Paul, Simon Pegg‘s newest movie about a pair of pair of sci-fi fans (Pegg and Nick Frost) headed to Comic-Con, contains plenty of references to other sci-fi franchises, including Star Trek.
The references are sure to please science fiction fans, but Pegg is also aware that trying to please everyone is a futile effort which often results in an inferior movie. “The trouble is that a lot of the time people try to just blanket appeal to everyone,” said Pegg, “and in doing so, the material just gets dumber and broader and things end up being bland because it’s obviously a desperate attempt to please everyone.”
References to Star Trek include nods to both the original series and later Trek. “You can’t show Comic-Con and not have a Star Trek reference because that would be foolish,” said Pegg. “I didn’t want to be self-reflexive, but I also knew you couldn’t have Comic-Con and not see something to do with Star Trek because Star Trek is one of the most pervasive science fiction mythologies – if not the most pervasive – out there. Obviously, we’ve got a few references in the film. At the beginning of it, though, we had the Borg, not Orcs, knocking us out of the way, and we changed it to Orcs because we didn’t want to have one too many Star Trek references. But there’s a Gorn mask in there, and I think we wrote that up without even realizing that I was involved in Star Trek. We thought, ‘Oh, shit, this looks like a sly nod,’ which it isn’t, really. They stop by Vazquez Rocks on the way to Nevada and act out their favorite scene from TOS. That’s more to do with the plot – I hope – than it is to do with my involvement in the contemporary version of Star Trek.”
Steven Spielberg has a vocal cameo in Paul. “Paul, in the movie, had been on Earth for a while and his presence on Earth has affected popular culture by a slow process of osmosis,” said Pegg. “The public have been led to become familiar with Paul as a way of familiarizing themselves with him in case they ever decide to give him a debut. And so Paul has had this direct line to Steven Spielberg over the years and given him lots of ideas …like E.T. and Close Encounters. So there’s a little scene where he’s on the phone with Steven, giving Steven the idea for E.T.‘s glowing finger. It was totally Steven’s idea. He said, “Maybe I can do a little vocal cameo and Paul can call me up.” And were like, ‘What?!’ He said, ‘Imagine that Paul’s on the phone to me and he’s giving me ideas for a film.’ I said, ‘Can you just repeat that into a tape recorder, please, with the words ‘legal binding’ on it?’ And he did it. He came in on his own to this recording one morning in Los Angeles. He had a cap on and he read his lines with Seth, and it’s in the movie.”
Paul releases in the U.S. on March 18.