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article imageSimon Pegg and Nick Frost hilariously help 'Paul' phone home Special

By Earl Dittman     Aug 19, 2011 in Entertainment
In the most unique and science-fiction/alien cinematic hit to hit the screens since E.T., the U.K. comedy team of Simon Pegg and Nick Frost help extraterrestrial Paul find his way back home by heading down the highways of the American Southwest in 'Paul.'
The hysterical comedy Paul (now on Blu-ray/DVD) reunites the British creators of Hot Fuzz and Shaun Of The Dead as two sci-fi geeks on pilgrimage in America's heartland, where they accidentally encounter an alien who sends them on an insane road trip that alters their universe forever. Written by Pegg and Frost and directed by Greg Mottola (Superbad), Paul boasts a star-studded cast that features Seth Rogen as the voice of Paul, Sigourney Weaver, Jason Bateman, Kristen Wiig, Jane Lynch, Bill Hader, Joe Lo Truglio, Jeffrey Tambor and Blythe Danner.
"We have a brilliant American cast for Paul," English writer and actor Nick Frost explains. "We had a giant wish list of people that we wanted to work with and because of Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz and Greg with Superbad that kind of gives you a little calling card which means potentially now people who we really want to work with will maybe get our script and it won't just get to their agent and be binned or shredded. So it's always nice to have a wish list of the best people you can possibly have and we were very lucky to get them and to have an opportunity to work with American us's, so to speak."
Simon Pegg and Nick Frost in  Paul
Simon Pegg and Nick Frost in 'Paul'
Universal
"We ticked off a large portion of that wish list with this film, particularly with Jason Bateman, Bill Hader, Kristen, Joe Lo Truglio and Seth Rogen," adds Simon Pegg, Frost's cinematic partner-in-crime. "I can honestly say that I forget Seth's in the film because I just see Paul now. I genuinely forget that Seth is in the movie. He did such an amazing job with his character. I was coming back from the premiere in London and I was sitting in the car thinking about everybody and thinking how amazing it was that we'd finally got there and had our premiere and I was thinking, 'Who did I miss tonight? Someone wasn't there that I really wanted to see and speak to? Oh, it was Paul,' and he's never existed."
Traveling to New York City earlier this Spring, Pegg and Frost sat down with members of the press to discuss Paul, a unique and hilarious science-fiction comedy road trip and an homage to films like Close Encounters and E.T.
Simon Pegg and Nick Frost in  Paul
Simon Pegg and Nick Frost in 'Paul'
Universal
How does Paul compare to some of the other type alien movies that are out?
SP: "I think of all the alien films that have come out recently, and we do seem to be a part of a zeitgeist of alien cinema, I think that Paul is probably the only one who would pass you a joint rather than shoot you in the head. The others seem to be slightly malignant and Paul is the only one that's benevolent."
If you actually encountered an alien here on earth what would you ask them?
NF: "I would ask them what they eat and how they prepare it."
SP: "He's a keen chef. I would, I guess, enquire about the secrets of interstellar travel. I mean, they'd have to have overcome an extreme hurdle to get here. That's the thing, I think there's definitely life on other planets, that question. There's more chance of their being life than there is not, if you know what I'm saying, but the thing is that we may never meet because of the distances between our worlds are so enormous."
NF: "Maybe he's already here. Maybe he's inside. If the ship landed the doors opened and like a shrimp came out that wouldn't be any weirder than anything written by science fiction."
I read in the press notes that prior to penning the script you actually did a road trip throughout the Southwest U.S. and drew a lot of inspiration from that. Can you encapsulate that trip, experience of it and in what ways did those experiences inspire you?
SP: "It was the single most important thing that we did prior to writing the film, making the trip."
NF: "It's the only thing we did, too."
SP: "Yeah, that's true. We've traveled around America a lot. We've been to a lot of places in America, but always we've gone airport to airport and we've never driven. It's not until you drive that you realize just how enormous and breathtaking and beautiful and scary and lonely and varied and extraordinary this country is. And the fact that it has so many people in it and you can still go an entire day and not see a soul. A lot of what we experienced on the road in terms of some of the people that we met, some of the adventures that we had went straight into the script. The only thing that didn't happen to us on that trip was meeting the alien. We made that up, I confess. But a bird hit the window. We ran into some sort of scary hunter types at The Little Alien."
