Greg Motolla Discusses The CGI Character At The Heart Of His R-Rated Simon Pegg Comedy

Greg Motolla's Adventureland is to premiere at Sundance, but I'm going to mention it only briefly. Peter's got all of that Sundance stuff sewn up very nicely – indeed, just a couple of days back he posted a new clip from the film. Instead, let's us now get on the topic of Mottola's next film, Paul.

Variety's description of the film's plot is succinct enough – "Story revolves around two British slackers who, after visiting Comic-Con, go on a road trip to Area 51, where they encounter a small alien named Paul, who enlists them to help him find his way home" – though possibly a little shaky.  They meet Paul after their road trip?  Surely not.  Surely he takes the road trip with them?

Said slackers, Graham and Clive, are to be played by Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, who also wrote the screenplay together.

Mottola has been discussing the technical difficulties implicit in bringing his extratrerrestrial lead to the screen and it certainly sounds like he's being suitably ambitious.

"That movie is a far more technically challenging movie than Adventureland was because one of the main characters is a fully non-existent creature. He's basically an alien who may be, let's say, 70% CGI and the big challenge is that he needs to be a very funny, comedic method actor.  It's not the kind of CGI character where we people to say 'Oh wow, look what they did, that's so cool' it's actually the kind of CGI character where we want people to just treat like another actor in the film, and he should be fully believable and multi-faceted and has to give a great performance, he just doesn't exist. We've been doing a lot of test trying to figure out how to pull that one off."

So, the goal is the same as pretty much every filmmaker has ever claimed from Jar Jar Binks to the Na'vi – believable character, depth of performance, all that stuff.  The differences are a) Mottola will be working on a budget and b) his film really will be character driven, through and through. While point a) might work against him, I think point b) is strongly in his favour.

For all of you ratings hounds out there who seem excited by the prospect of R-rated fare, Mottola's final comments on the matter will probably prove rather exciting:

"It's rare that an R-rated comedy would have a CGI Creature right at the centre of it so I'm learning quite a bit."

I'm prepared to bet Nick Frost is warming up now for some of the best swearing of his life.