NEW YORK — Richard Ayoade, Ben Stiller and Arctic Monkey’s Alex Turner met the press Monday in lower Manhattan to discuss the upcoming release of Submarine, Ayoade’s directorial adaptation of the novel by Joe Dunthorne.
Submarine tells the coming-of-age story of 15-year-old Oliver Tate who is on two distinct missions: to save his parents’ dwindling marriage and to win the favor of classmate Jordana, the girl with whom he hopes to lose his virginity.
Writer and director Richard Ayoade explained his affinity for French New Wave and stories focusing on the transition from childhood to adulthood, citing such works as “The Catcher in the Rye” and Harold & Maude. But insofar as inspiration for directing Submarine, Ayoade conjured Scorsese’s Taxi Driver, whose main character, like Oliver Tate, has a knack for an “internal and uninflected voice-over…[that] is always seeing the least important thing.” It is, in fact, the significance of the voice-over aspect of the story that informed Ayoade’s choice of Craig Roberts to play Oliver Tate, stating that Roberts’ voice added necessary depth to the “idiosyncratic language” of the character.
Having previously worked together on award-winning music videos, Ayoade turned to Arctic Monkey’s frontman Alex Turner to script the original songs for Submarine. The resulting compilation is six ethereal songs of the understated beauty of music stripped down to the essentials. Asked of his inspiration for the compositions, Turner stated that half of the songs were already in various forms of existence before he was approached about the project, but that all songs were created or included to act as backdrops to the film, meant not to explain, but to compliment the characters and their stories.
Executive Producer Ben Stiller said that Submarine fell into his lap somewhat fortuitously, but he fell in love with the script immediately. Stiller explained that it is rare that all the elements of a film project – writing, directing, acting, producing – come together so well.
The film stars Sally Hawkins (Happy-Go-Lucky, Vera Drake) and Noah Taylor (Charley and the Chocolate Factory) as the loveless parents, Yasmin Paige (Tooth) as romantic interest Jordana Brevan, and debuting in his first lead role in a feature film, Craig Roberts as Oliver Tate. Submarine opens June 3rd in select theaters.