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They don’t always warn you about sequins when you start wearing costumes covered in them. Such was the case with Nick Frost, who became a salsero for his latest film, CUBAN FURY. In it, he plays a man who gave up his passion for salsa dancing after being beaten up by bullies. When we spoke March 28, 2014, I confessed while setting up my recording equipment that I had debated about whether or not to wear one of my sequined scarves to the interview. He said he was sorry that I hadn’t, but then went on to talk about how, after spinning on the dance floor in costumes heavily laden with the light-catchers, that he had found sequins in and around his person for days afterwards.
Though the film is a comedy, the dancing, and the emotions, are dead serious, and the way Frost blends the all those things makes them greater than the sum of their parts. It was one of the first things I asked him about before we moved on to getting the salsa dancing right and Frost’s love of rhinestones.
Character is key for Frost, as he has richly demonstrated both here and last year in THE WORLD’S END, in which he played a serious character in a wildly funny film about the collapse of civilization. Bruce, the hero of CUBAN FURY, has a poignant backstory, and the action is never about getting to the next joke, though there are plenty of them to go around. His thoughts on the subject have a keen insight into the fine art of storytelling, as do his musings on the obstacles to romance in being a reserved Englishman, and how Latino culture taught him that dancing with right partner is more intimate than a kiss. Perhaps only Frost could have come up with the term “furious foreplay” to describe it.
CUBAN FURY explores dreams deferred, the advantages of a suede sole, and salsa dancing as both an aggressive act, and a path to true love. Frost plays Bruce Garrett, a lathe enthusiast who had his childhood dreams of salsa glory pummeled out of him by crass bullies who didn’t appreciate the finer points of the art or the costume. Living a quieter life with only the company bully with whom to contend, Bruce suddenly finds a reason to dance again when he discovers that his comely new boss is a salsa enthusiast. Spurred on by his sister and the yearnings of his heart, Bruce contends with the suspicions of his bitter former salsa teacher, the invasion of his personal space by a too-invested fellow student, and gravity itself as he whips himself back into shape in order to win his lady love and regain the zest for living that he lost along with his sequins so many years ago. The film co-stars Rashida Jones, Chris O’Dowd, Kayvan Novak, Olivia Coleman, Rory Kinnear, Alexandra Roach, and Ian McShane. It was directed by James Griffiths from a script by Joe Brown based on Frost’s original idea. Frost’s previous work includes the sublime Cornetto Trilogy of SHAUN OF THE DEAD, HOT FUZZ, and THE WORLD’S END on which he collaborated with Simon Pegg and director Edgar Wright.
Click on the link to listen to the interview (9:13) CUBAN FURY — Nick Frost Interview.