Road trip to Area 51 uncovers alien named "Paul"

Tue Mar 15, 2011 5:46pm EDT
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By Iain Blair

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The British comedy team of Simon Pegg and Nick Frost earned Hollywood's attention with their ultra-low budget zombie flick, "Shaun of the Dead," and followed that up with hit cop thriller spoof, "Hot Fuzz."

Their new film "Paul," which debuts in theaters on Friday, finds the pair portraying comic book readers on a road-trip tour of America's hottest UFO sites when they meet an alien named Paul (voiced by Seth Rogan), who has escaped from the top secret site Area 51 with government agents in hot pursuit.

They pair recently spoke to Reuters about writing and acting in the film, and how they got Steven Spielberg to join a cast that includes Sigourney Weaver and Justin Bateman.

Q: Is it true this was inspired by awful British weather?

Pegg: "Yeah, we were shooting 'Shaun' and it'd be raining one minute, sunny the next, and we said, 'Let's do a film where the weather's consistent, like the desert,' and we immediately thought of Area 51. That of course led to aliens and the idea of two geeky Brits who find an alien. That was the start of it, and it was like a joke really, but it kept growing and suddenly we'd written a script together.

Frost: "It was the first script we'd actually finished. We'd written sitcoms and other things, but never finished them. And this was very different from our first two films. It had a much bigger budget, real movie stars and expensive visual effects as the alien was obviously going to cost a lot to do."

Q: Did you do much research?

Frost: "We went on an RV (recreational vehicle) trip with a friend from L.A. up to Wyoming and down to Denver, and it was amazing to sit back and see all the incredible scenery. Stuff that happened on the trip got worked into the script."   Continued...