When in costume, Nick Frost and Simon Pegg often were assumed to be police officers. Many strangers asked them for directions, and instead of telling the truth they went along with it. They claimed it made them feel powerful.
The filming of Angel and Skinner's first meeting at the supermarket was filmed over the course of two days. The conversation was filmed entirely from Timothy Dalton's perspective first. The next day, early in the morning, they were to film the conversation with Angel's perspective and close-ups. Dalton, much to the surprise of the crew, showed up early the next morning, and even though he wasn't going to be on camera for that particular portion of the filming, he sat off-camera in Skinner's chair and played the role so that Simon Pegg would be able to have him to work with while filming his part as Angel. Pegg stated it really showed Dalton's professionalism.
Edgar Wright originally wanted to name the movie "Hott Fuzz". Simon Pegg objected to the suggestion, fearing he would have to explain the additional "t" in "Hott" in every single interview about the film.
At a Q&A session, following a screening of the film in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, Edgar Wright revealed that the film featured disguised cameos by two Oscar winners: Cate Blanchett and Peter Jackson. Jackson appears as the Santa Claus (Father Christmas) who stabs Nick Angel through the hand during the opening montage, and Blanchett appears masked as Angel's ex-girlfriend who is a Scene of Crime Officer (S.O.C.O.), which is the Metropolitan Police's term for an officer who collects and processes forensic evidence at the scene of a crime (roughly analogous to a C.S.I.).
As this is the second part of the unofficial Three Flavors Cornetto Trilogy, the blue wrapper makes its appearance in the film. Nick and Danny are seen eating vanilla flavor ice cream. According to Edgar Wright, blue represents the police, which is the main motif in the film. For Wright's other films, Shaun of The Dead (2004), it was red and strawberry flavor, representing blood and zombies, while the final part, The World's End (2013), it was green and peppermint with chip, representing science fiction and extraterrestrial elements.
The names of the townspeople of Sandford are almost all words for occupations or activities: Cooper, Porter, Turner, Shooter, Prosser, Hatcher, Paver, Butcher, Skinner, Fisher, Walker, Thatcher, Weaver, Roper, Tiller, Reaper, Messenger, Staker, Treacher, Cocker, Blower, Draper, Merchant, Cartwright, Wainwright.
While Nicholas is chasing a shoplifter through the supermarket, Danny is reading the taglines of the cheap action films in the half-price bin. "Supercop (1992), Meet the cop that can't be stopped". When he realizes the chase is on, he throws the DVD back into the bargain bin where we see it land beside a DVD copy of Shaun of the Dead (2004), but called "Zombies Party", the release title of "Shaun of the Dead" in certain countries.
To indicate how behind the times Sandford police station is, the sound of a very old Apple Macintosh start-up tone is heard in the background. This start-up tone hasn't been played by any Mac for more than ten years.
When Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg went to Brixton Police Station hoping to get some anecdotes from serving officers, even offering to take them to the pub, every officer refused to speak to them. The liaison officer had wrongly told the officers that Mr. Wright and Mr. Pegg were journalists. The liaison officer has never been forgiven.
Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright interviewed many real police officers while doing research for the film. Many lines in the film such as "I prefer to think my office is out on the street" came directly from those interviews. The stylized scenes of Nick doing paperwork were inspired by the officers noting that paperwork is a huge part of the job, but it is never depicted in cop shows and films. The visual style was inspired by Tony Scott's films. Roger Ebert's "Bigger" Little Movie Glossary was also used as a reference source.
Before filming the lay-by scene, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost reportedly had an argument. Pegg claimed Frost was getting cocky and making the Assistant Directors get him coffee, whereas Pegg wanted him to get his own. As a result, they took four hours to do that scene, and they didn't talk to each other at all, except when acting.
Somerfield used to be a real UK supermarket chain, and all of the exterior scenes were shot at one of their stores. Edgar Wright chose to use it as he worked there as a shelf-stacker as a teenager, and in a nod to this, he makes a blink-and-miss-it cameo as a shelf-stacker in the Somerfield store.
When Inspector Frank Butterman appears at the town's council after Nick discovers them, his police uniform is a Victorian one (notice the letters VR -Victoria Regina- on his helmet). This details reinforces the idea of Sandford as a town "frozen in time", and their inhabitants reluctant to change.
In the movie, Edgar Wright's hometown of Wells, Somerset, England, doubled as Sandford. The alley down which Nicholas Angel pursues the shoplifter, is where Wright used to walk to school, and where he had his first kiss. The shot, during the chase, where Angel spots the swan, was shot outside the house of one of Wright's friends.