NF: "We were the only people in The Little Alien before they arrived and we were being quite boisterous like we owned the place and then these two guys walked in who looked to be very serious men with kind of hunting suits on. We got quite quiet and went, 'Come on, lets just go.'"
SP: "An atmosphere descended on the place, and so, yeah, that was important. When I look back on it now I think it's amazing that we actually considered writing the film without doing that."
NF: "Originally, we were going to sit, or I think for the first few hours we sat a little table in the RV and tried to write things and we suddenly became very aware that that was ridiculous. What we needed to do was sit and watch America drift by."
SP: "Look out the window."
Simon Pegg and Nick Frost in  Paul
Simon Pegg and Nick Frost in 'Paul'
Universal
In watching Paul, you realize that there's a lot of road trip in science fiction. Star Wars is a road trip. Star Trek is a road trip. Lost in Space, Fantastic Voyage and I could go on. Would you look at science fiction, that genre, as usually being a road trip movie or having that component somewhere in there?
SP: "I guess that it's a journey into the future itself. The very nature of science fiction is about pioneering into a time that we don't yet know or a technology that we don't yet know. So in that respect it has the momentum of a journey. So, yeah, it is. It's sort of about uncharted territory and that's what the road trip is all about, the sort of voyage of discovery. So in that respect, yeah and it's a metaphor for travel, I guess, science fiction. It's a metaphor for forward movement, forward momentum. For us, it was just about wanting to make Easy Rider and put an alien in it. That was it. The agreement was to make Greg's (Mottola) first film Daytrippers, but instead of Liev Schreiber we'd have E.T."
NF: "Kevin Costner out of Fandango. That's what we wanted to do, I think."
And, of course, shoot the film somewhere that had nice weather since you're from England?
NF: "Yeah."
SP: "But for some reason we went to New Mexico."
NF: "New Mexico has one of the highest incidences of lightning death in the States."
SP: "Although, having said that, we fell in love with that place and we were completely enchanted by Santa Fe and New Mexico. It's a very spiritual place and we kind of ended up being slightly sort of dream catcher-y about it."
Simon Pegg and Nick Frost in  Paul
Simon Pegg and Nick Frost in 'Paul'
Universal
There are so many references in the film. How did you guys go about figuring out what references you were going to put in there, what tributes and were they based on your favorite films and what are those?
SP: "It's more organic than that. We didn't have a checklist of films that we wanted to sort of name. Obviously, we're appealing to our love of Close Encounters and E.T., but we didn't really set out to make any references. It's just that that's our frame of reference culturally. We grew up on cinema and television and is what we sort of defer to for our metaphors in life, those touchstones. So, the cantina band music in the roadhouse was Greg's idea, I think, and it was entirely that thing of, like, we're in a situation where strangers are going into a sort of bar which is a bit unnerving and the first thing that springs to mind is that scene in Star Wars. So we had the Dixie Band play the cantina band music."
NF: "And with Sigourney, as well. I mean, you've got Sigourney Weaver onboard and I think we all three had that conversation, like, 'Well, lets see if we can get it in somewhere where she says, 'Get away from her, you bitch.' She was amazing, but in particular we were up in the ski basin in Santa Fe, the three of us and Blythe (Danner) and Sigourney we're all standing around and Sigourney was giving Blythe a line reading about how to do it, and I think that for all three of us that's one of those moments that you think, 'What an amazing job we've got.'"
SP: "Then Sigourney had started telling a story about how James Cameron had only given her one take at that moment. So that 'Get away from her, you bitch' you've seen in Aliens was the one time that she got to do it because she was like, 'I could've done it differently.' And we were like, 'What?!' That's like the most iconic delivery of a line in cinema history."
NF: "I think as well as us putting references into the script there are also other references that he leaves his lovely imprint and his homage's to (Steven) Spielberg and Duel."
Simon Pegg and Nick Frost in  Paul
Simon Pegg and Nick Frost in 'Paul'
Universal
Simon, are you going to be doing the sequel to Star Trek and can you elaborate on the new Mission Impossible film?
SP: "All I know about Star Trek is that it's being written and they're very happy with how that's going. I think there's a lot of excitement at Bad Robot (Productions) about the forthcoming script, but I know nothing of it and I'm just about to finish Mission Impossible."
Can you comment on how at the end of this film Paul seems to be the most human of all the characters -- he's helping everyone to be better humans?
