The makers of “How to Lose Friends & Alienate People” (based on Toby Young’s 2001 best-seller) have a cunning trick up their sleeves. How do you ingratiate an audience with a thoroughly unlikable celebrity journalist who has an off-putting sense of entitlement? Why, just hire Simon Pegg, of course.
It doesn’t hurt to cast Kirsten Dunst as his co-worker and presumptive romantic foil either (sure, Megan Fox is there to tempt him, but do I need to tell you where this story goes?). MTV News caught up with the “Shaun of the Dead” and “Spider-Man” stars to talk about their new comedy, their musical tastes and the future of that Spidey franchise, and to decide once and for all who is the bigger “Star Trek” nerd.
MTV: Simon, between you with Kirsten and Ricky Gervais wooing Téa Leoni in “Ghost Town,” you Brits are taking our American women. I am here to tell you it has to stop.
Kirsten Dunst: Ohhh!
Simon Pegg: I’m sorry. We’re not necessarily good-looking, but we sure as hell are charming.
MTV: After a film like this, do you empathize more with journalists? Do you have any more sympathy or regard for us?
Pegg: No. [Laughs.]
MTV: Would either of you make a good journalist?
Pegg: We’ve both written. [Looks at Dunst.] I wrote a magazine story about you.
Dunst: And I started to write a musical a few years ago and I’m going to get back into writing it.
Pegg: You’re a big “Les Mis” fan, right?
Dunst: Not just “Les Mis,” but that’s one of my favorites!
Pegg: You went to see it in Switzerland!
MTV: And how was the Swiss production?
Dunst: It was sung in German. I didn’t know it would be. But I cried anyway.
MTV: What’s the musical about?
Dunst: “Les Misérables”? You’ve never seen “Les Misérables”?!
MTV: No, I’ve seen “Les Mis.” Your musical.
Dunst: I was worried for a second. I’m not going to tell you.
MTV: Fine. Simon, I heard you played the drums the other night at a party?
Pegg: I did play the drums, with the Guillemots.
MTV: I don’t want to be your manager or anything but …
Pegg: She’s got a beautiful voice. I’m a good drummer …
Dunst: Uh oh!
Pegg: There you go. We could be like the Ting Tings. Another great British
export, thank you.
Dunst: You know we have good people in America too. They’re called the Strokes.
Pegg: I’m not saying there are no good American bands!
Dunst: You were saying that!
Pegg: I’m not. I’m a massive fan of American music. I love Billy Ray Cyrus.
Dunst: You need to listen to some Joe Purdy. Have you ever heard of Bob Dylan?
Pegg: Never heard of him.
MTV: You told us a while back that if Sam Raimi and Tobey Maguire were in for another Spider-Man movie , you would be too. Now it sounds like both are in, so …
Dunst: I’m in. I’m in if they’re in.
MTV: Has anyone told you to block out your schedule?
Dunst: I’m not saying anything. I know there are rumors.
Pegg: Listen, if you do it, put in a word. I’d love to be in a “Spider-Man.” I could play Mary Jane’s brother. He comes into New York and he’s like, “What are you doing hanging out with that web-crawler?”
Dunst: [Laughs.] That would be hilarious.
MTV: What villain do you want to see in the next one?
Pegg: I want to see the Lizard.
Dunst: Maybe you could play the Lizard.
MTV: But he’s already in it — Curt Conners.
Dunst: Oh yeah. What am I talking about?
Pegg: I’d like to see them concentrate on one villain. “Spider-Man 3″ had too many villains, I thought.
MTV: I have not one, but two “Star Trek” veterans here. Simon, you are Scotty, of course, in the upcoming film, but Kirsten, you were on “The Next Generation.”
Dunst: I was! I played Hedril. I had two brains. Two heads are better than one, right?
Pegg: I forgot you were in “Star Trek”!
MTV: I have trivia for each of you to see who knows “Star Trek” better. Simon, Scotty came to the defense of Kirk in “The Trouble With Tribbles” after a Klingon called him what?
Pegg: An over-actor?
MTV: You have disappointed me. A Denebian slime devil.
Dunst: You are a nerd plus plus!
Pegg: I’m going to lose points for not knowing that.
MTV: Kirsten, I made yours easy, since I take it you’re not the …
Dunst: … comic nerd? I mean, I like nerds but …
MTV: Who is the captain of the Enterprise as played by William Shatner?
Dunst: Spock …
Pegg: [Laughs and whispers] Kirk.
Dunst: Captain Kirk!
MTV: She beat you, Simon.
Pegg: You’re a bigger nerd than me.
MTV: Simon, set the record straight. Are you going to be in “Tintin” or not?
Dunst: You would be the perfect Tintin!
Pegg: I can’t. I’m too old to play Tintin. There was some talk between myself and the director [Steven Spielberg] of the film.
Dunst: Live or animation?
Pegg: It’s motion capture. There were some ideas put around, but I really can’t say either way just now.
Dunst: You’d be perfect!
Pegg: They need a 16-year-old boy to play Tintin.
Dunst: Whatever. You can do it.
Pegg: But who doesn’t need a 16-year-old boy these days?
Check out everything we’ve got on “How to Lose Friends & Alienate People.”
For breaking news, celebrity columns, humor and more — updated around the clock — visit MTVMoviesBlog.com.