Video Interview: 'The Double' Director Richard Ayoade on Inspiration
by Alex Billington
September 18, 2013
"If everyone decides you're not a person, you aren't, in a way." One of my favorite films that I saw at the 2013 Toronto Film Festival is The Double, the second feature from comedian-actor-filmmaker Richard Ayoade. I fell in love with his first film, Submarine (watch it on Netflix!), back at TIFF in 2010 and was lucky enough to catch the world premiere of The Double at TIFF this year. Based on the Fyodor Dostoevsky novella, Jesse Eisenberg stars as a timid worker whose life is thrown into disarray when his doppelganger shows up. I met up with Richard Ayoade in Toronto for a good chat about The Double recorded on Flipcam.
Ayoade is credited as co-writer of The Double, along with Avi Korine, and director. The film has received comparisons to Terry Gilliam and Brazil, in a positive way, on top of great reviews (see Criticwire). I talked with Richard at length about being a filmmaker, his inspiration and interests, his humor, and how much of himself he puts into his work. "In good writing, the ego of the author should be invisible," he quotes. While he is rather soft-spoken, this was still a fascinating interview and I'm honored to present the full discussion.
Watch my full interview with The Double director Richard Ayoade, shot on Flipcam up in Toronto:
Timeline of questions: 0:08 - Do you like filmmaking more than acting at this moment? 1:30 - How did you go from Submarine to The Double? 2:45 - Were you concerned it would be too confusing for audiences? 5:30 - I like all the levity in this film… 7:25 - Why Jesse Eisenberg for the dual roles, is it because he can play both sides? 9:42 - How much of your films are an expression of who you are now? 13:25 - Where do you see yourself going next? 14:12 - Was Terry Gilliam an inspiration, and if not, who are your inspirations?
He refers to a series of "dinner conversations" with Orson Welles, comprised in the book My Lunches with Orson: Conversations between Henry Jaglom and Orson Welles (you can read some excerpts on Vulture). He also refers to actors Jack Lemmon (who was in Billy Wilder's The Apartment) and Dustin Hoffman, as well as Robert De Niro. A big thank you to Richard Ayoade for the fascinating conversation, and thank you to MPRM for arranging the interview. I'm glad I got to sit down and talk with Richard about his films.
For context, here's the TIFF teaser trailer for The Double using Son House's song "Grinnin' In Your Face":
Richard Ayoade's The Double just premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival (read my review). The film is seeking a distributor for release, and will likely play at other film festivals before hitting theaters.