Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, the nerd kings of buddy movies, took the time out to have a li’l chit-chat with me concerning the Blu-Ray and DVD release of their latest movie, alien road trip flick and sci-fi homage ‘Paul’. During our discussion we got down to the big, meaningful topics; religion, friendship, Star Wars and how the alien from Close Encounters would be great at retrieving beer.
CraveOnline: Congratulations on the success of Paul, I loved the film.
Simon Pegg: Thank you, we’re very happy with how it’s gone down and it’s everything we kinda hoped it would be.
CraveOnline: It must be an amazing feeling to go from working together in a cult TV series like Spaced 10 years ago, to now finding yourselves working in a Hollywood production of your own creation.
Simon Pegg: It feels amazing, yeah, the irony of that never fails to surprise and delight us. Really it goes back before Spaced, when we were watching back to back episodes of the X-Files in our scabby little bedsit. To go from that to 10 or so years later biting Sigourney Weaver, it’s quite a nice feeling.
CraveOnline: When you got Sigourney Weaver on board I can imagine the fanboy in you both was running rampant.
Nick Frost: Yeah absolutely, every day we went in we had that kind of moment where Sigourney would come on set and, y’know… I think the first day she was in she kind of sat off with her make-up lady and stuff, and then me and Simon were kind of watching her from afar, nudging each other and saying “C’mon, let’s go and sit with her! Let’s see if she’s alright!” but we didn’t really wanna fumble on over and say (gormless voice) “d’you wanna come and sit with us…?” It was amazing. We don’t lose that sense of, y’know, being fanboys and doing this job, if you ever lost that it would mean you’re pretty jaded with the business and you should just go and open a Delhi.
CraveOnline: Was she a big fan of your work?
Nick Frost: Oh, she was a massive fan of ours.
Simon Pegg: She had seen our stuff. I know she was a big fan of Greg’s (Motola, Director). She was a Superbad fan. And, y’know, with an actress like Sigourney Weaver you don’t ask her to read, you just say “have a look at this and if you like it, will you do it?” and so for her to just say yes almost was enough, and later we found out that she enjoyed Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz and that was lovely. It’s funny because you don’t think of people like that going to see films, you think of them living in special glass castles.
Nick Frost: Glastles.
Simon Pegg: They live in Glastles and eat glass ice cream.
CraveOnline: Speaking of fanboyism and nerd culture, Paul itself features a lot of nods to nerd culture, but you still somehow seem to maintain that broad appeal. My girlfriend absolutely loved Paul…
Nick Frost: …and we love your girlfriend…
CraveOnline: …yet a lot of the jokes just flew over her head. Like that Lorenzo’s Oil joke for instance.
Simon Pegg: Yeah, that was an obscure one. The main thing is not to make them the main thrust of the movie. it’s not like every single one of those references can be perceived on a different level so if you don’t get it, it doesn’t really matter because underneath it all there’s always a story and characters and situations that you’re following and you care about, and the references are just a little bonus thing that you can participate with if you wish, and if you can. We’ve never made it the point of it, it’s not like it’s all about the references. The main important story of Paul is the story of Graham and Clive and the adventure they had and the references are just a bit of icing sugar on top.
CraveOnline: I think a lot of the things you do there’s always a core essence of humanity in there, like with Shaun of the Dead there was the romance angle. It means that it can be appreciated in a worldwide audience.
Simon Pegg: Yeah, it’s about the bigger things. It’s about love and friendship and responsibility, and Shaun of the Dead again is about love and friendship, and masculinity. With Paul it’s romance, adventure… it’s the big things.
CraveOnline: Speaking of the big things – I found Paul’s take on religion the most interesting aspect of the film. Do you think atheism will ever have a place in Hollywood, or do you think they’ll always be wary of it?
Simon Pegg: What a question. I think… I dunno. Does religion have a place in Hollywood really? I know it’s a controversial opinion, but I think… I hope it does. I hope it has a place in the universe eventually. It’s terrible that it’s looked upon as being extremely dangerous to actually make light of something like religion.
