Richard Ayoade already made a name for himself as a comedian on British television where he’s starred in cult favourites like Darkplace and The IT Crowd, but now he wants to leave that behind for a new career as a film director.

His feature length debut Submarine is one of the most pleasant surprises of this year’s Toronto International Film Festival, a hilarious and dark coming-of-age comedy that revels in adolescent awkwardness and French New Wave inspired cinematic playfulness.

When speaking to Metro, Ayoade made it clear that he certainly won’t miss his time in front of the camera.

“I’m sure the performances I’ve done will help segue myself out of the acting. So it’s probably taken care of itself,” joked Ayoade. “I never particularly aimed to be a performer. But I’ve always wanted to direct so I thought maybe performing would help.”

Though he may not be willing to admit it, Ayoade is a talented actor with a gift for finely observed character comedy, which has already proved to translate into his writing and directing. The details of teenage life he mines for laughs in Submarine are embarrassingly accurate, something that Ayoade felt was missing from British film.

“It’s not really a subject that exists that much in our films or TV. There would never be the equivalent of My So Called Life or The Graduate. Adolescence seems somewhat American in a way. The English are more Victorian. There’s childhood and then there’s adulthood and there’s not allowed to be much in between. I’ve always liked those films and wondered if it even was possible to do in England.”

The director has certainly accomplished translating this brand of humour to the U.K. in Submarine. Whether or not the film will have the same shelf life as it’s influences remains to be seen.

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