SP: "Yeah. I mean, the joke of the film is that the least alien person in the movie is the alien. He's kind of the most at ease with himself. He's the most sort of relaxed, the most sort of well adjusted, the smartest guy and he's the alien. Graeme and Clive are the aliens. They're the ones that have come over from a different land into this different world. Ruth is an alien in that she's lived this very cloistered life and suddenly the universe has opened up to her. Everybody is in some way alien and Paul is the catalyst that helps them come to terms with that. We just thought that was a really interesting idea, that our alien hero was actually more human than they were. He's like a cross between E.T. and Bill Hicks."
NF: "I like that."
Simon Pegg and Nick Frost in  Paul
Simon Pegg and Nick Frost in 'Paul'
Universal
Can you guys talk more about yourselves as aliens -- whether in this movie or in real life as Brits -- and how you've coordinated the clash of the British and the American sense of humor?
NF: "There is a percentage of us in Graeme and Clive. Even though we're not the nerdiest, geekiest people in the world, sometimes – we call them normal sometimes – if regular people could hear us it'd really like that thing of, 'What are they saying? What language are they speaking?'"
SP: "We do have big, nerdy elements to our characters and we do love our science fiction and we're not quite as sort of low functioning as Graeme and Clive are at first because they literally live in their own world. But in some respects I think we've taken our experiences in coming over here to America and working and doing our press tours and meeting people over here, we've taken those experiences and put them into Paul. Sometimes it's easier to forget that we're foreigners. We speak the same language and so we just have this kind of natural feeling like we're related or that Britain is an extension of America in some way. It's not. We're different countries and we are foreigners here. Sometimes we feel extremely integrated and sometimes we don't. Sometimes we feel, like, 'God, they really think we're foreign.' I remember when we were in Austin once and we were having breakfast. Nick asked the waiter for some buh'er and the waiter said, 'Pardon me?' Nick said, 'Can I get some buh'er for my toast here?' 'What?' Then Nick had to go, 'Butter.'"
NF: "He's talking about the differences in languages, but tuna, trying to order a piece of tuna or a tuna fish sandwich is like, 'What?' and you actually have to say 'Tuuunna.' There are points where you do go, 'Oh, we're different. We're in a foreign country.'"
Simon Pegg and Nick Frost in  Paul
Simon Pegg and Nick Frost in 'Paul'
Universal
SP: "From that I think we extrapolate the fact that we are very lucky in the United Kingdom because we have this huge annex of potential in America and that we can show our stuff to you because you understand it. There are great movies that come out of France, Sweden, Spain, Germany, Belgium, Finland and Scandinavia that don't really get seen over here because of the subtitles thing and because people are less likely to want to read a film than to watch it. So we have that huge potential whereby our films are considered for the Oscars and they're still foreign films. The King's Speech is a foreign film. It should've been in the Foreign Film category, but it's not and it won the Best Picture, for better or for worse. So we're very lucky in that respect and it enables us to make a film like Paul and share our sense of humor with you and our senses of humor aren't all that different. We find the same things funny. There are tiny differences in the way that we use humor. Socially, I think that British people tend to be a little dryer just because we're a little more ashamed of ourselves than you guys are."
NF: "We're ashamed of our emotions."
SP: "We're ashamed of our emotions and you guys are much more prone to emoting and not being frightened of that. You clap louder. You cheer louder. You cry more. You laugh louder. We're like, 'I'm afraid that everyone you know is dead.' 'Okay.'"
NF: "'Oh, well. Onwards and upwards.'"
SP: "On chat shows here, if you mention like, 'I was going through Idaho the other day,' there's someone who will go, 'Well, yeah! Yeah! I've seen Idaho on a map!' Whereas I'll see Americans on British chat shows and they'll say something and they'll look to the audience like, 'Why aren't they clapping? I just mentioned the place's name.' But it's because we have different approaches to our emotions and I love the openness of America. I'd much prefer to watch a film with an American audience because they're more collaborative."
NF: "When we watched the premiere for Paul there were a couple of beats where we thought, 'Ah, this is going to get a big cheer, a big laugh,' and there was nothing at all. I was sitting next to someone and I said to them, 'America will like it more.' There are certain jokes that are for American audiences primarily."
SP: "So that's the only difference, I think. And you see that in Graeme and Clive in the way that they're sort of response to Paul is very restrained and they learn to open up. Paul teaches them to be not just more human, but kind of more American as well."
