Film4 staff

Fright Bites: producer Q&A

We sat down with series producer Fiona Lamptey from Film4 to hear about terrifying new short-form series Fright Bites, coming soon to All4 on October 22nd, just in time for Halloween.

Fiona Lamptey from Film4 / Fruit Tree Media

Fiona Lamptey from Film4 / Fruit Tree Media

Tell us about this new strand – what can we expect?

Fright Bites are six short horror films that make the perfect online Halloween snack, perfect for your commute to work or other down-time, but perhaps not when walking alone down a dark alley by yourself… ha! What I love about this year’s selection is how different they all are and how some play on our most basic fears. When I think about the films that scare me the most it’s when the ‘monster’ is recognizable – that person you pass on the street, the intruder…

Some of the films explore this type of fear and others border on the more traditional ‘monster in the dark’ but with a truly unique twist. I promise they will get your heartbeat going – but don’t worry you’ll be able to function for the rest of the day.

How did you go about sourcing the scripts and directors – was it people you’d always wanted to work with, or a case of trying to find exciting new voices?

Initially Film4 development execs Eva Yates, Celine Coulson and I looked for filmmakers we had come across over the years or had watched their films and knew they would be brilliant for the strand. We cast the net as wide as we could with the majority of talent being new talent to Film4. Film4 are always on the look out for new exciting voices and people that Film4 / Channel 4 could go on to build a relationship with. And personally, I’m always on the lookout for a way to put my production management and producing skills to good use.

My production company Fruit Tree Media (as the name might suggest) was set up with the intention to nurture emerging filmmaking talent, so when I was brought on to produce it was a great opportunity to invest in a great bunch of talented individuals.

Tell us a bit about the production process.

It was crazy. Mostly enjoyable but intense. We had a month to pull all the films together and although from my very first meeting with the talent I could tell they were brilliant I didn’t know much about their quirks – for example, were they fast shooters, or directors who were more considered and liked more time to think things through? – so that was the most difficult task I think I had to overcome in the beginning. It sounds obvious now but I had to treat them as individuals, as they all wanted or needed different things from me at any given point. However once we got a momentum going and locations confirmed I felt like we were on our way.

Crewing was another stumbling block as I was keen to ensure the shorts were a new talent vehicle not just for the core creative team but the crew working behind the camera too. I am glad to say we had a crew from all walks of life, with different levels of experience in front and behind the camera, on these shorts – and every single one of them made it all possible. It was pure magic. I also couldn’t have done this without the help of Francesca Chen and Tristan Cope – who went beyond the call of duty. We have some great memories! Of course I’ve made it sound like the most smooth-sailing production ever, I just don’t want to bore you about the long days, broken lifts, dysfunctional urine pumps, fire alarms and lighting worries. I’ll save that for another time.

Fright Bites will be available to view on All4 from 22nd October.

Daniel Battsek takes over as Director of Film4

08 Apr, 2016 Productions Posted in: Film4 staff, News

Channel 4 Chief Executive David Abraham today announced that Daniel Battsek will join the corporation as Director of Film4, following the news that David Kosse is to step down to join STX Entertainment.

Battsek will join Film4 in July, relocating to the UK from New York after fulfilling his contract as President of Cohen Media Group – where he has overseen the acquisition and release of projects including back-to-back Oscar® nominees Timbuktu and Mustang, as well as a development and production slate of films that includes John Williams’ renowned novel Stoner, a co-production with Film4.   Prior to this role Daniel was President of National Geographic Films, and before that President, Filmed Entertainment at Miramax Films.

David Kosse will continue working for Film4 during the transition period on a consultancy basis until October.

Battsek will inherit the increased spend announced by David Abraham and David Kosse in February 2016 of £25 million for the year, with the ambition of maintaining similar increased levels of Film4 funding in future years.

Under Battsek’s leadership, Film4 will continue to seek out new partnerships like those announced with Fox Searchlight and FP Films in February, which allow the company to take a greater stake in certain projects, with a view to seeing more of the returns flowing back to Film4 for investment in the company’s future slate.

