Hello. I’m a writer, director, and then sometimes I’m in shows.
My latest film is called The Double, in theaters & on demand May 9, here’s the trailer:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mzw0wEcsfxE
And general info: http://www.magpictures.com/thedouble/
Should we start or something? I don’t know. Ask me anything.
Thanks very much everyone – I have to go now and have a protein shake with Bradley Cooper and if it’s not mixed properly he’ll put me in a choke hold. Hope you’re all well and remember that if The Double doesn’t sell more tickets than Titanic they take away my family and the bottom row of my teeth.
Has Noel Fielding ever dressed you up?
Despite appearances I’m an animate being But yes, every morning.
Hi Richard! Thanks for doing this AMA. I’m just wondering what it was like growing up “triculturally”, with your mother being Norwegian, your father Nigerian, and yourself being raised in Britain. I live in Norway also, and I’d like to know if you have been here before or learned any Norwegian from your mother.
I have been to Norway many many times – my mum lives there now. I was very lucky with my parents – couldn’t have wished for anything more. And I love going to Norway. Shall i say Norway again? sure. Norway. And no problem!
What year do you recall this picture of you, John Oliver and David Mitchell
I’d say it would have to be in the first year I was at university because David was in the 3rd year when John and I arrived. So that must have been 1995? Good gravy.
What was your relationship like with Chris O’dowd on the set of the I.T crowd?
Erotic, intense, salty
ae there any actors out there you wish to work with?
yes – Rick Moranis! I love him.
Hey Richard! Great to see you here. As an actor, what’s your real life IT skills like?
Thanks – terrible, terrible
Hi Richard! Big fan of your work (so far!). A yearly ritual for me and my father is watching the Big Fat Quiz of the Year, and you’re by far our favourite contestant on there. My question is in relation to that show, when the audience, and celebrity counterparts are laughing at a joke you make, how do you maintain such a straight face, without even a smirk. Any secrets?
I think I last laughed in the mid-90s as in there’s something wrong with me
Hey Richard! Would you ever come to New Zealand/Australia on tour?
I’m going to be the new drummer in Led Zeppelin
Any plans to release the radio show you did with Noel Fielding?
Maybe – at some point. I’d like to – it was a good deal of fun to do though – so I’m happy either way.
Are you the same “R.A. was here” written in Sharpie in the men’s toilets at the Eagle Pub in Cambridge? I notice it every time I go there.
I would never deface a toilet. They mean too much to me.
Hi Richard, Firstly, thanks for doing this AMA! I’m a big fan of Submarine and, although I sadly missed the release of The Double, I look forward to when it’s released on disc. As I loved your appearances with the Mighty Boosh, are you planning on working with either Noel or Julian (or both!) in the future? Cheers.
I’d always work with them – it just depends on what comes up – but I’ve really enjoyed doing the shows that they wrote. And thanks!
Hi. Hope all’s well. If you HAD to direct a re-make of any film, what would it be and why?
Robocop. Oh, wait… I’m just being told something
What was the last large budget feature film you enjoyed?
I liked Her – did that have a big budget?
Do you store things in your hair?
will you be working with Noel Fielding again?
Yes! Will briefly be in his new series.
What is more satisfying to you? Acting or directing?
I feel I have more aptitude for directing.
What question are you really hoping someone will ask today?
Did you know you are entitled to compensation for the ACCIDENT you just had?
I recently read Stephen Fry’s autobiography, and in it he says he felt like being in the Footlights was a disadvantage when he started out, because of ‘reverse snobbery.’
As a former Footlights president, do you think having that comedy background gives you an advantage, or does it just mean you have to work harder to prove that you’re not just a posh twit with good connections?
Also, I’m looking forward to Luxury Comedy series 2. City Gent is my favourite character!
I felt lucky in that you’re given the incredible advantage of being able to perform and write for shows that will definitely be put on – mainly because people like Stephen Fry have been in previous Footlights shows – I don’t know – I was there at a time when it wasn’t very fashionable – but I met lots of people who really helped me – I was also able to unleash some of the most unforgivably turgid material that has ever been conceived.
How’s your day going?
