Watch: Raine Allen-Miller talks to Yahoo about Rye Lane
As Rye Lane bursts onto cinema screens this week, its director Raine Allen-Miller has issued a challenge to other directors.
“It’s time for a new style of romantic comedy,” the director tells Yahoo UK. And he believes his South London-set romantic comedy could be the start.
For her, the genre too often falls into the trap of being corny and formulaic and in need of a change. “There are some really great ones out there, like 10 Things I Hate About You,” she explained.
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“But there was an era of really cheesy ones, with posters showing actors back to back. Why were they always back to back?
He believes that Richard Curtis’ romantic comedies have had their day and subvert that style from the film’s opening moments. Rye Lane’s Cute Encounter takes place in an outhouse.
Yas (Vivian Oparah) has retreated there to freshen up and finds Dom (David Jonsson) in a cubicle, crying for his ex. Allen-Miller admits that the idea for it was his.
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“At first I really liked the idea of a bunch of toilets from all over the world and then it was really fun to have them in the bathroom too,” she explained.
“The other thing is that rom-coms are often pretty cheesy and I think if the cute encounter is in a lavatory, nobody can say it’s cheesy. The bathrooms aren’t crappy, are they? They will never be sappy. Can you imagine anything cheesy happening in a toilet, other than a mirror selfie?
Despite their unpromising start, Yas and Dom get to know each other over the course of a day, wandering the colorful streets of Peckham and discovering that they are both going through painful breakups.
The film’s vibrant energy captured hearts at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year and was screened at both the Glasgow and Manchester Film Festivals ahead of its UK premiere last week, which took place in Peckham.
It’s littered with cheeky nods to other rom-coms: There’s a burrito bar called Love Guac’tually, with a familiar heartthrob serving Yas and Dom their food.
But, although he directed the film, Allen-Miller doesn’t like romantic comedies. “I’m a movie fan,” she says. “I like comedies – comedies with a genre, like horror comedy. But romantic comedies are not my thing.
Then he adds, with a characteristically confident smile: “but I won’t just do romantic comedies.
Rye Lane is his first feature film after a successful career in advertising. Alongside David Jonsson (seen last year in TV’s Industry) and Vivian Oparah (coming to the small screen later this year in Then You Run), the cast also includes Simon Manyonda, Levi Roots, Benjamin Sarpong-Broni and a number of Peckham locals.
Rye Lane opens in UK cinemas on 17 March. Watch a trailer below.