Truth Seekers: Nick Frost Interview

Truth Seekers is a supernatural comedy drama series about a team of part-time paranormal investigators who team up to uncover and film ghost sightings across the UK, sharing their adventures on an online channel for all to see. However, as they stake out haunted churches, underground bunkers and abandoned hospitals with their array of homemade ghost-detecting gizmos, their supernatural experiences grow more frequent, more terrifying and even deadly, as they begin to uncover a conspiracy that could bring about Armageddon for the entire human race. The series stars Nick Frost as Gus, Simon Pegg as Dave, Samson Kayo as Elton, Malcolm McDowell as Richard, Emma D’Arcy as Astrid, and Susan Wokoma as Helen.

Truth seekers launches on Amazon Prime Video on 30 October. Nick Frost tells us more…

Question: Can you take us back to the beginning of the project and how it first came about?

Answer: Well, there’s probably a couple of versions. So, Simon and I used to be ghost-hunters, I would say children, but we were like thirty. And it wasn’t ghost-hunting, it was just getting in his car and driving to High Bean in Essex where there’s an old Saxon Church and just frightening one another, walking around the cemetery at night on our own. I’d always get quite badly injured, I think I suffered two really bad injuries, including knocking myself unconscious and Simon left me because he thought I was mucking about. I think that was partly where it came from. Just normal people, you know, wanting to experience something super-unnormal. And then, the actual nuts and bolts of the show itself came when James Serafinowicz and I – the writer who co-created the show – had an idea of: what if this guy, Gus Roberts, was also, as well as being a satellite field engineer and cable installation expert, tapped into the world of the supernatural.

Question: Obviously, the four of you are writers, how was the writing process done and what sort of influences did you draw on, if any?

Answer: Oh, I don’t know. I think I didn’t want it to be a kind of ‘set them up, knock them down, sitcom’, which I think in hindsight would have been a lot easier. I think Martin Clunes in a car with a ghost is a lot easier than trying to craft some British Stranger Things. I think that’s what I wanted it to be. I think that this is changing but I don’t think we in Britain do that thing very well where we think, let’s do something big. Let’s do something which starts small but becomes really big. I think I wanted to do something which was, in terms of scale, scary and funny, to be funny and to not step over the line… It was kind of difficult. I think we bit off so much. There were times in the writing process where we would just sit and look at one another, and then we’d go home. Or none of us would come in. It was really difficult because when you want to write something complex and it involves science fiction, you have to have an answer for questions people might have. That answer can be sh*t but as long as you have it and you believe in that then the viewers are comforted by that.

Question: You and Simon obviously have your cult following and you guys have been brilliant at marrying humour with horror. How have you gone about crafting the story to get that balance right? It must be quite a tricky balance.

Answer: I don’t think we’ve ever done something like this apart from zombies, although Truth Seekers is similar to old-fashioned 1970s/1980s British horror. A lot of it is shot in the daytime, relying on jumps and things being creepy, houses being creepy and that innate sense of ‘I feel that there’s something weird about this’. There were different types of horror we wanted to go for, some gory, some of it was that weird horror including jumps, old women, a passage way and old hospitals. It was a real job trying to get scares into every episode and to make them work. It’s important for us to not step on them by undercutting them with a punchline. I think it’s allowed to be scary and it stands alone as something which is frightening as long as there is comedy in there in some way. How would you react with your best mate if you saw a ghost? It would be terrifying but your sense of humour Question: You and Simon obviously have your cult following and you guys have been brilliant at marrying humour with horror. How have you gone about crafting the story to get that balance right? It must be quite a tricky balance. Answer: I don’t think we’ve ever done something like this apart from zombies, although Truth Seekers is similar to old-fashioned 1970s/1980s British horror. A lot of it is shot in the daytime, relying on jumps and things being creepy, houses being creepy and that innate sense of ‘I feel that there’s something weird about this’. There were different types of horror we wanted to go for, some gory, some of it was that weird horror including jumps, old women, a passage way and old hospitals. It was a real job trying to get scares into every episode and to make them work. It’s important for us to not step on them by undercutting them with a punchline. I think it’s allowed to be scary and it stands alone as something which is frightening as long as there is comedy in there in some way. How would you react with your best mate if you saw a ghost? It would be terrifying but your sense of humour Question: You and Simon obviously have your cult following and you guys have been brilliant at marrying humour with horror. How have you gone about crafting the story to get that balance right? It must be quite a tricky balance. Answer: I don’t think we’ve ever done something like this apart from zombies, although Truth Seekers is similar to old-fashioned 1970s/1980s British horror. A lot of it is shot in the daytime, relying on jumps and things being creepy, houses being creepy and that innate sense of ‘I feel that there’s something weird about this’. There were different types of horror we wanted to go for, some gory, some of it was that weird horror including jumps, old women, a passage way and old hospitals. It was a real job trying to get scares into every episode and to make them work. It’s important for us to not step on them by undercutting them with a punchline. I think it’s allowed to be scary and it stands alone as something which is frightening as long as there is comedy in there in some way. How would you react with your best mate if you saw a ghost? It would be terrifying but your sense of humour wouldn’t leave you. I think that’s what our ambition was for Truth Seekers but at the same time trying to make something super ambitious and fun.

Question: It must be exciting getting to cherry pick who’s going to play the role that you’ve written and created. I guess there’s an element of pressure more than anything as you want to get it right.

Answer: I think you have to be honest with yourself. I think there were people that we offer things to and they’d pass and you’d think, ‘oh what? Why would you want to pass on it?’ I think starting to be a producer and having a company, I’ve learned a lot in the last two years about this. It’s getting the right people for the right job and it’s not always going to be the first person you offer it to, it is going to be the right person. It’s about the whole package. When I think about casting Truth Seekers, everyone has brought something to their character, and they’ve made them all pop out.

Question: What can audiences expect from Truth Seekers?

Answer: I would like them to enjoy a show about friends, a show about misplaced individuals looking for a truth and enjoy searing comedy and some real scares. I just want people to enjoy it. I know that sounds really stupid, I feel a bit dumb saying it, but I’d just like people to watch it. Obviously because it’s on Prime Video they’re going to drop it all at the same time, but just to see it and binge and say oh god, that was good, let’s put another one on. I think we’ve done this with Truth Seekers but we’ve never watereddown what people liked about Shaun of the Dead. We’ve tried to stick and fit it to be specific, and I think people enjoy being talked to specifically. I think people feel ownership towards a TV show or a book and if people feel it’s for them specifically, they take it away and it stays with them.

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