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When pirates ruled airwaves

Bill Nighy doesn’t believe in the ’60s. Not literally, of course.

Bill Nighy doesn’t believe in the ’60s. Not literally, of course.

Born in 1949, the popular actor who’s starred in everything from Underworld to Pirates of the Caribbean spent his youth in the prominent decade. But a nostalgic hippy, he’s definitely not.

“I don’t have a particular nostalgia for that era,” said Nighy during a recent interview in L.A. “I don’t like the phenomenon of people my age telling younger people that it was better to be young then because it wasn’t.

“It was just like always – some of it was good, some of it was bad. There were some dreadful trousers and there were some good trousers.”

Nighy may not be terribly sentimental about his youth but perhaps that’s because he’d rather look to the future — specifically to next week’s release of Pirate Radio, a ’60s-set ensemble comedy that tells the true story about a group of British deejays who get around the government’s ban on rock ’n’ roll by broadcasting from boats harboured in the North Sea.

Directed by skillful filmmaker Richard Curtis (Love Actually), the film harkens back to the wistful era when men wore thick sideburns and radio rocked with bands like The Troggs.

The comedy recalls the tone of Robert Altman’s earlier works so it wasn’t surprising to find out Curtis gathered his cast to watch Altman’s 1970 hit M*A*S*H prior to filming — a bonding experience that wasn’t universally appreciated.

“I didn’t finish. I watched about 40 minutes and I said to Richard, ‘I’m going to bed,’” laughed co-star Nick Frost (Shaun of the Dead). “Sometimes on a brand new television and you watch a film, it looks ungraded and flat. That’s what was happening on M*A*S*H and I couldn’t get past it.”

Even with Frost’s lack of participation, Curtis definitely succeeded in creating a unique bond amongst an ensemble that also includes Philip Seymour Hoffman. It shouldn’t be shocking since the director appears universally loved by his cast.

“Richard is a believer,” said Nighy, who also starred in Love Actually. “He doesn’t make romantic comedies because he thinks it will manipulate the money out of your wallet, he does it because he wants to spread the word … he’s also got a wicked sense of humour and is incredibly bright so I think that probably helps too.”

 
 
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