Richard Ayoade Working On Adaptation Of Dostoevsky's 'The Double'

by Oliver Lyttelton
January 17, 2011 2:56 AM
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Co-Writing With Harmony Korine's Brother Avi



We still haven't seen "Submarine," the feature debut from British comic-actor-turned-helmer Richard Ayoade, but all the signs are that he's the kind of director that we'll be taking to our hearts. The film, an adaptation of the coming-of-age novel by Joe Dunthorne, has a top-flight cast led by Sally Hawkins and Paddy Considine, a score by the ludicrously talented Arctic Monkeys frontman Alex Turner, and earned almost unanimously good reviews coming out of Toronto.

The film makes its U.S. debut in Sundance which starts this week, and hits U.K. cinemas on March 18th, so we'll be seeing if it lives up to the hype soon enough, but in the meantime, Ayoade's clearly a director to watch, and we revealed on Friday that he's considering reteaming with Ben Stiller (who's an executive producer on "Submarine") on the comic drama "The Apostles Of Infinite Love." Now, an interview with the director in The Guardian has turned up word on what seems to be another contender to be the director's sophomore picture.

Ayoade reveals that he's developing an adaptation of Fyodor Dostoevsky's classic novella "The Double," calling it "A sort of doppelgänger tale, and funny, I think. Very funny. Dostoevsky never finished it to his satisfaction, which is somewhat..." before adding, with a hint of sarcasm "So yes, we're going to dust that off. We'll do what Fyodor couldn't"

For those not up on their Russian literature, the source material involves a government clerk who loses his mind when he decides that a colleague is trying to usurp his identity -- and yes, it's one of the many inspirations for Darren Aronofsky's "Black Swan," although it appears that Ayoade's take will have a more comic spin. A Variety piece that named Ayoade as one of 10 Directors to Watch in 2011 revealed that the project is set in contemporary America, and, intriguingly, that Ayoade is co-writing the script with Avi Korine, the brother of "Trash Humpers" director Harmony Korine.

Avi Korine shared writing credit with his brother on the underrated "Mister Lonely," and the tone of that project seems like an excellent fit with Ayoade's sensibility. Time will tell whether "The Double" or "The Apostles Of Infinite Love" will come first, but audiences will be able to see the director's work long before then, or even before the summer U.S. release of "Submarine" -- tweets from writer Dan Harmon revealed that Ayoade will begin filming this week on an episode of the superlative NBC sitcom "Community." It's the funniest show on TV right now, and letting Ayoade behind the camera is an exciting prospect: the episode, entitled "Critical Film Studies," should air sometime in the spring.

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