Battsek also inherits a development slate which includes new work from Lenny Abrahamson, Yorgos Lanthimos, Andrew Haigh, Steve McQueen, Martin McDonagh, Clio Barnard, Bart Layton, Garth Davis and Mike Leigh, as well as completed or near completed films from Andrea Arnold, Ben Wheatley, Ang Lee, Paddy Considine, Susanna White, John Cameron Mitchell, acclaimed theatre director Benedict Andrews, newcomers Toby Macdonald and Michael Pearce, and Danny Boyle.

Channel 4 Chief Executive David Abraham commented: “Daniel Battsek’s passion for independent, filmmaker driven cinema, and experience in film production, development and distribution at the highest level in both the US and UK markets, are second to none. He’s a perfect fit for the Film4 brand. We’re thrilled to bring this talented British executive back to the UK.

“As demonstrated by our record breaking year at both the Oscars and the BAFTAs, Daniel will inherit a Film4 business in fine creative and commercial health from David Kosse.  We’re sad he couldn’t have been with us longer but he’s had an incredible impact in the time he has led the division.  Both the exciting upcoming slate and the increased funding for original film we announced earlier this year are testament to the successful strategy implemented by David.   I’m delighted that he will be working alongside Daniel on a smooth transition over the summer and ensuring that it is business as usual for Film4 over this period.”

Daniel Battsek added: “I am hugely honoured to have been offered this opportunity. My career began with so many of Film4′s early productions and I have retained strong ties with British filmmakers throughout my time in the US. Joining Film4 feels almost like coming full circle. I look forward to returning to the UK and putting the experience I’ve gained on both sides of the Atlantic to good use.”

David Kosse said: “Film4 is a unique organisation and a very special brand and it was a difficult decision to leave, but joining STX at this stage is an opportunity that I couldn’t pass up.  Over almost two years, I’m incredibly proud to have put in place a new strategy for Film4 which has boosted funding for the film industry to a record level and to have introduced an exciting new slate of high quality productions and developments with a diverse group of filmmakers.  David Abraham and the Channel 4 leadership team have been fantastic partners since day one and I look forward to continuing to work with them over the coming months.”

Having worked at the cutting edge of the independent sector on three continents, Battsek brings 30 years’ production, development and distribution experience to Film4. For the last three years Battsek has served as President of New York based Cohen Media Group, where he has overseen the acquisition and release of arthouse/crossover releases including back-to-back Oscar nominees Timbuktu and Mustang, as well as a development and production slate of films that includes John Williams’ renowned novel Stoner, a co-production with Film4. Prior to that he spent 2½ years at National Geographic Films, where as President he acquired projects for development and production including the  Oscar nominated documentary Restrepo, as well as National Geographic branded large screen and Imax 3D projects. Battsek relocated from the UK to New York in 2005, where he served for five years as President, Filmed Entertainment at Miramax Films. Projects he greenlit and/or acquired there included Oscar winners The Queen, No Country For Old Men and There Will Be Blood and Oscar nominees The Diving Bell and the Butterfly and Happy-Go-Lucky.

From 1991 to 2005, Battsek held the position of EVP and Managing Director, UK Distribution and European Production & Acquisitions at Buena Vista International, UK, where he oversaw all aspects of UK distribution for 18-25 releases per annum from Walt Disney Studios and their partners including Pixar and Miramax Films. At BVI, Battsek also set up a Comedy Production Label in 2001 which financed and produced three films, including Calendar Girls and Kinky Boots. Prior to that, Battsek spent six years as Managing Director of Palace Pictures, where he was responsible for the acquisition and distribution of quality independent titles from around the world for release in the UK, and he also spent three years as a Sales & Marketing Executive for Hoyts Entertainment in Australia, where he first cut his teeth in distribution.

