By Fred Topel | Images property of Universal Pictures
When The Boat that Rocked opened in England, it did not have the fanfare usually doled out to a Richard Curtis movie. It’s even opening in America with a different cut and the name Pirate Radio to wash that critical stink off. Co-star Nick Frost hopes American audiences will get the premise of the film and enjoy its slice of life episodes on the pirate radio boats of the 1960s.
Nick Frost on the Air for Pirate Radio
“I think that's kind of part of the way Richard put it together,” Frost said. “I think what the British press missed is the fact that the film is set over kind of two years, essentially, and so when a story’s that long it’s difficult to keep a narrative thread going through the whole film. So I think Richard kind of shot it in a way where it’s essentially sketches put together with the ship being kind of the strand through the whole thing.”
When the U.K. banned rock n’ roll on the airwaves, pirate stations broadcast from boats. Frost plays Dave, a DJ on one of those boats. “Those guys were there a long time, the actual DJs. I think we worked out that Dave had been on a ship for three and a half years, and you think f*cking hell, that's a long time to be on a ship.”
That sense of cabin fever came naturally. For the professional side, Frost did his proper research. “They came on to set and they arranged for me to meet Johnny Walker who was a very famous pirate radio DJ who now works for the BBC, has his own show for years and years. They arranged for me to go on his show live and to hang out with him and see how he works and he was great. I mean, he invited me in to the studio. He actually wheeled me in in the chair that I was sitting in, and I thought, ‘Oh, this is going to be great.’”
That field trip was cut short, however. “I was watching him for ten minutes and then he said, ‘You know what? You've got to leave.’ I said, ‘Oh, all right, yes.’ I was meant to be on there for two hours, and I think he just wanted to play music and not have me looking over his shoulder. And I can understand. I didn’t feel put out or miffed by it. It was just he wanted to get on and play music.”
Pirate Radio opens to theaters some time in November 13, 2009.