Profile: Richard Ayoade
Boosh, IT Crowd and Darkplace star directs Joe Dunthorne adap Submarine
12 June 1977, Whipp’s Cross, London
Best known for playing Moss in Graham Linehan’s hit TV comedy The IT Crowd, Ayoade first came to the notice of cult comedy fans as writer, director and co-star of spoof sci-fi series Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace in 2004. As well as featuring in The Mighty Boosh, he’s also directed music videos for Arctic Monkeys, Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Vampire Weekend.
What’s he up to now?
Ayoade has written and directed his first film, Submarine, a darkly funny coming-of-age story adapted from Joe Dunthorne’s novel. It’s a work of sophisticated humour and depth, and a genuinely exciting British debut.
On turning the novel into a film
‘You can’t rely on literary fireworks, so it becomes more about behaviour; watching people and seeing how other people react. There’s no equivalent to a reaction shot in a book, there’s no way of instantaneously juxtaposing two views simultaneously. And films are good at that; they’re basically people just looking at one another! So you have to turn it into that – a series of looks.’
On casting the two young leads
‘Craig [Roberts] and Yasmin [Paige] were great and never felt like they were deliberately playing it like comedians. When you reach my age you just go: “I don’t want to do stuff with people I don’t like.” That’s the main thing: [finding] people you can talk to and enjoy two months of drizzle with. In Wales.’
On film as a key influence in lead character Oliver Tate’s life
‘Film seems to be the one area in the world where no one talks about films. Or, if they do it’s massively postmodern, like Tarantino, or Wes Craven’s Scream. To me it was always weird that film existed as a bizarre ghetto in which no one went to see films, or spoke about films, or behaved in a way that was influenced by films. Because people do, and this character particularly does.’
Ayoade is developing a film based on Dostoevsky novella The Double.
Submarine, general release, Fri 18 Mar.