CraveOnline: Yeah. It leaves itself open for it really.
Simon Pegg: But then there are the core group of people who get all upset…
Nick Frost: …and they’re usually the people that would never go and see the movie anyway and make up their own minds.
CraveOnline: Aside from Paul, which fictional alien character do you think would make the best road trip companion?
Simon Pegg: That’s a nice one. Err… I think probably that one from Close Encounters (of the Third Kind) that comes out with the really long arms and legs, because he’d be able to go the fridge if you wanted a drink. He’d reach to the fridge, pull out a coke and you wouldn’t have to stand up. I’m thinking practically here, Paul.
Nick Frost:I think my answer would probably be the ugly little pug in Men in Black.
CraveOnline: Good one.
Nick Frost:I like dogs, and aliens, and he’s kind of both. And I think with him, unlike a dog where if he’s not feeling very well you say “what’s wrong?”, he can just say “there’s a problem with my nuts!” and you’d say “oh alright then, let’s go the vet”, but as it is now you’re looking at him thinking “what’s happening? What do you want from me?!”
Simon Pegg: Well you chopped his nuts off for starters.
CraveOnline: Nick, your Attack the Block movie is coming out soon (it’s been and gone in the UK, but set for a July 29th release in the US). Alien invasion movies always seem to fare well at the box office. What do you think it is about them that keeps the audience coming back for more?
Nick Frost: I dunno, maybe it’s the thrill of as a species we are no longer alone in a pretty big, empty Universe.
CraveOnline: This is one of various projects that you’ve worked on together now, are there any habits that either of you have that annoy you when you’re on the road?
Simon Pegg: Nick’s always wiping his penis on me.
Nick Frost: All over his eyes.
Simon Pegg: Yeah, my eyes… I didn’t mind it first because I knew he was quite an eccentric guy. No, not really. Making films is just another way of hanging out with each other. Unlike when we were younger and in our 20’s and living in the same place, these days we have lives in different parts of London so making films is actually a chance to get back to that…
Nick Frost: I love getting on the road with this guy.
Simon Pegg: …boyhood, messing around and hanging out. And we’re getting paid for it and doing something we love, which is making films so… I can’t complain, can you?
CraveOnline: Adam Shadowchild, the fictional cult sci-fi writer, is your idol in the film. Who are your Adam Shadowchild’s in reality?
Nick Frost: Tolkien for me, certainly. John Wyndham.
Simon Pegg: I’d agree with John Wyndham, definitely.
Nick Frost: Ray Bradbury. Anyone else?
Simon Pegg: Stephen King I suppose, and err….
Nick Frost: You’re not gonna have bloody J.K. Rowling?
Simon Pegg: Oh yeah, I should give her a tip of the ol’ hat.
CraveOnline: You both recently starred in a re-enactment of a scene from Star Wars: A New Hope in a sketch for College Humor. If you could turn back time and change anything from either the original trilogy or the prequels, what would you change?
Nick Frost: I’d probably get rid of Han Solo.
(Pegg erupts with laughter)
Nick Frost: I just don’t really like him.
CraveOnline: A bit too smug?
Nick Frost: Yeah, plus he’s quite an unenjoyable character. He’s a horrible pirate.
CraveOnline: Yeah, I can remember I grew quite fed up whenever he came onscreen.
Nick Frost: Or the woman.
Simon Pegg: I’d probably just get rid of the useless three and have Attack of the Clones, The Phantom Menace and Revenge of the Sith.
CraveOnline: Thanks very much for your time gentlemen, it was a pleasure speaking to you.
‘PAUL 2 DISC DVD, BLU-RAY TRIPLE PLAY & LIMITED EDITION BLU-RAY RIPLE PLAY STEEL BOOK RELEASED 13 JUNE 2011 FROM UNIVERSAL PICTURES’.
Photo Credit: WENN.com