It’s okay. Although I was so tired earlier that I bit through my lip and the blood looked black. I blotted at it with a tissue but that made me feel nauseous. I then read Spring Torrents. I liked it.
I read you once practiced law. How did you go about transitioning from that to writing/directing/acting?
I was terrible at law
Mr Ayoade! massive massive fan, I love Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace, and IT Crowd is one of my favourite shows, and I really look forward to seeing The Double. I have 2 questions, the first one is; Was it as funny on set as it was watching when Chris O’Dowd was taking photos of you for the calender on the IT Crowd? and the bands you have directed music videos for, are you a genuine fan? because by chance they happen to be some of my all time favourite bands. If you reply to this it will make my life complete.
I’ve been lucky in that I’ve always like the bands that I’ve done music videos for.
Hi Richard! How was directing the ‘Critical Film Studies’ episode of Community? Are you a fan of the show? One of my favourite episodes, by the way. Thanks! P.S The Double was great. Everybody go see it if you have the chance!
I am a fan of the show – so it was a real pleasure – I really like Dan Harmon and the cast – it was very interesting to do. Thanks
How do you keep your hair so fabulous?
I use the juice from between airplane seats.
If they made a movie about your life, who would play you (other than yourself)?
It wouldn’t matter because no one would watch that movie.
You recently met Paul Thomas Anderson – what was that like? Did he share any Pynchon-related anecdotes? Did you get a sneak preview of Inherent Vice?
He was TERRIFIC
Who is the funniest person in the world?
Richard Pryor was.
what would you do or say if you met your own double?
Well, if you do, you’re meant to die. So I’d probably say, ‘Oh dear.’ And then apologise.
What would you say are your biggest influences?
It’s hard to say – but directors I really, really like include Orson Welles Ingmar Bergman Fellini Wes, Pt, and Roy Anders(s)on John Ford Preston Sturges Barbara Albert
Were there some concrete philosophical stands or even schools you had on mind when making The Double?
Carl Jung’s idea of the shadow!
How deep is the ocean?
6 miles, sometimes 7
What operating system are you using?
The thing is – I don’t even know. I don’t know how any of this works – I don’t even know how this thing we’re doing now works – what are YOU all doing? Do YOU know how it works – please tell me! As in is this currently the thing it’s meant to be? Thanks in advance for your kind cooperation
Hello, it’s great to see you on here! I just had a question about the Boosh. Do you think that there will ever be a new series/the ever talked about movie? Or do you think that ship has already sailed? Thanks for stopping by!
There might be – but that would be down to Noel and Julian
do you have any tips on set control? like controlling crew and actors?
Hi Richard! Submarine was quite pronounced in its French New Wave influences throughout the film – where exactly did your inspiration for this come from?
It felt that the film should look as though Oliver had directed it, and that the film of his life would have a romantic, wind-swept new wave feel
In the interview you did with Jesse Eisenberg for Total Film, when they asked about the Batman/Superman movie, did you already know Jesse had been cast in it? Either way, it’s funny to watch now. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MHPJ2fTKLNE for reference
I didn’t – but I knew that they were interested in him for something
Hi, do you believe that you’re being typecast after you’ve played Moss in The IT Crowd?
I don’t know – I don’t really do too much performing – I feel surprised if anyone wants to hire me.
What is your favorite tea? My wife is very interested in the answer to this for some reason.
Assam – which I always want to spell Assaam for some reason
what is your writing process like? do you plan out methodically or do you jump straight in?
Well – it really depends. With an adaptation you have something to work from – you always have your first impression of it and what you think it could be wrt a film – so you would break down the novel – decide what you think might stay in a film etc – and then you start to go through it. But it takes a long time and you might now always go in a linear order. On other things it can be haphazard and jumbled. In general it seems to improve the more you do it – and Graham Linehan said to me that your first draft is always terrible so don’t worry about it.
How many hairstyles did you go through before you settled on Moss’s unique do?
will you be working with Jesse Eisenberg again?
I’d like to!
Can I just say, your hair is pretty cool, may I ask if you use any particular products to achieve that epic fro…?
what part of Moss was chosen by you? (look, tone of voice, walk)
The face was essentially brokered by my parents. There was nothing I could really do about that. The walk and voice are mine, I suppose. They now play that performance on day one of Stella Adler.