Film4 is Channel 4 Television’s feature film division, which develops and co-finances films and has an established track record for working with the most distinctive and innovative talent in UK and international filmmaking.  Film4 has developed and/or co-financed many of the most successful UK films of recent years – Academy Award-winners such as Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave, Danny Boyle’s Slumdog Millionaire, Lenny Abrahamson’s Room, Alex Garland’s Ex Machina, Asif Kapadia’s Amy, Andrew Haigh’s 45 Years and Phyllida Lloyd’s The Iron Lady, in addition to critically-acclaimed award-winners such as Mike Leigh’s Mr. Turner, Shane Meadows’ This is England, Martin McDonagh’s Seven Psychopaths, Yann Demange’s 71, Ben Wheatley’s High-Rise, Clio Barnard’s The Selfish Giant, Jonathan Glazer’s Under the Skin and David Mackenzie’s Starred Up.


Frank: Maverick Genius

18 Jan, 2014 Posted in: Directors, Festivals, Film4 staff, Interview, Sundance

Are you an undiscovered creative genius? Do you have the soul of an artist but not much work to show for it? If so, Frank, a winningly comical dismantling of 21st century myths about life as an artist, very loosely inspired by Jon Ronson’s recollections of his time in the Frank Sidebottom band, might just the film for you. Directed by Lenny Abrahamson and with a script by Jon Ronson and Peter Straughan, Frank has been selected in more Ones-To-Watch-At-Sundance lists than you can shake a papier mâché head at. Catherine Bray sits down with its director to find out exactly what Frank is all about, and what it really means to be that much-abused term: a “creative”.

Maggie Gyllenhaal, Michael Fassbender and Donhnall Gleeson in Lenny Abrahamson's Frank

There are three things you should know upfront about Frank, Lenny Abrahamson’s follow up to the thoroughly excellent What Richard Did (2012). One: Frank stars Michael Fassbender, but don’t expect to see loads of him – when we meet him, he’s hidden inside a giant papier mâché head. Two: Frank was initially inspired by Jon Ronson’s time touring with maverick outsider musician Frank Sidebottom, but it very much isn’t about Frank Sidebottom. Three: Frank is about a young man’s dream of becoming a true creative genius like his heroes – but it’s not your typical redemptive rags-to-riches tale of rock-and-roll redemption.

Frank is, in short, a complex, counterintuitive and utterly fascinating look at what it means to be creative and all the head-messing that comes with that. It should also be said that it is very funny, a timely riposte to the post-millennial narrative that it is possible to be anything you want to be so long as you really want it and that we should all pursue fulfillment through hobbies that are also our careers. The producer of Frank, Ed Guiney, puts it pretty bluntly: “There is a common wisdom that if you try hard enough and apply yourself and have sufficient self belief then you can achieve anything or be anything you want to be. Its a close relative of the mantra which says that successful creative endeavour is 99% perspiration and 1% inspiration. I think the facts prove that neither of these (nor other related) truisms hold.”

“The real truth is that some people are uniquely and unusually gifted and these gifts can never be emulated. And this is something for us all to celebrate and cherish. So I suppose the film shatters a common myth about the nature of creativity and that’s one reason it was worth making. That and the chance to work with some uniquely and unusually gifted individuals.” Ed isn’t quite saying that you either are creative or you aren’t, but he’s certainly not on the side of X Factor hopefuls whose self-belief outweighs any innate ability to sing or aptitude for music.

Executive Producer Katherine Butler’s take is slightly more encouraging for anyone who might be on the verge of giving up that career in writing/singing/filmmaking: “I think that in the film Frank what we discover is that people are creative in different ways and in different areas, but not always in the way they would wish to be. And the way to be happy in life is to accept your own limitations and embrace what you have a talent for. I think of this film as like Amadeus – where the man who discovers he’s not the genius he always wanted to be is eaten up by jealousy for the great genius he both worships and almost destroys… In the coolest, most beguilingly strange setting you could imagine.  With great songs. And a big fake head.”

