The science-fiction comedy film, Paul, focuses on a road trip with a difference – after an alien takes two geeky friends on the adventure of a lifetime. As two British sci-fi fans embark on a journey to an American comic book festival, little do they know they’re about to meet a wise-cracking alien with a taste for alcohol and cigarettes.
The 2011 film reunites Simon Pegg and Nick Frost (best known for Hot Fuzz and Shaun of the Dead) as the nerdy Graeme Willy and Clive Gollings, who save up to attend the annual San Diego Comic-Con International.
The duo are also planning to take a road trip through south-west America to visit significant UFO sites where extra-terrestrial crafts have been spotted. However, their plans take an unexpected turn when they are travelling late at night on a remote desert highway.
Already stressed out after a tense situation in a diner full of rednecks, the duo see a car being driven erratically. Suddenly, it crashes, so they rush over to help – only to discover the driver is a wise-cracking alien called Paul!
It turns out he has been living at a top-secret military base for the past 60 years, but has escaped in the stolen car. Federal agents are in hot pursuit of the escaped alien, so Graeme (Pegg) offers to help him. Clive (Frost) faints and ends up lying down unconscious in their rented RV motorhome.
Meanwhile, Paul, voiced by Seth Rogen, sits up front, chatting to Graeme, who finds their new alien companion witty, interesting and not at all scary. Driving through the night, Graeme and Paul are chatting about their favourite foods, as Paul casually eats pistachio nuts out of a cardboard cup!
Suddenly, Clive freaks out, having awoken suddenly and spotted the alien’s bulbous head peeking over the passenger seat. He lunges out of the darkness and attempts to throttle Paul from behind, presuming Graeme is being forced to drive against his will!
Graeme struggles to remain in control as he drives the massive RV, while total chaos ensues next to him, with Clive shaking Paul like a rag doll and the alien trying to fend him off. Graeme is shouting that Paul is okay, but Clive is in such a panic, he can’t seem to stop!
Eventually, Graeme persuades Clive that Paul is friendly and he lets go of the alien’s throat. Paul quips sarcastically, “Was that Klingon?” (in reference to Star Trek), as Clive burbles on, still in a state of shock.
What started out as a quiet and totally geeky road trip around UFO sites is suddenly turned on its head with the addition of the real-life alien, especially since the FBI is trying to recapture him. Graeme and Clive hatch a bumbling plan to try and take Paul back to his mother ship.
They stop off at an RV park run by Christian fundamentalists, while they try to work out their plan of action. Throughout the film, they are playing cat and mouse with FBI Special Agent Zoil (Jason Bateman) and his inept sidekicks, Agent Haggard (Bill Hader) and Agent O’Reilly (Joe Lo Truglio).
Will they manage to stay one step ahead of the special agents and take Paul to safety in their trusty motorhome, or will the FBI recapture the alien and make him spend his life in captivity?
Written by Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, the film grossed $98 million at the box office worldwide. They said they had the idea for Paul in 2003, while filming Shaun of the Dead. Paul was made on a budget of around $40 million and much of the filming took place on the road in the RV, including 50 days in the New Mexico desert.
The character of Paul was created by computer generated imagery, with Seth Rogen completing some motion capture during preproduction and voice work during postproduction.
Receiving generally positive reviews from the critics, the film’s world premiere was held in London on 7th February 2011. It was called a “road trip comedy with an intergalactic twist”.
If you’re planning a road trip, Driveline provides a range of vehicles for hire for every occasion. Our modern motorhomes are ideal for getting away from it all with family and friends – sadly, Paul will not be able to join you!
Please contact us for further information on our range of affordable hire options.