Film4.com editor Catherine Bray talks to Craig Roberts and Yasmin Paige about their starring roles in Richard Ayoade’s debut feature film, Submarine
Catherine: So, how was the experience of working with Richard Ayoade?
Craig: Richard’s awesome, the guy’s incredibly talented, he’s the nicest guy. And he knows what he wants and how to get it.
Yasmin: Richard is the best person. He had such affection for the film and for the characters. He’s wonderful. He loves films and he introduced us to all these that films we’d never seen before. Lots of French cinema, New Wave, Truffaut, Eric Rohmer, and told us about all these films. He’s a human catalogue of film. He knows everything.
Craig: He gave me 8 Mile. No, he didn’t. No, I got the Graduate, Harold & Maude, Rushmore, The Squid And The Whale, those sort of films, with that dry, deadpan style of acting.
Catherine: Would you say that’s rubbed off on your interview technique?
Craig: Yes, I can’t stop doing it.
Catherine: Can you tell us about some of your favourite films?
Yasmin: Dog Day Afternoon. No shadow of a doubt. Dog Day Afternoon and also Jules Et Jim.
Craig: I Know Who Killed Me, the Lindsay Lohan pole-dancing film.
Yasmin: Is that a pole dancing film?
Craig: She pole-dances in it. That’s the best thing about it. And also probably any sort of Alex Pettyfer films. I’m a huge Alex Pettyfer fan. Anything with Alex Pettyfer in. And obviously 8 Mile. I have this huge thing for Eminem. Before my second Submarine audition, I was late, because I had to listen to Lose Yourself all the way through before I could start the audition. It was pretty intense. In the last two years I probably haven’t gone a day without listening to one of his songs.
Catherine: It clearly paid off. We spoke to Joe Dunthorne, the author of the book, and he said it was almost eerie seeing how well you’d embodied the characters, who aren’t really described physically in the book.
Craig: I wonder if he’d imagined it this deadpan.
Yasmin: I didn’t imagine us looking like us. Like, when I read the script, I didn’t think I would look how Jordana would look – she seemed more attractive than me in the book! I thought, damnit, I’m out. Even her height, I thought she seemed probably at least 5′ 5″.
Catherine: How was the experience of seeing the film screen to audiences at different film festivals?
Craig: The worst is when Richard’s doing an audience Q&A and he’s so funny and then you have to follow him.
Yasmin: They don’t really ask me anything anyway, but I can’t do Q&As, there’s nothing more terrifying than sitting up there in front of 800 people. We walked out onto this huge stage at Toronto with these lights and I was just like ‘please, god, don’t ask me anything,’ and then Craig handed me the microphone, and it wasn’t even a question to me! I was so mad at you, Craig. I was speechless. It was mortifying. Someone asked us about kissing and playing out “our love” and I had no idea what to say.
Catherine: Who would be your dream director to work with?
Yasmin: Richard Ayoade.
Craig: Richard Ayoade.
Catherine: Who would be your dream director to work with, apart from Richard Ayoade?
Craig: I’d love to work with Judd Apatow or Shane Meadows. I know they’re completely different.
Yasmin: I think Martin Scorsese. If I really can’t say Richard. But Scorsese doesn’t really make any Mean Streets any more. But a Mean Streets or a Taxi Driver, I would literally give my arm to do. But Richard, I just want to work with Richard. I was saying the other day, I was wondering if I could be one of those people, like Mike Leigh uses, where they’re in all of his films, even if it’s just a small role. I hope I could be one of those for Richard. Even if it’s just a one-line shopkeeper or something.
Craig: I think that happens with a lot of things. The same people work together over and over. It can be quite cliquey.
Catherine: How true to life do you think Submarine’s sense of cliques and school politics are?
Yasmin: Very true.
Craig: True. Next question. No, do you mean is it true to the coming of age experience? Yes, I think so. In school, I was never bullied that much because I was with the cool kids, who were like ‘you’re an actor, welcome.’ I was like, ‘brilliant, now I’m with the hard crew.’ Now I’ve got Lee or Liam or whatever his name was, I can say, ‘they were mean to me, can you go beat them up?’
Catherine: I loved reading the script – what specific scenes did you most look forward to filming on the basis of the reading?
Craig: The classroom stuff has some of the funniest bits. Obviously the stuff with Yasmin, I have to say that, she’s sitting right here… I liked the scenes with Sally Hawkins, as my mum, they were cool. Looking at the script I never imagined it being how it was, the music, the way it looks. The only thing I could picture was Michael Cera playing the lead.
Yasmin: I’m not in them, but all the scenes with Craig and his family, they’re just the best. Noah Taylor’s advice as the dad – “I once tore my vest off in front of a woman. It produced a very atavistic response,” that made me laugh so much. “So, your mother informs me you’ve got a girlfriend… that’s quite an achievement.” He’s brilliant.
Craig: Noah takes dry to another level. He’s one of those actors I admire who fly under the radar but get so much done. He wouldn’t really get noticed in the streets, but he does great work.
Catherine: What are you working on next?
Yasmin: I’m working in a pub.
Craig: I’m playing on my X-Box. I’m also doing Red Lights, directed by Rodrigo Cortés who directed Buried. It’s filming in Barcelona with Cillian Murphy, Sigourney Weaver, Robert De Niro. It should be good.
Catherine: Finally, can you tell our readers in one sentence why they should go and see Submarine?
Yasmin: Go and see it because then you can say you were there – you saw Richard Ayoade’s first feature film.
Craig: Go and see it because it’s good.