So perhaps it’s more about finding your niche. Over the course of a ninety minute chat director Lenny Abrahamson shared with me his feelings about the film, what’s at its heart, what makes it tick and why it’s really Adrian Mole meets The Wizard of Oz…


So, who is Frank, really?

Well, the massive head is obviously a huge visual reference to the musician and comedian Frank Sidebottom. But our Frank is a composite inspired by several outsider artists – he isn’t Frank Sidebottom. We felt that the head made a good container for these other people, this strange mixture of people like Daniel Johnston, Captain Beefheart, Frank Sidebottom, Harry Partch, these people who made beautiful, eccentric and very wonderful music and art.

The Venn diagram of our Frank draws several of these people together and he is this very strange, sweet, brilliant man. But we did think it would make a good story to have this guy who has to deal with the outside world by hiding himself in this big fake head. A lot of what the film is about is what it is to be free-form in your creative life, versus approaching art conventionally. We don’t want people going in expecting a Frank Sidebottom biopic, because that’s not what this is.


Can you expand a bit more on what each of those influences and sources brings to Frank? 

We’ve drawn on so many different sources, all the great outsider musicians, but I’ll talk you through some of them. Beefheart, for example, went and recorded and album for over a year and they all went a bit mad and it was half commune, half slave camp, which you can see in Frank. And Daniel Johnson has that kind of anxious, boyish, almost childlike quality that our Frank sometimes has. But our Frank can also be sexier in the way that Captain Beefheart was. And then the invention of instruments, the idea of going out and collecting sounds, that is Harry Partch in the mix. Then Frank Sidebottom gives us the physical shape and allows us to play this elaborate joke involving Jon’s projection of what he imagines might be behind the mask. For somebody like me who is a great devotee of classical slapstick, the head gives you this puppet person in the middle of your film, which offers amazing opportunities for comedy.


It’s more about the clash of talent and mediocrity, isn’t it, than a traditional rise-and-fall music narrative?

You’ve got this conflict between someone who is genuinely talented and a person who should have loved that talent but also resents it because they don’t have it themselves. The Jon character, like most people, has a sort of bag of crap theories about what makes people creative, and he buys into a lot of those myths, like the idea that it’s desperate suffering that makes you creative. Like, if only he hadn’t had such a well-adjusted middle class childhood, he too could be creative.


I remember being reminded of one very funny bit in the Adrian Mole books where he’s really annoyed that he’s been born in Leicester because it’s no place for an intellectual to be living.

Absolutely, and I think we all go through it as teenagers when we first read about great artists and feel slightly jealous that our lives are so boring and comfortable. So this was an opportunity to poke fun at those oversimplifications of what makes a genius. Not that we’re trying to say in any serious way that our Frank is a genius – the film is a playful thing – but Jon is able to project behind that mask a series of fantasies of what a genuinely creative person must be like. It’s not that great suffering never leads to great art, because sometimes it does, but the Jon character holds these views in a very facile way.

We discovered while working on the script it’s also a sort of Wizard of Oz story, because it’s the same as the way that people project all these qualities onto the wizard, and when you pull back the curtain, it’s just this little old guy. In our case, when we pull back the curtain… well, people will have to see it to see it to find out what Jon discovers.


So Jon is an example of that type of person – again the Adrian Mole type – who spends more time thinking about his acceptance speeches and what he’ll say in interviews than he does about his creative work?

Yes, it’s that X Factor thing of people who want the lifestyle more than they want to do the thing itself. Jon is clearly not driven to write music, he clearly has a terrible time with it and he can’t do it. Frank has this naive idea that he wants to move people and be loved, but it’s very different; he’s unable to not make music, everything becomes subject matter for him. Jon can’t make a song out of the deepest ideas about love and death; Frank can make a song about a piece of fluff.

So Jon confronts a certain existential brutality: you are not this person, this person has talent, and you don’t. The fundamental fact is that no matter how much he wants to be that person, Jon is not that person.


How far would you go along with this very Calvinist sort of idea that there are the creative elect and then the people who are not creative – as the sitcom Peep Show puts it, “here be beauty, there be pie-charts” – and there’s no grey area in the middle?

