Yup, it’s time to feel old again! Simon Pegg and Nick Frost’s infamous film Hot Fuzz was released ten years ago today in the United States, and it shows no signs of aging.
Thanks to the titanic talent of Edgar Wright, Hot Fuzz remains endlessly quotable and entertaining. It is frequently hailed as the best installment in The Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy, and is referred to as a masterpiece in its own right.
Following Sergeant Nicholas Angel (Pegg) and PC Danny Butterman’s (Frost) attempts to solve a series of mysterious murders in the sedate setting of Sandford, Gloustershire, Hot Fuzz is just as funny and thrilling after ten viewings as it was when you first watched it.
Hot Fuzz is packed full of Easter eggs and call-backs to the rest of the action genre, but are you sure you know everything there is to know about this British comedy classic? Is your awareness off the f*cking chain, or do you want to touch up on your trivia? Scroll on down to check out these ten facts about Hot Fuzz that you may never have known you never knew!
1. Hot Fuzz Isn’t A Spoof, According To Simon Pegg
In the main, Hot Fuzz is seen as a spoof or satire of the kind of #actionmovies that Danny Butterman hoards. After all, it frequently deconstructs the clichés and occasional ridiculousness of the buddy-cop movie; an example of this is Simon Pegg’s Angel focusing on his paperwork after every criminal he captures. Naturally, we don't see much of this in many other action films.
However, Pegg disagrees with those fans who specifically place Hot Fuzz in the spoof genre:
“It's not, it is an action film. It just happens to be funny as well. I think because the genre in itself is very overblown and it doesn't take that much to push it into the comic realm.”
So there you have it. Whether or not you agree with his comments, I think I speak for all of us when I say that one thing’s for certain: Hot Fuzz isn’t just funny, it’s damn hilarious.
2. Simon Says: Smile!
Someone ought to have told Nicholas Angel that Hot Fuzz is a comedy! The straight-laced sergeant sure is a stoic and serious chap, and whilst we see him mellow over the course of the film, Danny definitely has to work hard to get him there.
Indeed, we don’t see Angel smile until we’re a whopping 47 minutes into the movie! It’s a good thing that Danny found out a way to switch off that old melon of his.
3. Bringing On Broadbent
He might not too well-known in America outside of #HarryPotter and #CloudAtlas, but in Britain, Jim Broadbent is a very well-respected actor. Thus, you might wonder: how did Edgar Wright, #SimonPegg and Nick Frost convince him to join Hot Fuzz in such a comedic role?
Simple: they didn’t. It seems that Broadbent was such a fan of Shaun of the Dead that he approached the trio at the 2004 BAFTAs, and eagerly requested to be in one of their movies. In fact, the role of Inspector Frank Butterman was created just for him! I love happy showbiz stories like this, don’t you?
4. Jonesing For Jones
Checking out his past work, it seems that Jim Broadbent is no stranger to the action genre; in fact, he’s one of three big names in Hot Fuzz who also had parts in one of the most famous action series of all time: #IndianaJones. Broadbent appeared in Kingdom of the Crystal Skull as Dean Charles Stanforth, along with #CateBlanchett, who was also the villainous Russian agent Irina Spalko.
Wait, Cate Blancett was in Hot Fuzz?! Yup, she was Nicholas Angel's ex-girlfriend Janine! And Paul Freeman who played Reverend Phillip Shooter in Hot Fuzz also menaced Harrison Ford’s Indy as Dr. René Belloq in Raiders of the Lost Ark.
And on an unrelated note, yarp, that is the Rory McCann a.k.a. The Hound from Game of Thrones playing Michael the store attendant.
5. Even More Crafty Cameos
Not content with casting famous thespians in Hot Fuzz, Edgar Wright also drafted in some directors for fun. Peter Jackson of The Lord of the Rings fame briefly appears as the man dressed in a Santa costume who stabs Nicholas Angel through the hand. Garth Jennings, the director of Sing and The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, also cameoed in the title sequence as the crack addict with the Kalashnikov.
See if you can spot them in the clip above!
6. “This Is The Best Village, Nicholas.”
As Sergeant Angel soon discovers, the villagers of Sanford are rather keen on winning the Best Village of the Year Award, and they go to great lengths to ensure the community will triumph. Thus, it’s hilarious that when the day of the inspection comes, the judges can only watch in bemusement as a violent shootout and car chase explode onto the cobbled streets of Sandford.
But the judges aren’t just any old actors; the two female inspectors are Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright’s mothers, and the bespectacled chap is Wright’s high school drama teacher. How sweet is that?
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7. Pop-Up Popwell
The trio behind Hot Fuzz have frequently spoken about their abiding love for action films, from the Lethal Weapon series to Bad Boys II. Another movie franchise that they admire is the Clint Eastwood-helmed #DirtyHarry movies, which features the actor Albert Popwell playing a vastly different stereotype in each installment.
As a tribute to to Popwell’s lasting contributions to the series, as well as to the series at large, Pegg and Wright used the thespians’ surname for Angel’s predecessor: Sergeant ‘great-big-bushy-beard’ Popwell. As we soon discover, Popwell ran afoul of the Neighbourhood Watch Alliance and came to a sticky end in the grounds of Sandford Castle. Nasty way to go.
8. Banishing The Cathedral
It’s interesting to note that many of the Sandford scenes were shot in Edgar Wright’s hometown of Wells in Somerset, which notably features The Wells Cathedral – a very large and very old medieval church, which had to be digitally erased from several exterior shots.
Why? Well in Hot Fuzz, Sandford is specifically referred to as a village. According to old – and now outmoded - English laws (from the time of King Henry VIII), a settlement with a cathedral is immediately classed as a city. Indeed, Wells is famously referred to as “England's smallest city,” so Edgar Wright requested that the cathedral be removed for authenticity.
9. Tricky Twirling
Throughout Hot Fuzz, Edgar Wright employs several scenes of rapidly cut footage to ape the hyper-active directing style of #MichaelBay. In one of these we see Nicholas Angel visiting the police station’s armory and seizing an assortment of weapons; according to #EdgarWright, there is some significance to the way that Angel suits up.
Certainly, we see glimpse him performing tricks with the guns before holstering them, and these kinds of tricks are usually shot in a certain way. Extras, or people with the required skill, are frequently filmed performing the tricks which are then edited or digitally inserted so that it seems as if the actor/character has done it.
Not so with #SimonPegg. When you see Angel stocking up on ammunition, it is Pegg’s hands that we see manipulating the guns, and no one else’s!
10. When Life Imitates Art...
One of Hot Fuzz’s funniest and longest running gags involves Nicholas and Danny’s failed attempts to catch a runaway swan. But that’s just a daft and exaggerated example of rural policing, right? Surely that was invented for laughs?
Well, it may once have been, but no longer. It turned out that fiction could become fact in early 2017, when SomersetLive reported that the police intervened when a swan went rogue...
I assume he was arrested on charges of, ahem, fowl play?
So there you have it! Ten of the best bits of trivia about Hot Fuzz. All great movies have fun facts and stories from their production, but it’s a testament to the talent behind the movie that we’re still discovering things about it, even after a decade.
But what are your favorite parts in Hot Fuzz? Got any other bits of trivia that we missed out on? Head to the comments and let us know!