Edgar Wright said that the role of Simon Skinner was written with Timothy Dalton in mind, so they were thrilled when he signed on to play the character. Simon Pegg says that he and Wright shared a thumbs-up when Dalton first played the character in the read-through, as they both knew they'd gotten the perfect person for the part.
Nicholas Angel's service number is 777, this is often seen as the mark of God, just as 666 is seen as the mark of the devil. The only character to call him by that number is Timothy Dalton, who played Agent 007 in The Living Daylights (1987) and Licence to Kill (1989).
While doing research for the film, Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg discovered that a disproportionate number of police officers were named either Nick or Andy, which led to the character names of Nicholas Angel and the two Andys. The Angel part of Nicholas Angel was named after the film's Music Director, and the joke where the local paper misspelled Angel's name as "Angle" was based on several incidences where this happened to him.
According to Edgar Wright, Paddy Considine (Andy Wainwright) snuck two Robert De Niro impressions into the movie, the first, a facial mug in the incident room during Angel's "murder rant", the second, during the final stand-off in the pub.
Just before the climax, two sight gags are visible briefly, an ad for Romeo and Juliet, featuring the replacement actors for Blower and Draper, and a headline from the Sandford Citizen reading "A Fete Worse Than Death" regarding the church picnic (fete).
Bill Bailey plays two different characters in the film. One of the characters reads "Complicity" by Iain Banks, while the other reads two novels by Iain M. Banks. They are in fact all written by the same author (Iain Banks), the "M" simply shows that the books are science-fiction rather than normal fiction. (One of the Iain M. Banks books is "The State Of The Art"). This split is clearly supposed to symbolize differences in the two characters' personalities.
In the script, Frank's wife's name was Iris, but since Jim Broadbent had recently won an Oscar for playing the husband of a woman named Iris in Iris (2001), he thought viewers might see it as a reference to that, so he asked for her name to be changed, to Irene.
Danny (Frost) shoots Dr. Hatcher in the leg with an air rifle. In Shaun Of The Dead (2004), Frost's character Ed is told he shouldn't use the gun, because he shot his sister in the leg with an air rifle.
"N.W.A.", Sandford's Neighborhood Watch Association, is also the name of the seminal rap group "N.W.A.," whose most famous song is "Fuck Tha Police", a sentiment with obvious relevance to the film's plot.
Despite their homespun image, many members of the N.W.A., are actually veterans of the action genre. Paul Freeman was in Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), Stuart Wilson was in Lethal Weapon 3 (1992) and No Escape (1994), and Timothy Dalton played James Bond in The Living Daylights (1987) and Licence to Kill (1989). The head of the N.W.A., Edward Woodward, was voted the greatest British action star for his roles as Secret Agents in the television series Callan (1967) and The Equalizer (1985).
The "gingernut" child at the end of the film is not called Aaron Errand, his name is Aaron A. Aaronson, in a nod to the Andys' earlier "childish" comment about calling everyone in the phone book, starting with Aaron A. Aaronson.
Quite a few actors from Shaun of the Dead (2004) crop up in this movie (for example, Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, and Bill Nighy). Also, they're both directed by Edgar Wright. As well as similar sequences and familiar sights (for example, both films have a pub in them. Cornettos. Wright uses the same rapid zooms and cross-cuts, and the scene where Shaun jumped over a fence and collapsed it, is given a comic spin in this film, where Angel perfectly clears them and even somersaults over one at the end. He even uses a similar line.
When the two detectives Andy Wainwright and Andy Cartwright (Paddy Considine and Rafe Spall) are referred to together, they are called "the Andes," spelled in the captions like the South American mountain range, because of a brief reference to those mountains in the dialogue.
Before Somerfield was chosen to feature in the film, writers originally made a fictional store chain called "Summeraisles" referring to the island in The Wicker Man (1973) also starring Edward Woodward.
When Edgar Wright discovered that Chris Waitt's (Dave's) line needed to be redubbed, Wright did the looping himself, because he was short on time, and it was quicker than scheduling a session with Waitt.
The song that the theatre company sings, at the end of the Romeo and Juliet play, is an Unplugged version of "Lovefool" by The Cardigans, which became popular by Romeo + Juliet (1996), which is the version they are portraying.
The phrase Nick Frost uses, "By the Power of Grayskull...(I Have the Power!)", was made famous by the fictional character He-Man from the animated series He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (1983). The same character portrayed by Dolph Lundgren on film, in 1987.
