“The truth is way, way out there.”
Simon Pegg and Nick Frost are back with TRUTH SEEKERS, a new Amazon Prime horror-comedy series that follows a team of paranormal investigators as they hunt ghosts and try to get hits on their YouTube channel. Co-creators Pegg, Frost, James Serafinowicz, and Nat Saunders met with moderator Chris Hewitt on Thursday to discuss their lifelong passion for the paranormal and the best way to combine horror and comedy.
The panel started off with a teaser trailer that showcased a deft combination of eerie supernatural thrills and goofy humor, using the same gravelly voiceover style from Grindhouse’s DON’T trailer. The creators emphasized their quest for authenticity throughout the panel, and their respect for horror history and desire to achieve an old school vibe is evident in the trailer. Saunders said that “the idea was that it was going to be a lot of practical effects over CG. The locations were all going to be real, abandoned, potentially haunted places.” They even used camera lenses that were used on Return of the Jedi and Raiders of the Lost Ark to get “an old feel that you kind of can’t really replicate with cameras now, so there’s something really authentic about it,” according to Serafinowicz. Further proving their commitment to authenticity, Saunders dropped this hilariously troubling tidbit about one of their filming locations: “We were filming a creepy scene that involved a vivisectionist, and then the woman who let us use her property was like, ‘Oh, great because I used to do a lot of vivisections in this place!’”
Hewitt asked about the difficulty of striking a balance between the two genres when creating a horror-comedy, and Pegg answered, “It’s not difficult. I think you just have to not make fun of the horror, you know. It’s tempting with genre fare to kind of parody that, because it’s fairly easy to parody something which asks you to suspend your disbelief. Because you can just sort of fold your arms and go nyah. But I think the key with horror-comedy is to take the horror completely seriously and allow the comedy to exist adjacent to it.”
Frost’s character Gus is a YouTuber who is “really desperate to be taken seriously.” According to Frost, Gus “lost someone very close to him and…his love of the paranormal came from her. And when she died he picked up the reins, so to speak, to see if there was a chance that he could potentially see her or meet her again…if not here then certainly in some other realm.” The other panelists, particularly Pegg, cracked up at this answer, so I’m really curious to see how that plays out in the show.
Pegg plays Dave, Gus’s boss at Smyle, a nefarious global corporation with a suspiciously familiar logo. Pegg said that “the one sort of deal-breaker for me in playing Dave was that I wear a terrible wig that made me look like a mannequin.” Indeed, his wig is without a doubt the scariest and funniest thing in the trailer. He continued cryptically, “There’s reasons for everything in TRUTH SEEKERS, and there’s a truth behind every façade.” Dave doesn’t appear in much of the series, evidently, but it sounds like there’s a great deal more to him than just being the boss at Gus’s day job.
The creators praised the entire cast, which includes the legendary Malcolm McDowell. Saunders said that there are some surprises in store for viewers, promising that “there’s some very oddball characters peppered throughout the series…everyone bought into the spooky, creepy, fun weirdness of the show and brought something special to their part.” Pegg said he and McDowell bonded over Star Trek, and when asked what it was like working with Frost again, Pegg said, “It’s like coming home.” He also shared some anecdotes from his real-life ghost-hunting adventures with Frost: “Nick knocked himself out, and I thought he was messing around so I just left him in the wood…I went back home, I ordered some Chinese.” Two hours later, Frost showed up at Pegg’s door: “I opened the door and he was just there all, like, soaking wet and he went, ‘YOU LEFT ME!’”
TRUTH SEEKERS comes to Amazon Prime later this year.