Paul Q&A Simon Pegg and Nick Frost on their alien road-trip
One of the great things is that incredible cast. Simon: We wanted a shit cast! No, it just kept getting better and better. Someone would get suggested and then they'd say yes. Also people like Kristen who I'd seen stealing scenes, and then...
Nick: She stole our hearts
Simon: She's such a funny person and made that character your own. And then John Carroll Lynch from Fargo and Blythe Danner and Sigourney, around whom we were just giggly kids.
Nick: Before we cast her, Greg and I had lunch and I remember sitting them just watching her eat a salad. Not even with a loader.
Where did the idea come from? This was during Shaun? Nick: Like a lot of our ideas, it came out of bullshit. We were throwing records, and we had to stop because it was raining for hours. NIra, our producer, watned to make a film somewhere hot, and that turned into a desert, into Area 51, into aliens.
Simon: I drew a picture of him giving the finger and seven years later we made it - in a State where it rains more than England. Hailstones like fuckin' golfballs!
Nick: Where I stayed there was this beautiful garden they'd just finished and there was a hailstorm and next thing you knew it looked destroyed.
So you went around in an RV? Nick: They said that there was money if we wanted to go, so we basically did the same trip that these guys did.
Simon: It was invaluable, because writing about America was so important to write about. Those two beefcake guys who Paul, in the trailer, offers to prove, that sort of happened. And it was so cold that our shampoo froze one night. We went to this alien cafe which was a nerd's paradise, and these two guys walked in in hunter gear and the atmosphere just changed, and we got scared and left. But just the minutiae of America is just crazy, that you can go with hundreds of miles without seeing a soul. I think that trip made it more authentic.
Nick: Also, we planned our route on a map and we'd merrily guess how far we could go - we had to change our tickets back.
Now that Edgar's finished Pilgrim and you've finished Paul, are you going to do a third Cornetto? Simon: Yes, it's always been the plan. I think we underestimated how much work both those movies were going to take. But Edgar and me have been talking about getting together as soon as we can, after we've had a break. We learned lessons after Hot Fuzz and Shaun about writing - not watching DVDs but actually writing - so hopefully it'll be quicker this time.
What about Star Trek and Mission Impossible? Simon: I hope we can do it. Those two are deep in my affections, but my heart is always with Edgar and this guy! But my wallet's with Hollywood...
Simon, what can you tell us about M:I IV? Simon: Nothing
You mentioned more time working on the script. How does the collaboration work? Simon: For Nick and I it was a different dynamic to me and Edgar.
Nick: We did watch a lot of films. We'd write one good joke and then go home. I'd tell my wife that it has to be organic! You can't force it!
Simon: Sometimes we'd get an idea and go home. The day Nick came up with the name Lorenzo Zoil, Jason Bateman's character, we just knocked off and went home because how can you do better than that?
Nick: There's another called Ben Zwilly.
Can you tell us anything about Star Trek 2? Also, what's happening with the ghost in your attic? Simon: I saw Damon Lindeloff at a picnic in Hampstead, and I grilled him about it. He's less secretive than JJ, who's a locked box and won't tell you a damn thing. He was going back to start work on the script with Alex and Rob. As news comes in, I'll spoil it. As for the ghost, my sister and Nick and I engaged in a real-time twitter play for three days about it.
(Nick is offended he wasn't invited to the picnic)
Would you like to do more drama?
Nick: I'd like us to play enemies. That'd be interesting.
What was it like working with Spielberg on Tintin? Nick: I can't talk for Simon..."
Simon: You can.
Nick: It was an amazing thing to do. We'd go on set when we weren't working just to listen to him telling stories about Close Encounters and then we'd go away and dance! He called us his boys by the end!
Simon: He has this innate... I see it in Edgar too, the idea that they know something about how to to make people feel by moving a camera around. He's just an amazing guy. There was one day where he demonstrated to Andy Serkis how he should beat me up. He was shaking me and beating me against the floor and I was just laughing because it was Steven Spielberg. There was one day where we had to sort of dance around each other and it went really well, and he danced on set and said, That's in the movie! That's in the movie! which is what he'd say when something was good. And I don't think I could have smiled anymore.
Nick: One time he and I went on a lovely picnic.
Simon: One time we came out in our silly suits and he was having lunch with Clint Eastwood, and we just (goes incoherent).
Paul is sort of a love letter to Spielberg... Nick: And Gillian Anderson.
Simon: There is an idea that Paul's been here a long time and has inspired a lot of those films, which is why he looks like such a traditional alien. The idea originally was to have a totally CG character in a very indie film, but he also pulled out this great sense of Spielbergian excitement. We told Steven Spielberg about the idea when we were on set, and he loved it, which was a great compliment.