Simon Skinner (Timothy Dalton), the manager of the local Somerfield supermarket, was partly based on Edgar Wright's old boss Mike Stockwell, who was manager of the same Somerfield supermarket that is used in this film, where Wright used to work. But Wright decided not to name the character after him because he thought 'Stockwell' sounded too much like a punny name for a supermarket manager.
This is the only movie in The Cornetto Trilogy where Simon Pegg's character doesn't fall off a fence. In Shaun of the Dead (2004), Shaun tried jumping over it and it fell once he was on top. In The World's End (2013), Garry jumps on the fence and knocks it over. However, in this film, Nicholas (Simon Pegg) jumps over all of them successfully, and Danny (Nick Frost) knocks the fence down.
There was debate of what age restriction this movie was going to be released, due to the amount of strong language and violence in it. In the U.S., the movie was released with an R-rating, and was released as a "15" in the UK, and most of Europe.
When Danny (Nick Frost) looks through the bargain bin of DVDs, for a split second you can see the DVD for Shaun of the Dead (2004) (the first movie in the cornetto trilogy) with the alternative title "Zombie Party" on it. The price tag covers Simon Pegg's face, to keep from breaking the fourth wall.
During the scene at the castle, Joyce says "Janice Barker has decided to name her twins Roger and Martin." This could be a direct reference to the main characters in the Lethal Weapon franchise, Roger Murtaugh and Martin Riggs. Additionally, Stuart Wilson, who plays Dr. Hatcher, played the primary antagonist, Jack Travis, in Lethal Weapon 3 (1992).
Features four cast members from various Lord of the Rings adaptations. Peter Jackson played Santa (Father Christmas) in the opening montage. Bill Nighy played Sam Gamgee in the BBC Radio broadcast. Cate Blanchett played Galadriel in Peter Jackson's films. Martin Freeman played Bilbo Baggins in Jackson's The Hobbit trilogy.
The place where Angel is going to live is located on "Spencer Hill", which is probably a reference to Bud Spencer and Terence Hill, a comedy movie duo, who featured in many films during the 1970s and 1980s.
Edward Woodward is known for his roles in the television series Callan (1967) and The Equalizer (1985). His characters were both government Agents. Robert McCall, Woodward's character in "The Equalizer" is a former government agent, turned vigilante.
During the church festival scene, members of the Air Cadets (the largest cadet force in the UK) can be seen in the background. Six cadets and two Non-Commissioned Officers from the 1955 (City Of Wells) Squadron featured in the film.
In the scene which Nick chases the shoplifter at the supermarket. If you look carefully, you can see a DVD of Shaun of the Dead (2004), with it's alternate title, "Zombie Party", among the DVDs for sale. It was also directed by Edgar Wright, and starred Simon Pegg and Nick Frost.
In the scene where Nicholas Angel interrogates Skinner in the supermarket, you can see an exact resemblance of Skinner's facial appearance on a picture in the background wall just as he says spool through and smiles.
Timothy Dalton is famous for playing British secret agent James Bond. Anne Reid (Leslie Tiller) starred opposite Daniel Craig, whom succeeded Pierce Brosnan in the role of James Bond, in The Mother (2003).
In the store, when Nicolas is chasing the robber, there is a quick glimpse of the movie Shaun of the Dead (2004), with its alternate title, "Zombie Party", found in the DVD rack. Shaun of the Dead is part of the Cornetto trilogy, of which this film is also a part.
Steve Coogan: Playing a Metropolitan Police Inspector; appears on-screen to speed the transfer of Nicolas Angel out of London, and reappears near the end with Bill Nighy as Metropolitan Chief Inspector, to plead with Angel to return to London.
The trivia items below may give away important plot points.
Timothy Dalton has said this film, particularly the sequence where Skinner and Angel are shooting at each other during the chase, was the most fun he's ever had on a film. Jim Broadbent stated it was a thrill for him to be driving "James Bond" around during that sequence. Simon Pegg also stated the sequence and the fistfight between Angel and Skinner was the same type of thrill for him to shoot, stating it was very much in the front of his mind that he was being shot at, and fighting with "James Bond".
When Timothy Dalton raises his glass to the "memory" of Eve and Martin, Dalton very briefly looks into the camera. Edgar Wright liked it so much he synchronized the sound of a cash register "ching" at the same time.
It's said that a swan can break a person's arm with its wing. At the end of the movie, having been made to crash by the swan in the car, you can see Jim Broadbent's arm in a sling as he's loaded onto the ambulance.