Does your ear ever actually get hot? (Mine does :<)
If it’s left out in the sun
Are you currently wearing woman’s slacks?
I’m wearing a cape and speedos
will you ever be acting in one of your written/directed films?
I can’t imagine being able to source an actor who was better than me. So if I ever am in one of my films you’ll know we ran out of money, or there’s a strike on.
What did you think about Jesse Eisenberg’s casting as Lex Luthor?
I think they made a good choice!
do you have any screenwriting advice?
Paul Schrader said you need a metaphor and a theme – that’s pretty good advice.
Hello Richard Ayoade! 🙂 I hope you are having a wonderful day! Firstly I would like to say that I love your work in both acting and directing. Submarine is my favorite movie,IT Crowd is legendary, Garth Meranghi’s Darkplace is amazing, your wittiness on Big Fat Quiz keep me laughing for the whole day and all get me through a bad day 🙂 Secondly I would like to ask which do you enjoy doing more acting or directing? Also what are your top 5 favorite books? Thank you so much for doing this AMA! 😀
I think I like directing and writing most In terms of books – that’s a hard question – so I’ll just write authors I like if that’s ok Richard Yates JD Salinger Flannery O’Connor Sherwood Anderson
What’s some of your favorite music? Love all your work, so surprising to see that you’re as brilliant behind the camera as in front of it. Looking forward to The Double.
Dinosaur Jr Sidney Bechet The Clash Pixies Beatles Sonic Youth
Hey, Richard! I really enjoyed your movie, Submarine. If I came up with a question, it would be contrived. I mostly just want acknowledgment that you’ve read this and know how big of a fan I am.
You’re very kind!
Hey Richard, I was wondering, what did you prefer being on most, The IT Crowd or The Mighty Boosh? Edit: Also, what was more fun making? I would also like to know if you will be considering doing something like Bunny and The Bull again (my favourite movie)?
I liked both! The Boosh is much more of an improvisational show, so that’s enjoyable – because they’re both so good at doing that it’s great to be near it. My friend Paul Kind directed Bunny and the Bull – I’ll tell him – he’ll be very pleased!
Richard do you get to keep the gadgets from Gadget Man? Also what projects to do you have coming up that we should look forward to?
Thanks! No! The bastards won’t let me!
The internet is a fun but scary place, so congratulations on making it this far and for joining the Twitter universe (I refuse to say Twitterverse) as well. Oh, and reddit, of course. I have a few questions, so feel free to exercise your free will and answer as many or as few as you like:
- What was your introduction to Dostoyevsky, and what drew you to “The Double” in particular?
- Any plans, or at least desire, to direct more television in the US?
- Do women’s trousers instill the amount of confidence that Douglas Reynholm and Maurice Moss claim?
- Have you spoken to Alex Turner since he discovered pomade? I quite enjoy that kid.
Thanks for your time. Dean Learner is my hero, so I suppose vicariously you are too. All the best. – Rachel
- It was Avi Korine’s idea to adapt it so the first thing was reading his script and then I read the novella before I started writing with him
- Who knows? Nothing immediate.
Hi Richard! I’m a big fan of yours and love watching any show with you in it. Will you be in series 2 of Noel Fielding’s Luxury Comedy?
Have you ever done any Stand Up Comedy shows?
I did, but I was a truly poor stand up – no character, no perspective, no originality. An unarguable disaster.
The trailer for The Double reminded me in tone of Brazil, The City of Lost Children or Delicatessen (or other 80’s/90’s arthouse dystopia). Were there particular films or directors you looked at when developing the look and feel of the movie?
Wierdly I didn’t watch any of those before – and have only seen Brazil of those three (as a teenager) We thought more of Ingmar Bergman’s The Silence Jacques Tati Kaurismaki The Trial
Richard, First, finish your milk.
- During your time on The IT Crowd, what memory of Chris, Katherine, Matt, and/or Noel is your favourite?
- What are your opinions on the final episode?
