Did you find the solitary work of writing a book harder than something more collaborative, like comedy?
I did, and I was really bad about it. What I ended up having to do was sit in the office next to my editor and work 9-to-5 for three months. It was like when you don’t do your homework and you have to do it after class with the teacher.
The crux of the book seems to be how you went from being a nerd to being in the types of films you used to watch.
It really hit me when we premiered Paul at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre. That’s where I watched Star Wars, so to premiere my own movie there was a crazy experience for me.
You settled on Nerd Do Well, but were there any other titles you considered? Maybe puns on your name?
Like Off the Pegg.
Or Simon Says.
Oh God, that must have come up at some point. Or Pegged. My name leaves a lot of possibilities.
You talk about waiting in line at Comic-Con to see Carrie Fisher after signing autographs yourself. Does your experience as a fan inform how you treat your own fans?
Oh, absolutely. It entirely informs how I conduct myself with our fans. When I met Carrie Fisher, it was a big deal for me. I love her very much, not just as Princess Leia, but I like her as a person from what I’ve seen. Her writing is very sharp, and she has a great sense of humor. I’m a fan and I wanted to be able to tell her that.
Your ”crush” on her makes a few appearances in the book. Have you ever met her in any other context?
I haven’t. I’m going to send her a copy of the book — the American edition, because it has all the typos fixed from the British version.
Like tire spelled with a y or color with a u?
[Laughs] No, no, that stuff we’re keeping in because it has to stay resolutely British. You know, ”cheerio” and all that.