Fast-rising British comedy talent Richard Ayoade joins Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn and Jonah Hill in the neighborhood comedy “The Watch” directed by award-winning writer and musician Akiva Schaffer (“Saturday Night Live”).
“The Watch” follows four suburban men who formed a group to guard their neighborhood after a series of unexplained fatalities start to toll in their town. Headed by the civic-minded Evan (Stiller), along with Bob (Vaughn), Franklin (Hill) and Jamarcus (Ayoade), the group initially follows some dubious teens who stay way past their bedtime, thinking they might find the culprit in their midst. It wasn’t long before they realize that they’re fighting forces greater than they have imagined. The four eventually comes to terms to settle their differences when the aliens start rummaging and rampaging through their watch in an attempt to take full control of earth.
To play the four members of “The Watch,” Levy and director Akiva Schaffer (a creative force on several famed “Saturday Night Live” short films) tapped three comedy icons and a new talent. “We wanted the best,” says Levy,” and so we went out and got the best – three titans …together in the same movie! And then we threw in the ‘grenade’ of ‘what the hell are you going to get with Richard Ayoade?’”
Ayoade is a British comedian, writer and director best known for his iconic portrayal of Maurice Moss, the beloved über-geek in the award-winning British sitcom, “The IT Crowd.” Ayoade’s innovative twist on the high-tech misfit has garnered him nationwide acclaim and honors including the Monte-Carlo Television Festival’s award for Outstanding Actor in a Television Comedy Series.
Equally masterful behind the camera, Ayoade’s foray into directing began with helming music videos for English indie rock bands such as the Arctic Monkeys and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. In 2010, he made his directorial feature debut with the coming-of-age adaptation, “Submarine,” which he also wrote that received rave reviews and garnered Ayoade a BAFTA nomination for Outstanding Debut.
Ayoade’s role Jamarcus, who is newly divorced and perpetually hungry for love, eagerly embraced The Watch’s off-kilter camaraderie. “Jamarcus feels that The Watch is an opportunity to burst out of his shell,” says Ayoade, who is also a noted filmmaker, having written and directed the acclaimed British film “Submarine.” Adds Schaffer: “He’s just looking to get out of the house and meet some ladies – and have sex with them.”
On the surface, Jamarcus is kind of an odd duck, but he may prove to be a secret weapon in the looming battle against the forces threatening the neighborhood. Levy says it was Ayoade’s “idiosyncratic energy” that made him perfect for the role. “He’s wildly inventive and completely strange in the best possible way. You never know what you’re going to get next with Richard.” “Richard is the one the audience isn’t expecting, so he can sucker-punch them…with lovable jokes,” Schaffer concurs.
Beyond the R-13 rated hilarity lies a story about four guys who were not complete, or their best selves, until they joined forces. As Bob admits to Evan: “You took a ragtag group of misfits and taught us there was something bigger than a few beers and some bro-time. You taught us about community and how important it is.”
“The Watch” opens September 5 in theaters from 20th Century Fox to be distributed by Warner Bros.