Writer/director Richard Curtis (screenwriter of Four Weddings and a Funeral, Notting Hill and writer/director of Love Actually) delivers a rip-roaring comedy that delves into the lives of scalawag deejays who captivated a nation. He veers off his usual course with Pirate Radio, a film set in the late ’60s incorporating very few female characters, yet still infused with a genuine storyline and just the right amount of humor.

This fact-based film takes place in Britain, when radio was censored by the BBC (British Broadcasting Company) and played only two hours of rock and pop music for the week. This was in contrast to other countries, like America, that had entire stations dedicated to playing rock and pop.

The UK was producing some of the best music during this era: the Rolling Stones, the Beatles, the Who and the Kinks. The only way to hear all of this significant music was to find the pirate radio stations.

Massive ships were docked in international waters just outside of British jurisdiction. This allowed the stations to freely play all types of music.

These deejays mesmerized Britain and were considered demigods to the 25 million people tuning in.

The film focuses on the lives of a group of rogue rock and roll deejays (Philip Seymour Hoffman, Bill Nighy, Rhys Ifans, Nick Frost) living at sea, willing to play their music at all costs. They comically rebel against the government that was eager to find ways to shut them down.

Richard Curtis speaks with a regal tone, yet is warm and inviting. Hearing his posh accent, it makes it difficult to imagine him on a “dirty old Estonian hospital ship” that served as half of the film’s shooting location.

“I didn’t want to over romanticize the ship and make it too pleasant for the actors or crew,” says Curtis. “It had to have a genuine feel to the boat.”

He begins to chuckle as he remembers that “Emma Thompson did her fair share of vomiting when she rode over on the little boat to the larger docked ship.”

“I remember listening to the pirates on the radio underneath my pillow when I went to bed as a child,” states Curtis, grinning. “At the time, the establishment wasn’t interested in young people, and this was unfortunately the reality.”

He slowly starts to reminisce and says, “I always knew that between making films about falling in love and making films about my children, I would make a film about my first love, which has always been music.”

“All the songs have some kind of emotional meaning, and I wanted to create an atmosphere,” continues Curtis. “Before shooting, one-third of the music was already written into the film, and sometimes you get tracks that you are sure are right for the film, but then when you actually see it, they’re not quite right.”

It was also a process to get the right music for the right scene. The music is such an integral part of the film that it can make or break the movie. Curtis starts to become giddy when thinking about how the songs were chosen for the film.

“It’s quite a marketplace, and there is proper bargaining that goes on. You go back and forth and listen to their offer and decide whether it’s in your budget,” Curtis muses. “If a larger song couldn’t get approved, then that allowed for a lesser known track to come in, which was also exciting.”

The characters truly come to life when all the cast is together. For the writer/director, the deejays are a mixture of memories. Philip Seymour Hoffman’s character is loosely based on a great American DJ named Emperor Rosko. The hilarious Nick Frost plays the wily and passionate Dave, who did quite a bit of research for the part and has the most natural vibe as a deejay.

Each and every character feels authentic and represents a different type of rock music.

“A group of friends has always been a huge interest to me, and I really like to focus on that as well as the story,” states Curtis.

Our generation can take for granted all of the access to great music and artists nowadays. We have the Internet, satellite radio and, of course, our old school radio stations with classic deejays.

“Times have changed, my children would never dream of listening to a record together, but they would watch a film 100 times again over and over. Pause, eat, gossip,” Curtis says thoughtfully.

Overall, Curtis decided to make “a happy film about pop music,” and he did just that!

Pirate Radio releases in theaters Nov. 13.