In preparation in writing the script for this film, Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg read a book by film critic Roger Ebert which includes all the clichés from action movies, so they could include them all. They include: having a character wake up in a dark hotel room and flick on the light switch without having to fumble for it (Nicholas Angel does this), having a shot of the median lines on a road from a moving camera (used in the sequence when Angel is driving back to London), and having a genial person in charge, actually being the bad guy (Frank Butterman is the bad guy, and this is the same as the James Cromwell part in L.A. Confidential (1997)). Other clichés were taken from Mad Max (1979), Lethal Weapon (1987), Man on Fire (2004), Bad Boys (1995), and Chinatown (1974).
Throughout the first half of the film, Danny asks Angel several annoying questions, like "Have you ever shot two guns at once while diving through the air?" to which Angel responds "No - you've been watching too many cop movies! The job isn't like that." Then in the second half of the film, every single thing that Danny has asked about, Angel does. He does shoot two guns while leaping through the air, et cetera. The only thing that Nicolas doesn't do is shooting into the air while screaming. Danny does that. Also, when the police crew are in the pub (on Nicholas' first day), the Andys mention that in small towns, everybody carries a firearm, especially farmers and their mothers. Not only are they correct (at least in Sandford), but the first people who shoot at Angel are a farmer and his mum.
On the day of filming the fight between Michael Armstrong (Rory McCann) (one of Skinner's thugs), and Nicholas Angel, Simon Pegg's stunt double broke his collarbone, and Pegg had to do the fight himself, though he had to be pretty careful.
The character of Simon Skinner having a mustache was Timothy Dalton's idea, and was not specifically written for the character. Dalton thought that it would add an extra bit of sleaze to the character, and it hearkened back to his days of playing Prince Barin in Flash Gordon (1980).
When Angel and Butterman are discussing the first four victims, trying to figure out how they might be connected, Angel actually says what the ultimate motive was in each killing. The head of the Drama club was a terrible actor, his young lover had a "distinctive laugh", the reporter was a bad speller, and the rich land developer had an ugly house.
During the climactic confrontation between Sergeant Nicholas Angel and the Sandford citizens, Angel walks in slow motion while surrounded by birds. This is a trademark used by action director John Woo in such films as Mission: Impossible II (2000), Face/Off (1997), and Just Heroes (1989), as well as the action of diving through the air while firing two guns.
Skinner falling and getting his chin impaled on the model of the village church is a nod to a scene from No Escape (1994), in which the chief villain Walter Marek (Stuart Wilson) falls, and is impaled on a spike. Stuart Wilson stars in this film as Dr. Robin Hatcher.
When Angel fights Skinner, manager of the Somerfield supermarket, in the model village, Skinner drops his gun. It is briefly seen crashing into the front entrance of the model Somerfield supermarket. Few shots later, when Skinner attacks with a box cutter, he steps on a model Somerfield delivery-van and slips as it's rolling away.
The role of Simon Skinner (played by Timothy Dalton) comes with a package of classic James Bond villain-sidekicks: a foxy female assistant, a big strong man who attacks on the criminal boss' command. Timothy Dalton played James Bond.
In this film, Edward Woodward plays a conspirator against a naive police officer. In The Wicker Man (1973), he played a naive police officer, who was experiencing a conspiracy against him. In both films, his character meets a fiery end. In The Wicker Man (1973), he is burned alive inside a giant effigy. In this film, he's blown up by a sea mine.
The film bears some plot similarities to Outland (1981), which was a remake of the classic western High Noon (1952). Nicholas Angel is transferred to Sanford and begins investigating the gruesome deaths of members of the community, believed to be accidents, and he begins to believe that the deaths were no accidents, but murders, and uncovers a conspiracy behind it, and discovers Inspector Frank Butterman and other residents of the village are behind it.
There is some foreshadowing at the festival air rifle scene. Dr. Hatcher is accidentally shot by Danny in his foot, and Nick says "He's a doctor, he can deal with it". This happens again later in the film, when Nick returns to Sandford near the start of the climax.
This is the second time Jim Broadbent has played a dodgy cop who eventually gets arrested. The first was in Only Fools and Horses.... (1981) where he played DCI Slater, who got arrested for diamond smuggling.
Near the beginning of the film, Inspector Butterman says that he is "something of a Wild West nut." Near the end of the film, he confronts Nicholas and Danny dual-wielding revolvers, a common trope in Wild West movies.
This is the first time that Olivia Colman (Police Constable Doris Thatcher) played a cop. The second time is in the television series Broadchurch (2013). She played Detective Sergeant Ellie Miller with David Tennant, who played Detective Inspector Alec Hardy. David and Olivia also played in Doctor Who (2005), as the Tenth Doctor and Prisoner Zero respectively, even though they weren't in the same season as Olivia was in Matt Smith (the Eleventh Doctor)'s first main episode.