Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
First Look: Matt Damon As An Astronaut In Ridley Scott’s ‘The Martian’ First Look: Matt Damon As An Astronaut In Ridley Scott’s ‘The Martian’ Cannes Review: Justin Kurzel's 'Macbeth' Starring Michael Fassbender & Marion Cotillard Cannes Review: Justin Kurzel's 'Macbeth' Starring Michael Fassbender & Marion Cotillard Watch: Incredible Vintage Footage Of Audience Reactions To 'The Exorcist' In 1973 Watch: Incredible Vintage Footage Of Audience Reactions To 'The Exorcist' In 1973 Cannes Review: Gaspar Noé's Hardcore And Softhearted 'Love' Cannes Review: Gaspar Noé's Hardcore And Softhearted 'Love' Here's The Character Backstory For Doof aka Guitar Flamethrower Dude In 'Mad Max: Fury Road' Here's The Character Backstory For Doof aka Guitar Flamethrower Dude In 'Mad Max: Fury Road' Cannes Review: Hou Hsiao-Hsien's 'The Assassin' Is An Epic Visual Poem Cannes Review: Hou Hsiao-Hsien's 'The Assassin' Is An Epic Visual Poem The 10 Most Controversial Cannes Films Ever The 10 Most Controversial Cannes Films Ever Roger Deakins To Shoot Denis Villeneuve's 'Blade Runner' Sequel Roger Deakins To Shoot Denis Villeneuve's 'Blade Runner' Sequel More NSFW Posters For Gaspar Noe's 3D 'Love' Plus The Official Director's Statement More NSFW Posters For Gaspar Noe's 3D 'Love' Plus The Official Director's Statement Cannes: Watch A Three Way Makeout In The First Clip From Gaspar Noe’s 3D ‘Love’ Plus New NSFW Image Cannes: Watch A Three Way Makeout In The First Clip From Gaspar Noe’s 3D ‘Love’ Plus New NSFW Image Simon Pegg Worries That Adults Obsessed With Comics & Sci-Fi Have Become "Infantilized By Our Own Taste" Simon Pegg Worries That Adults Obsessed With Comics & Sci-Fi Have Become "Infantilized By Our Own Taste" Cannes Review: Denis Villeneuve's 'Sicario' Starring Emily Blunt, Josh Brolin And Benicio Del Toro Cannes Review: Denis Villeneuve's 'Sicario' Starring Emily Blunt, Josh Brolin And Benicio Del Toro George Miller Says He Courted Heath Ledger To Lead 'Mad Max' In 2006, Reveals Title For 'Fury Road' Sequel George Miller Says He Courted Heath Ledger To Lead 'Mad Max' In 2006, Reveals Title For 'Fury Road' Sequel Watch: Michael Fassbender Takes The Stage In First Trailer For 'Steve Jobs' Watch: Michael Fassbender Takes The Stage In First Trailer For 'Steve Jobs' George Miller Says 'Interstellar' Came Close To What His Version Of 'Contact' Would've Been Like George Miller Says 'Interstellar' Came Close To What His Version Of 'Contact' Would've Been Like New NSFW, Extremely Graphic, Adults-Only Poster For Gaspar Noe's 'Love' New NSFW, Extremely Graphic, Adults-Only Poster For Gaspar Noe's 'Love' The 25 Best Films Of 2015 We've Already Seen The 25 Best Films Of 2015 We've Already Seen The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season All The Songs In 'Pitch Perfect' Including La Roux, David Guetta, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj & More All The Songs In 'Pitch Perfect' Including La Roux, David Guetta, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj & More

Director Richard Ayoade Shares The 5 Films That Influenced ‘The Double’

The Playlist By Charlie Schmidlin | The Playlist May 8, 2014 at 12:30PM

Similar to his excellent 2011 debut feature, “Submarine," quick comparisons to past classics have flown frequently with Richard Ayoade’s sophomore effort “The Double." This time Terry Gilliam’s “Brazil” has been elected the overriding influence; however, don’t ask Ayoade to verify such a claim. As the actor/director said when he sat down with us recently in Los Angeles, “I don't remember ‘Brazil’ well enough to even know whether that's true.”
2
Richard Ayoade

Similar to his excellent 2011 debut feature, “Submarine," quick comparisons to past classics have flown frequently with Richard Ayoade’s sophomore effort “The Double." This time Terry Gilliam’s “Brazil” has been elected the overriding influence; however, don’t ask Ayoade to verify such a claim. As the actor/director said when he sat down with us recently in Los Angeles, “I don't remember ‘Brazil’ well enough to even know whether that's true.”

Based on the Fyodor Dostoyevsky novella, “The Double” indeed riffs on a recognizable dystopian sci-fi tone, but it swiftly and effortlessly forges its own path of dark humor, existential themes, and wonderful performances. The film stars Jesse Eisenberg as Simon James, an invisible office drone in a nameless office, whose only source of happiness comes from his interactions with co-worker Hannah (played by Mia Wasikowska). However, his sense of identity and self worth takes a hit when James Simon, an exact doppelganger, shows up for his first day and promptly unravels everything that Simon holds dear.

We called Ayoade’s pitch-black comedy “special and singular filmmaking at its best” when we caught it at TIFF last year, and you can watch our festival interviews with both Ayoade and Wasikowska to gain insight into the origins and production of the project. But as “The Double” hits theatres this week, we thought we’d ask the director to graciously run down a few of his actual influences for the unique project.

After Hours

“After Hours” (1985) - Martin Scorsese
Richard Ayoade: It's Stephen Merchant's favorite film and he gave it to me to watch, so I ended up seeing it rather recently. I love it partially because it's all done at night, and that kind of mounting subjective paranoia was really interesting—my favorite of Scorsese's films are the more subjective ones. And [Griffin Dunne’s] linen suit in that may have subconsciously factored into Jesse’s wardrobe, where we wanted him to feel slightly overwhelmed by his clothes.

“The Trial” (1962) - Orson Welles
There’s actually a scene in “After Hours” that directly quotes Franz Kafka’s “The Trial”—the one when Dunne’s character can't get into the club where Scorsese is operating a spotlight. But I mostly took note of the opening of Welles’ film, in the small apartment with a very low roof. We never did anything in “The Double” as long as that in terms of a take, because it's a very long take and the dialogue's very fast. But the great verbal misunderstandings, said as mistakes and taken as facts—it's just very funny. All of Welles’ films are funny, I think. 

This article is related to: Features, Feature, Richard Ayoade, The Double, Alfred Hitchcock, Roman Polanski, After Hours, Orson Welles


The Playlist

The obsessives' guide to contemporary cinema via film discussion, news, reviews, features, nostalgia, movie music, soundtracks, DVDs and more.


E-Mail Updates