The British funnyman was working with sidekick Nick Frost on Spielberg’s Tintin movie and during one cast and crew get together, they told the filmmaker how much he’d influenced their new project.
Spielberg wanted to know more and when they revealed all about the plot, he wanted to be a part of the film.
Pegg says, “We talked about Paul with him. I showed him a picture on my phone of us with the alien head bust that we took on our road trip with us and he goes, ‘Wait, what is that?’ I said, ‘We’re making this movie about this alien called Paul who you’ve had a direct hotline to over the years and he gave you the idea for E.T. and Close Encounters, and he’s like, ‘I love that.’
“He started riffing on the idea and he said, ‘Maybe I could be in the film. Maybe I could do like a cameo,’ and we were like, ‘Did you just say that?’
“Then we really started to laugh at the idea of Steven Spielberg literally phoning in a cameo. So I emailed him a little later and I said, ‘You remember that said to us? You did say it because we taped it and legally you’re obliged to go through with it,’ and he’s the coolest guy. He loves making films. He liked the idea.”
The pair has yet to show Spielberg the finish product – but they’re sure the director will like what he sees: “It’s a tribute to him.”
And Pegg admits it was quite nerve-racking having Spielberg on the set: “When Greg (Mottola) had to direct him, he forgot to say ‘Action’. Steven was at the microphone, going, ‘Can I start?'”