How Virgin's Jane Lynch brings her own brand of funny to sci-fi spoof Paul

After sending up the traditions of zombie movies in Shaun of the Dead and cop movies in Hot Fuzz, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost are about to make use of all their sci-fi movie knowledge in Paul, an alien satire they wrote and star in.

Directed by Greg Mottola, Paul centers on their characters, two comic-book geeks who go on a road trip to visit famous sites from sci-fi lore, in the course of which they encounter co-star Jane Lynch.

"They're sci-fi geeks who go on this kind of alien trail that's in Nevada," Lynch said in a group interview last week on June 26 in Santa Monica, Calif., where she was promoting the comedy Post Grad. "I play the owner of a restaurant called the Ali'Inn. It's filled with paraphernalia and everything."

Ali'Inn is Lynch's suggested spelling of the establishment. We suggested Ali-INN. "I think there's an apostrophe. Maybe you're right with the dash."

Anyway, the boys get into some trouble at the Ali'Inn, and Lynch's character gets to save the day. "They stop at this place, and they almost get beat up by these rednecks and I kind of come to their aid," she said.

Lynch is perhaps best known for her hilarious roles in Christopher Guest ensemble comedies such as Best in Show and as the randy store manager in The 40-Year-Old Virgin. She fits in with Pegg and Frost's ensemble crew equally well.

"They're the nicest guys," Lynch said. "What I found, too, is ensemble people and comedy people, they're just nice people. You can't really be a d--k. You really can't. You can't do what we do and be a jerk."

Other ensembles in which Lynch has participated liked to improvise, but Paul was about sticking to the script, she said. "We were on the page," she said. "It was really written well. You don't need to [improv]. It'd just be mucking things up." Paul opens in 2010.

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