Heads Up: Submarine

We all live in Ayoade's Submarine
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The Independent Culture

What are we talking about?

A film adaptation of Submarine, the debut novel by performance poet and writer Joe Dunthorne, that tells a comedic coming-of-age story of a 15-year-old from Swansea with two aims in life: to lose his virginity before becoming legal, and to stop his mum leaving his dad for a motivational speaker.

Elevator pitch

Think Holden Caulfield growing up on the Gower.

Prime movers

Richard Ayoade, making his feature film directorial debut. He's not exactly short of experience behind (and in front of) the camera though: Ayoade directed cult comedy series Garth Marenghi's Darkplace and music videos for Vampire Weekend, Super Furry Animals and Arctic Monkeys, as well as appearing in The IT Crowd, Nathan Barley and The Mighty Boosh. His Submarine script won an early fan in Ben Stiller, who subsequently lent support as an executive producer.

The stars

Sally Hawkins (Happy Go Lucky, Made in Dagenham) plays mother to newcomer Craig Roberts. Paddy Considine is the sleazy love interest, while Noah Taylor (The Life Aquatic) gets the depressed dad role.

The early buzz

Well received at film festivals last year; David Gritten hailed it as the "most refreshing, urgent and original debut the British film industry has seen in years" in The Telegraph. Website /Film awarded it "the quirk of Juno, the whimsy of Gondry, the light-heartedness of Wes Anderson, the melancholy of 500 Days of Summer."

Insider knowledge

Prompted a flurry of excitement at the Toronto Film Festival; Variety reported that "a heated bidding war [went on] into the early hours of Wednesday...deal is just shy of seven figures." The flick was snapped up by Weinstein Co.

It's great that...

Arctic Monkeys frontman Alex Turner wrote the film's music. Produced by Simian Mobile Disco's James Ford, the six tracks will also be released as an EP.

It's a shame that...

It may be a victim of its own hipster credentials: all those Wes Anderson associations, the indie-cool status of Ayoade, the over-heated bloggers, and the NME-pleasing soundtrack just might put people off. No-one wants the wrong sort of Nathan Barley comparisons...

Hit potential

But with great early reviews, a solid cast, strong source material and an already popular director, Submarine should be on course to be a British success story.

The details

Submarine is at the Glasgow film festival 18 February and released nationwide 18 March.