Update: This project will no longer be known as "Apostles Of Infinite Love" and will be developed as "The Untitled Victoria Strouse Project" for now.
Exclusive: Everyone loves a surprise hit and one of the pleasant left-field hits of the 2010 Toronto Interntational Film Festival was British helmer Richard Ayoade's directorial debut, "Submarine" --- an adaptation of Joe Dunthorne's coming-of-age book he penned starring newcomers Craig Roberts, Yasmin Paige and Sally Hawkins and Paddy Considine. Ayoade started in comedy, acting in "The Mighty Boosh," "The IT Crowd" and co-creating and directing the cult series "Garth Marenghi's Darkplace," before directing music videos for acts like Arctic Monkeys (for whom Ayoade also helmed their live DVD, "Live at the Apollo"), Yeah Yeahs Yeahs and Vampire Weekend, some examples of which can be seen here (He was nominated for a 2009 MTV VMA Breakthrough director award; Alex Turner from Arctic Monkeys wrote the score to "Submarine" too).
"Submarine" impressed with its Wes Anderson comparisons and The Weinstein Company quickly snatched up North American rights for a summer 2011 release (it arrives in the U.K. on March 18).
Seen as a hot new talent on the rise, Ayoade has several projects in the works and confirmed to the Playlist is one in development called "The Apostles Of Infinite Love." It's a 2008 Black list script set up over at Ben Stiller's Red Hour Films (he's a producer), it's been written by Victoria Strouse ("New Best Friend") and it's about an upper class dysfunctional New York family who learn their youngest daughter has joined a suicide cult in the Midwest. So they recruit a cult deprogrammer and go on the road to save her while both parents and siblings confront their issues with one another. It centers on the three siblings who get in over their heads when they attempt to save the fourth from the cult and apparently early offers are already being made to notable actors (we won't name them here, it seems like early days still; sounds a bit 'Royal Tenenbaums'-ish, no?).
Ben Stiller became an executive producer on "Submarine" he liked it so much and introduced the film at TIFF. He just spoke about his involvement in the picture and how he became an Ayoade fan this morning. “We just got sent the script – I don’t even know, to tell you the truth, how we got hold of it – but Richard’s agent might be our agent too," he told Empire. "But we thought it was a really great script and then I saw his videos that he had directed and just thought he had a really interesting sensibility. We met and he’s just a very thoughtful guy. And I thought what he did with the movie was very assured and bold, for a first film. Just his process was very specific. I had a really good experience with him.”
Hopefully more word will surface soon, but it sounds like this one is one of many in active development. Meanwhile, "Submarine" is on our Most Anticipated Films of 2011 list.
Here's some clips from "Submarine" in this TIFF interview.