There’s definitely a grey area. Experience changes people and you can discover you’ve had the capacity to invent and make and you’ve never used it, but I don’t think it’s something people learn out of nowhere.To use a physical analogy: are you born a runner or are you made a runner? Well, you can certainly train and improve, but people do have natural capacities and abilities. I don’t think anybody can do it if they just put their mind to it.


Then there are people who are naturally gifted but don’t seem to have the will to exercise that, who may end up less successful than a moderately talent person who slogs away and puts the hours in.

That’s absolutely true. People who are lazy or inhibited or desperately lacking in confidence – for every Mozart we know about, there must be some that we don’t. That drive, so long as you do have a very small amount of talent as well, can get you very far.


Frank is of course very funny, but it’s not a straight comedy; there are other elements in there. How do you describe it in general terms?

We’re not completely sure how we should be talking about it, because it doesn’t fit easily into a box. There are several shifts of tone. But we think that actually an audience will come with you if they’re enjoying it, you don’t have to be too rigid, the tone can be elastic. It is a warm film, there is a kind of playfulness and a free-wheeling silliness in places, but it can also be quite moving. But how would you describe it?


Me? Hmmm. I guess you could talk about it as a film for anyone who’s ever failed to express themselves creatively, which is probably everyone.

That’s perfect. Or a film for anybody who has ever wished that they were somebody that they’re not, which again is everybody.


One of my favourite visual jokes in the film is when you pull in close on the giant head, the way you would in another film to show someone’s emotions in close up, but of course we just see a giant head in close up.

Well, I remember at the time thinking, this could be a total disaster, we’re going to film this guy in a giant head, and heck, what if two days into rushes we find, “well, that doesn’t work”? Which was scary. But actually, so far, it seems that people accept this thing. The head in particular seems to be oddly expressive. It’s amazing that the same expression can reflect so much in any given scene. And we got a lot of good close-ups which I thought were never gonna work given Frank’s face never changes. When you go in for a close-up, it’s not like you learn anything new from his expression, but that was something we talked about right from the beginning: wouldn’t it be just funny to obey all the rules of film grammar, but with this giant head?


It’s wonderfully audacious to have put one of the most in-demand stars in the world right now inside the giant head.

We used to joke about that. Because pretty much every script or proposal you get sent at the moment, for any male role from 30 to 45, the wishlist of names for the lead will include Michael Fassbender. Everybody’s desperate to cast him. And we’ve somehow got this man whose face everybody is desperate to film and we’ve hidden his famous face under a giant head. But it’s part of the playfulness of the film. It’s a challenge, it’s a risk, it’s exciting and it’s sort of silly at the same time.


It’s an act of trust for the audience too, maybe – you’re telling us it’s Michael Fassbender and we have to go with that.

It’s worth saying that he was a real purist about that. No doubles, no long shots where a runner pops it on in the distance. It’s always him. Apart from maybe ten fleeting frames where it’s a stunt guy. The rest of the time, you are genuinely watching Michael Fassbender hidden in a giant head.


Frank premieres 17th January at Sundance 2014 and will be released in the UK in 2014. 


Sightseers: the origin story

24 Apr, 2012 Productions Posted in: Directors, Festivals, Film4 staff, News, Talent

Film4′s senior commissioning executive Katherine Butler explains how Kill List director Ben Wheatley came to direct his next film, Sightseers, from a script by Steve Oram and Alice Lowe. Sightseers premieres at Cannes 2012…

We first met Steve Oram and Alice Lowe around 5 years ago when Big Talk came to us with their short film they’d made about these two caravaners. Like Big Talk and Exec Producer Edgar Wright we loved the short film, the characters and the idea of this as a feature. So we went into development, and Steve and Alice started work on their first feature film script. Sam Lavender (our head of development) and I loved going to meetings with Steve and Alice and the Big Talk team, mainly because they would drift into character throughout our meetings, and we always left feeling we’d been sitting down with (and slightly spooked by) those strange but friendly cagoule-wearers they were writing.