Untitled
Universal
Paul Combo Pack Bonus Features: "Between The Lightning Strikes: The Making of Paul" feature; Bloopers; "The Evolution of Paul"; "Simon's Silly Faces"; "Who the Hell is Adam Shadowchild?"; Feature Commentary with Greg Mottola, Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Bill Hader and Nick Park; Photo Galleries, Storyboards and Posters; 8 featurettes including "RV Doorway: The Cast of Paul On-Location," "Runaway Santa Fe: An Interview With Nancy Steiner," "Smithereens," "5th Date Level Direction: The Cast On Director Greg Mottola," "Mexico Zero: The Locations Of Paul," "The Many Pauls," "Paul: The Musical" and "The Traveler Beagle."; BD-Live - watch latest trailers; pocket Blu - Advanced Remote Control, Video Timeline, Mobile-To-Go, Browse Titles and Keyboard.
NOW ON BLU-RAY AND DVD:
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Paramount/Showtime/CBS
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The sexiest, most erotic shows on British primetime comes to a close with it's hot and emotional Final Season. Based on the real-life adventures of a high-class escort, Secret Diary Of A Call Girl stars Billie Piper (Doctor Who) as Belle (real name Hannah Baxter), an independent young woman who works as one of London's premiere escorts. She owns her own beautiful home, has reservations at the finest restaurants and owns the most fabulous wardrobe in town -- all financed by her work, the oldest profession in town. In the Final Season, the tantalizing plot thickens as Belle tries to balance her lurid and sexy career with her elusive and charming personal life. The Final Season finds our heroine in an awkward love triangle and finally forced to decide if she will commit to her boyfriend Ben or leave him forever. But the real choice is: who is she going to be, Hannah and Belle? The Final Season includes all eight seductive episodes. (Only on DVD)
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BBC
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Sony
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Universal
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Vivendi/Nasser
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Tactical Force stars box office action/adventure star Steve Austin (Damage, Hunt To Kill, The Expendables) as a member of an elite police unit with their own rules and who finds itself surrounded by criminals with nowhere to go in this high-octane, hard-hitting action film. From writer/director Adamo P. Cultraro (Bad Ass) and featuring a bold cast of co-stars including Michael Jai White (The Dark Knight, Why Did I Get Married, Too?), Michael Shanks (Stargate SG-1, Stargate Universe), Lexa Doig (Andromeda, Stargate SG-1) and former UFC star Keith Jardine (Crank, High Voltage, Gamer), Tactical Force follows LAPD SWAT team members as they begin a routine training in an abandoned hanger. Yet things spiral dangerously out of control when they find themselves caught in a three-way war with two rival gangs who will kill anyone who gets in their way. Bonus Features: Inside Tactical (featuring Steve Austin, Michael Jai White and Keith Jardine); Fight Sequence and Theatrical Trailer.
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Fox
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Filmed on location in beautiful Vancouver, British Columbia by director Michael Damian (Flicka 2, Moondance Alexander), this touching side story to the global smash hit Marley & Me introduced us to Marley as the lovable pint-sized pup. Now he can speak, and boy, does he have a mind of his own. This is Marley during his naughty, trouble-causing puppy years, as he and his tail-wagging summer pal, Bodi Grogan, cause a frenzy on a neighborhood dog contest. Marley outwits Dobermans, Shepherds Collies, while stealing heats in their own unique and lovable way. Fall into puppy love with "the world's worst dog, who now has a frisky voice and an attitude to match. Marley & Me: The Puppy Years Bonus Features: The featurettes "Marley & Me: The Puppy Years Goes To Training Camp"; "Part Of The Family" and "My Favorite Moments."
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Lionsgate
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Do you feel like spending some time and peace with the Lord? Well, if you happen to be in New Jersey, you can always visit some time with the and Lord and all great he has to given to man by taking a stop at Camp Hope, located deep in the hear of the New Jersey Community. Christian children study the bible and strengthen their faith. Evil and faith collide this terrifying DVD. Starring Jesse Eisenberg, Bruce Davison, Dana Delany and Andrew McCarthy, Camp Hell is based on the true events that has the community rocked by unseen evil. Deep in the woods and far from distraction, the children learn how to serve their maker and the perils tangling with the Devil. Unfortunately, their charismatic leader unknowingly led leads them into the world of evil and the nightmare begins, as each child's body soon becomes possessed by something evil. Bonus Features: Deleted Scenes; Trailer Gallery; Widescreen Presentation; Dolby Digital Audio and Optional Spanish and Spanish Subtitles.
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Universal
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Universal
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