- You seem quite knowledgeable on Board game culture, Do you have any favourites that you enjoy playing?
Thank you for your work–both acting and directing. Looking forward to hearing from you!
After the show finished, Graham used a special swab to wipe all of our memories clean, and then he released us back into a glade
Do you have any plans to direct an original movie soon?
Maybe – it’s hard to know whether you’ll ever get the chance to make anything again – it really depends on how things go. But I am writing some things now that aren’t adaptations. So many of my favourite films are adaptations that it never feels like a question that I’m unduly bothered by.
Where is the strangest place that somebody has recognized you?
Inside a nuclear reactor.
Have you seen ‘Naked Lunch’ and what do you think of David Cronenberg in general? Huge fan by the way, thanks for doing this!
I haven’t seen it but I like Cronenberg – he actually gave me some very useful advice before shooting the Double so I feel very grateful to him.
Hi Mr. Ayoado huge fan (obviously) Can I ask; do you have any directorial advice? thanks :~)
Thanks very much – try not to get too nervous and defensive and keep in mind what you think the whole thing is about. I’d say read the Hitchcock Truffaut book if you haven’t already
If you had to be any character from Game of Thrones, why would you pick Hodor?
I have never seen this show.
What was it like to work with Dr.Fox?
how do you like your cups of tea.. seriously
with lemon – it has to be above boiling point
What’s your favorite tv show?
Tricky. I like Twin Peaks and Grand Designs. Too close to call.
What hobbies do you enjoy during your downtime?
I do a lot of breakdancing.
As an actor, what movie do you think you’d be most out of place in?
You’ve worked with many big names in comedy: Chris Morris, Graham Linehan, Noel Fielding, John Oliver, David Mitchell, Chris O’Dowd. Who has been your favourite to work with?
I like all of them!
was it nervous on set as the director for the first time?
Hi Richard, I caught a screening of the double over Easter as I too hail from the UK and I loved it. I won’t share any spoilers asking about any specific parts so my question is: are there any other actors from the UK that you would like to collaborate with e.g. Simon Pegg, bill nighy, or Hugh Laurie? Finally, you were so great with graham norton, you should have your own segment!
Hi – thanks very much. I really like all the actors who were in Submarine – so would like to work with them again. Also Eddie Marsan is great. I would like to work with him.
What is Ben Stiller like?
Hi, Richard! Big fan of “Submarine” here, haven’t seen “The Double” yet, but planning on watching it soon.
My question is: you’ve made two book adaptations so far, bringing to each something of your own. What are some other movie adaptations that you enjoy? And what books would you ideally like to adapt into movies?
Thanks – I don’t have any immediate plans to adapt something else – in terms of adaptations Zazie Dans Le Metro Most Kubrick films Most Hitchcock films I thought The Graduate was a pretty great adaptation.
did you have to extensively plan out the direction on the double for the “two” leads?
We planned, but we always wanted to make sure that we weren’t restricting Jesse or any of the actors – so we didn’t want any shot to look like it would only have been shot like that because it would make the effect easier if that makes sense. So we would try to shoot it exactly like we would shoot it if there really were two characters, no matter how hard it made it for us technically.
Whos your favorite director?
Maybe Ingmar Bergman – but it’s hard to say
Do you use products in your hair?
I use a lot of rock salt. And talc. Plenty of talc.
Any advice for those who are thinking of going into the film industry?
You have to really be sure that you’re interested in the thing you’re doing, because everything else isn’t so important but takes up most of your time.
Hey, having recently discovered the unaired pilot for the US version of the IT Crowd, were there any plans for it to go the way of The Office, being expanded into something much bigger than the original, and are you particularly disappointed that it didn’t get picked up?
Statistically, the chances of any pilot happening are so low that I wasn’t really expecting it to go forward…
Do you like chocolate milk?
I prefer Strawberry. But I fear my flavoured milk days are consigned to my reckless youth. Now I’m in america I only eat compressed Kale.
If you were the man in charge. Which country would you invade?
Why do you always dress up for your panel shows? You’re the funniest one, and now you’re the best dressed?
I like to not be naked in public.
what is next for you?
I’ve written a book – so that should be out at some point.