Updated: Monday, 24th September 2018 @ 5:48am

Nick Frost chats salsa, Strictly Come Dancing and incurring the wrath of the in-laws ahead of Cuban Fury release

Nick Frost chats salsa, Strictly Come Dancing and incurring the wrath of the in-laws ahead of Cuban Fury release

By Helen Le Caplain

From dancing in his gran’s kitchen as a child in a pair of undies, to raving on a Charing Cross nightclub podium at 16, it seems that Nick Frost’s latest role as a sequin-loving former salsa prodigy is something of a self-fulfilling prophecy.

And as a select Manchester audience got a sneak peak of Valentine’s Day release Cuban Fury, MM got the chance to sit down and chat with the actor, writer and comedian about drunken film submissions, Strictly Come Dancing plans and not succumbing to ‘John Travolta Syndrome’.

“My history as a dancer is… zero! I think the earliest memory I have is dancing in my gran’s kitchen surrounded by my aunties and I was in shredded underpants and they all laughed,” he grinned.

“That was the first time that comedy and dance met and I realised it worked for me.

“Then at 16 I was in a club in Charing Cross, I was asked if I would dance on a podium, which I didn’t mind as it was dark and there’s so many people.

“Inside of me I always I wanted to be a dancer – it was a dirty secret!”

However it seems he’s well and truly let the cat out of the bag with his latest venture, Cuban Fury, which sees out-of-shape office worker Bruce Garrett rekindle his passion for all things salsa in a bid to woo his new boss.

FUNNY MAN: Nick Frost wrote and stars as lead in Cuban Fury

And in the same way that Nick has veered off his usual path of collaborating with comedic partner Simon Pegg he also had a less than conventional way of submitting the idea to film bosses.

He revealed: “I never told anyone – I sent a drunken email outlining the film to Nira (Parks), pressed send and fell into a coma.

“I woke up with a weird feeling liked I had French kissed a relative, but got a reply saying ‘why not come in and have a meeting?’ and it went from there.”

And from such unusual beginnings Nick embarked on a gruelling seven-month training programme which involved salsa-ing seven hours a day under the watchful gaze of Strictly Come Dancing choreographer and salsa star Richard Marcel.

However it wasn’t all sequins and dancing while tackling a wide-ranging repertoire of salsa moves.

Nick: “It felt like the President of Cuba was going to slap me for my dancing. Being a big lump for the first two months dancing next to Richard who has such a wonderful shape when he dances – he makes it looks so easy but it comes from a lifetime of living it.

“He actually made me cry. I’d been worked so hard, this was about two in the afternoon and I’d been working for six hours, I reached the point where everything he said sounded like Mandarin.

“Richard went to move me into the correct position –I don’t like being manhandled – and lost it. I was really crying and ran home.”

SALSA GURU: Choreographer to the stars Richard Marcel

But the experience didn’t scar him completely and he returned to the lightly-sprung dance floor with a smile on his face and a steely determination to master the routines.

He explained: “I did and I didn’t get over my fear of dancing – there’s now a massive expectation to dance at every opportunity.

“I’ve danced three times since we finished the film. My wife doesn’t dance so it’s very difficult to say ‘I’m off to dance with some beautiful Spanish girls for an hour’.

“I have a little boy now so we dance a lot – he loves it. I  think it’s really important that a little child should be surrounded by music.”

But Nick confessed that he hasn’t always been as nimble on his feet as he is now, having briefly shuffled when the spotlight was on him during the first dance with his wife Christina.

“I ruined my wedding by not wanting to do a dance. We spent ages picking the song and had a practise.

“I did about five seconds and then looked down and fiddled with something in my pocket and then people came on to the dance floor to help out.

“We then had an eight-piece ska band and it felt different. One big difference with Latin dancing they don’t need to drink a pint of Guinness to get up and dance.”

But it wasn’t just Nick who felt restless during filming, some of the world’s best salsa dancers were crammed into the London club and were eager to hit the dancefloor. 

He said: “One of the salsa dancers came up to me during filming and said ‘salsa dancers are like race horses, they have been here for five hours – they have to dance’!”

“After that any time we weren’t shooting we would put music on so everyone could come on the dance floor for ten minutes and dance, then they would be happy to stand about for another couple of hours.”

Although Nick enjoyed strutting his stuff on the dance floor he assured me that, for the time being at least, he'll be hanging up his cuban heels.

"I've always liked dancing but don't want to do what I call 'John Travolta Syndrome' where I dance in everything."

And any fans hoping that he'll be lured onto the Strictly Come Dancing dancefloor anytime soon will be a little disappointed that he considers the show to be sacred family time.

"They probably couldn't afford me, and technically I'd be too good," he grinned.

"I would be good at salsa but ruined when it came to the American Smooth. It's the only time in the week, other than Sunday lunch, when we sit as a group and watch Strictly. 

"My mother-in-law would be pissed off if I stopped that and actually went on it!"

Now filming is over and he’s recovered from a Chris O’Dowd-induced injury – he pulled a muscle lifting him over his neck – and more blisters that he would care to remember Nick is looking forward to his next project, and even hinted at a possible sequel.

“I’ve had some ideas about a follow-up film were Bruce gets to the nationals, something he’s never achieved before, and his coach dies and appears as a ghost offering advice to him… that’s as far as I’ve got!”

Featured image courtesy of BBC via YouTube, with thanks

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