Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Honest, Officer, I'm Just a Comic

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Honest, Officer, I'm Just a Comic

Article excerpt

In the unlikely event that the offers dry up for rising comic star Simon Pegg, he could always find a very welcome embrace within the long arm of the law.

The Gloucester-born star recently proved himself a natural at toeing the thin blue line while researching for his new film, Hot Fuzz.

Simon spent almost a year on call with officers from stations throughout the UK, and reckons it was one of the most thrilling experiences of his life.

"There was one police car ride that particularly stands out," he recalls with a gleeful grin. "We were driving down a country lane in Somerset when a voice came over the radio with an alert. The police officer stuck on the blues and twos (lights and sirens) and we went hurtling down this country lane at 85 mph."

Simon shadowed police officers from London, Somerset, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire and says that during his time with the force he learned some surprising facts about our British bobbies.

"Lots of amazing details came out," he laughs.

"For example, with one force I learned there's a hierarchy of sugary snacks officers are forced to buy for one another - a detail I included in the film.

"It was brilliant because these officers were so helpful and candid. We toured about 15 rural stations and met these guys, and that's when the film really began to take shape."

In the action-packed comedy, Simon, who co-wrote the script, stars as Nicholas Angel, the finest police officer in London. With an exemplary arrest record he starts to make his colleagues look bad, with the result that his embarrassed superiors send him to a sleepy, crime-free rural village.

What they haven't banked on is a series of grisly incidents that put Angel right back in the heart of the action.

The film boasts a stellar comedy cast, including Steve Coogan, Bill Nighy, Jim Broadbent, Bill Bailey and Martin Freeman, and is the culmination of a lifelong ambition for Simon, who admits to being an obsessive cops 'n' robbers fan.

He also admits it was his most challenging project to date: "I usually play quite goofy characters but Nicholas Angel isn't, so I couldn't rely on any of my usual tricks," he explains. …

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