Posted September 20, 2011 by Marcia Degia - Publisher in Features

Writer Joe Dunthorne

FilmJuice talked to one of the celebs taking part, Joe Dunthorne, writer of the smash-hit UK film Submarine.

Swarovski have teamed up with some of the brightest stars working across fashion, film, art, music
and science
to celebrate their exciting move into cinema. This panel of creative ambassadors (including FilmJuice!) will individually select some
of their most-loved and best-hidden gems of London to become one of the
40 locations in
large-scale citywide treasure hunt on Saturday 24 September, to win a trip of a life time.
FilmJuice talked to one of the celebs taking part, Joe Dunthorne, writer of the smash-hit UK film Submarine.

Congratulations on your first screenplay! How did it jump from print to big screen?

Well, it was an unusual, organic process. I have always been a big fan of Warp Records (who release lots of my favourite music: Aphex Twin, Squarepusher, PVT, Born Ruffians, Plaid etc). In fact, their website was my homepage. One day, I saw they had started a film company, Warp Films, and they were looking for an intern. My housemate, Ally Gipps, had studied film at university but was then working in Halifax bank. I suggested he apply for the internship and he got it. About six months later, I finished writing Submarine and Ally read it. Before it was even published, he’d given it to his boss, Mary Burke, who liked it enough to option it. Never before has their been a more disproportionate karmic response to the small good deed of showing a friend a job opportunity.

Are you surprised by its success?

I was surprised that the book did well, but I wasn’t that surprised by the film. I could tell Richard was a brilliant director, and the young actors, Craig and Yasmin, were such good discoveries — I had a good feeling about it. All the people who worked on it were really talented plus it had a great supporting cast in Sally Hawkins, Noah Taylor and Paddy Considine.

What would your advice to any novelist breaking into the business?

The most important thing is the writing. Contrary to popular belief, most published novelists have worked really hard to write as they do. Once you’ve written something you’re proud of, then perhaps send it to an agent, or send it to a writing magazine. The first place I was published was The New Writer magazine. There’s also good online writing communities, like

What was it like seeing your work on the big screen?

Incredible, and terrifying. I gripped on to the arm rests for ninety minutes. The first time it was the premiere at the Toronto Film Festival and it felt, to use Richard words, like a “ninety-minute heart attack.” Okay, maybe not quite that bad. A ninety-minute anaphylactic shock. (I have a peanut allergy, so I can say that.) Only as the credits rolled was I filled with a wave of relief and pride.

What was the biggest hurdle of your career?

Writing my new book in the third person. Before Wild Abandon, every time I tried to write in the third person, I always ended up sounding like a bad imitation of Jane Austen. The real challenge was to write in that perspective, but to keep hold of my own personality in the prose. Once I’d got used to it, there was an amazing feeling of freedom about being able to go anywhere, follow anyone, hear anything.

How hard was it to adapt your novel for the big screen?

Well, Richard Ayoade wrote the screenplay. I was script consultant, so it wasn’t hard for me. He sent me the drafts of the script and I said: “Great, Richard! Well done!”

What was your inspiration for the book?

Like most first novels, a lot of the story of Submarine was inspired by my childhood, growing up in Swansea. My parents try and convince their friends they are not as dysfunctional as the parents in the book/film. Their friends do not believe them.

Is it easier to get your screenplay made with a novel already in hand?

What next? Can you tell us anything about it?

I’m working on poetry now. It’s great. Such a good feeling to focus on something small and perfectable. I can’t see any of my poems being turned in to films, mind you.

Find out Joe Dunthorne’s secret location on the Swarovksi Treasure Hunt to WIN ‘a trip of a life time ‘on 24 September. By
downloading the app for free, either in Apple’s app store or Google’s android
market, players will be guided around a series of locations to complete
challenges and earn points. The top score can win the ultimate trip of a
lifetime to Paris, Barcelona, Florence or Istanbul, as well as a host of
sparkling prizes along the way! For more details click here.

Marcia Degia - Publisher

Marcia Degia has worked in the media industry for more than 10 years. She was previously Acting Managing Editor of Homes and Gardens magazine, Publishing Editor at Macmillan Publishers and Editor of Pride Magazine. Marcia, who has a Masters degree in Screenwriting, has also been involved in many broadcast projects. Among other things, she was the devisor of the documentary series Secret Suburbia for Living TV.