Which tales of space invaders influenced British comics Nick Frost and Simon Pegg, costars and co-writers of Paul (and previously seen together in Hot Fuzz and Shaun of the Dead)? Here are their picks.
THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL (1951)
”I was 5 when I saw it. The idea of a peace-loving alien that wanted to help us, not conquer us, really affected me,” says Pegg. ”And Gort the robot? So cool. Most sci-fi today is derivative of what’s come before. All we’ve done with Paul is admit to it.”
CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND (1977)
”My auntie was dating an American airman,” Frost recalls. ”One day when I was 11, I was at her house and he said, ‘I have a video.’ It was Close Encounters. It was the first movie that really meant something to me.”
STAR WARS (1977)
”We were exactly the right age to be seismically impacted,” Pegg says. ”I subsequently hoovered up anything with space or aliens in it: Star Trek, This Island Earth, The Thing.” Adds Frost, ”And action figures! I could re-create the experience in my garden!”
”Paul is an amalgamation of almost every pop culture alien you’ve seen before — but especially E.T.,” Pegg notes. ”The bigheaded, big-eyed creature really insinuated itself into our consciousness.” Says Frost, ”I loved how clumsy and awkward E.T. was. He was so vulnerable.”
THE X-FILES (1993 – 2002)
”I was living in a tiny flat with this girl. She moved out, Simon moved in,” Frost says. ”It was just me and Simon, two books, a sofa, and a telly. All we’d do is watch The X-Files.” ”We both had crushes on Gillian Anderson,” Pegg admits.