The Furious Quandaries Of Richard Ayoade

Our columnist muses on preparing to play a character

The word is out about my nuanced and game-changing performance in the sci-fi romp-com Boom Goes The Neighborhood!

I’ve been deluged with suggestions for what I might do next, some more aggressive than others.

But before I even consider a new role I always make extensive notes and character analyses. Only then can I start my many metamorphoses.

CHARACTER: ‘CASHIER’
Note the absence of the definite article. It’s not THE CASHIER. It’s not A CASHIER. It’s CASHIER.

Pinter would have been proud: after all, he was a great writer.

CASHIER is mythic. CASHIER is unknowable. He (or she – I don’t know what gender I’ll play CASHIER as) stands for all cashiers.

Question: if Ewan McGregor were playing CASHIER, what accent would he use? Would it be the accent he employed in The Ghost? What accent was that?

Further thought: perhaps Apple could develop an app to help you identify what accent Ewan McGregor is doing when he’s in a film (in life, it’s posh Scottish).

CHARACTER: ‘UNCLE 1’
Clearly he’s not the only uncle in our little drama, but he is the first. Hunt for clues in the script.

One stage direction says ‘he’s kind of old-looking’. How does he feel about ageing and mortality?

In the scene where he says, ‘Helluva cake!’ does he mean it? Is it really the ‘best damn wedding cake he ever tasted’?

There are no other lines as such, but is it too much to detect a moment of menace when he ‘scratches his balls, oblivious’?

Or a trace of poignancy when he ‘trips over the HEAVY ORNAMENT and falls on his ass to the amusement of everyone’?

CHARACTER: ‘QUIET DUDE’
Already there’s conflict. Quiet vs dude. A battle rages in QUIET DUDE. A duel between two irreconcilable and oppositional forces.

This part will be a continuation of the psychological exploration I began when I played BORING-SEEMING ZOOKEEPER in Zoo Cops. (Note: I’m assuming QUIET DUDE is a ‘he’.

Dude-ishness suggests cock-sure masculinity, but one should always discuss this with the director to avoid embarrassment on set.

Many’s the time I’ve arrived at a shoot only to be rebuked for not being a woman.)

CHARACTER: ‘WEIRD MAN’
Judgement has no place in my process. For me he’s MAN. With all his complications, beauty and savagery.

Question: if Tom Cruise were playing this part, at what point would he take his top off?

Further question: if I were Cruise, would I even bother wearing tops or would I just stay home and play with my tits?

CHARACTER: ‘THIN PILOT’
The stress of his many missions has left him wan and emaciated. He’s ever ready to lay down his life for others, self-less, saint-like.

He has hands like a poet, and if he ever points one of his delicate fingers, it is to question authority or wipe away beads of sweat from a dying rear-gunner, never to oppress or preach or do anything unsavoury.

He’s a giving lover, and a steadfast buddy. Will need a corset.

Did you enjoy Richard's characterisations? Let us know below...

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