Steve and Alice, together with Big Talk, were brilliantly persistent in the way they worked through several drafts until it felt like they had really found the heart of the film. In the meantime, Big Talk and we had seen director Ben Wheatley’s first film, Down Terrace. It blew us all away – a completely new voice doing a genre crime family film in an utterly original, new way. We knew as soon as we saw it that we wanted to work with him. And so when Nira Park at Big Talk called us to say they wanted to attach Ben to Sightseers, of course we thought this was a brilliant idea.

In the meantime, we started work on Ben’s film Kill List which had been brought to us by Claire Jones and Andy Starke of Rook Films, via Warp X, and which ended up being fast-tracked to production. This was a wild ride of a film to work on – none of us knew exactly what to expect. Robin Gutch (Warp X’s executive producer) and I went on set during the incredibly swift shoot, and whilst Robin was roped in to hold up light reflectors, I hid in the corner and watched the fastest shooting I had ever seen. The organisation of these guys was incredible, and the way the team worked together with cast to shoot so fast was a real lesson in low budget film-making.

When I first saw a cut of Kill List I was completely stunned – I was one of the first people to greet the film with what became known as ‘the Kill List stare’ where audiences are rendered speechless by its deeply unsettling nature. I knew it was something extraordinary but had absolutely no idea how anyone else would respond to it. Talking to Ben and his team during the editing process was often surreal (I remember in particular long discussions about how many blows of the hammer should stay in). When, trembling, I brought in the rest of the Film4 team to see the film, they too were blown away by it.

SXSW followed and Kill List screened at midnight which meant we had a long, long evening to be incredibly nervous – we made our way through many mojitos! The screening itself was insane – the Alamo South Lamar is one of the best cinemas I’ve ever been to, and its owner, the legendary Tim League, opened proceedings with a US v Europe beer chugging competition… Several people staggered out during the course of the screening – and sitting there having no idea how the film was going down, we were convinced it was because they didn’t like it. In fact, it was due to them needing to go and lie down after the full effects of the beer chugging had taken hold. The audience greeted the film with a mixture of massive enthusiasm and again, the Kill List stare. And then the blogs and tweets started coming through. We slowly realised it was something of a hit – and as the festival went on, SXSW took Kill List to its twisted heart.

We had all loved our Kill List experience, and we loved the film we thought Sightseers could be. When STUDIOCANAL came on board to distribute Kill List in the UK they joined on Sightseers too, and together with the BFI, we had a fully financed film to make.

The Sightseers shoot was gruelling for the team – a cold, wet tour round some of the more out of the way campsites of Northern England. I got to set for one day, travelling for what seemed like miles in the Sightseers mini-bus to a sodden caravan site in North Yorkshire. I watched shamanic dancing and eggs being cooked. And whilst this time there was a bit more money, the production team still worked at a prodigious rate.

When a film like Sightseers gets selected by Cannes, there is a huge sense of excitement and pride and not a little amazement. Not because it’s not good – it’s a truly great film – but because it’s the kind of film that’s all about the reality of low budget film-making in the UK today. Long wet, cold, shoot days; an incredibly tight schedule; a film-maker, his producers and their  team who’ve come out of micro-budget film-making not very long ago at all; the long-burning passion and determination of Alice and Steve who’ve been living with these characters for years; and a very particular film-making voice which is both hilarious and twisted. And it’s all about caravanning. It doesn’t get more British than that. Sightseers, we salute you, and can’t wait to see your caravan sail up the Cannes Croisette.

Three Film4 titles will have their premieres at this year’s Cannes: Sightseers, Walter Salles’ On the Road and Fyzal Boulifa’s The Curse.  Find out more

Submarine stars Craig Roberts and Yasmin Paige: Q&A editor Catherine Bray talks to Craig Roberts and Yasmin Paige about their starring roles in Richard Ayoade’s debut feature film, Submarine

Craig Roberts and Yasmin Paige in 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.