To celebrate the DVD release of Submarine, we hosted a special screening and Q&A with the film's director.
Star of The IT Crowd and director of Submarine, Richard Ayoade took questions from us, our audience, plus the realms of social media...
LOVEFiLM: Submarine is based on a novel by Joe Dunthorne. How did you come across it and when did you decide to direct it?
Richard Ayoade: It was given to me by Warp Films because Ally Gipps, the associate producer of Submarine, went to college with Joe and they’d optioned it before it was published. Plus I’d done one Arctic Monkeys’ video for Warp.
LF: What was it about the novel that made you want to take it to the big screen?
RA: I really liked Oliver Tate and just thought it was a funny character. I liked the kind of voice that he had and his tone.
LF: You’ve done some directing before, but this is your feature film debut. Was it very different to things you’ve done previously?
RA: The main difference is just the writing; it’s much longer than anything I’d done before. In terms of the actual directing it’s not too dissimilar to other things like doing TV or music videos.
LF: The DVD is coming out now, so what’s it like looking back on it? Are there things you would have kept in or things you wished you’d kept out?
RA: The first 90 minutes I would have probably kicked out (laughter), but, I don’t know. I’ve not sought of revisited it. Once you’ve finished it you try to watch it as little as possible. That’s my coping mechanism.
LF: Ok, we’re going to take some questions from the audience now…
Audience member: How many casting ideas did you have in your head whilst you were writing?
RA: Not that many initially, mainly because I knew the two main characters would be people I hadn’t seen before. Paddy (Considine) I had in mind when I was writing, but other than that no-one really.
Audience member: Was the Alex Turner soundtrack your choice?
RA: No, Initially it was going to be Fleetwood Mac (laughter). I was really pleased to have Alex do it, and he read the book quite a while before so he knew about it probably a year before we finished editing.
LF: People might not be aware that Ben Stiller is an executive producer of the film, how did that happen?
RA: He just read the script really; I don’t really know how it came about. It’s quite odd; he read it and then just sort of became involved somehow.
LF: And was he supportive? What advice did he give you?
RA: He said, ‘give up’ (laughter), and after that he was very lovely. Quite hands off; he lives in L.A so he wasn’t going to come to Swansea.
LF: We asked people to tweet and Facebook questions for you. Some of them are very silly but here we go…
Peter Manuel (Facebook): Do you like mouldy cheese like stilton? What cheese is the best on a cracker?
RA: Well stilton is fine... Cheddar, I like cheddar.
Bryan Wallace (Facebook): Is there any more IT Crowd in the pipeline?
RA: I think Graham (Linehan) is writing at the moment so possibly yeah, but I imagine it may be the last one.
LF: OK, and back to the audience…
Audience: Was it Ben Stiller’s idea to do the cameo and who shot it?
RA: I filmed it, and no it was my idea. He happened to be in London for Wimbledon, that’s what you do when you’re a star; you come over for the Wimbledon final (laughter).
LF: Going back to that writing, if you got the opportunity to direct something that you hadn’t written, would that still appeal to you?
RA: I think it depends on whether you would understand it because essentially you’re just asked a number of questions when you direct something, like ‘do you know what trousers this person should be wearing?’ or ‘should they be wearing trousers at all?’ You know, generally those two questions (laughter). So if you haven’t written it, you tend not to know. It could well be possible, but I would always be nervous that I was doing the writer a disservice.
LF: Have you been surprised by the success of Submarine? It’s had fantastic accolades and lots of people are saying it’s the best British comedy this year…
RA: I didn’t expect any big reviews, you just don’t really think about that, because there are lots of things that are good that have received terrible reviews. I remember Lost Highway had just the worst reviews ever, and that was clearly very wrong.
LF: Were you nervous when it was first shown to an audience?
RA: We’d just finished it and (the first screening) was in Toronto. It was more of just being in an audience watching it, because you have no task, so you just have to sit there, and it’s just excruciating.