door started banging, I said, “hang on a second”. But the handle was actually being tried, so I said “hang on”, and it happened again. As I opened the door, there was no one in the corridor. I think it’s like the ghost of Tommy Trinder or something or some other comedy hero.
 
Interview supplied by publicists.
 
 

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