Simon Amstell readying mid-life crisis film

Wednesday 15th September 2021, 10:13am by Jay Richardson

  • Simon Amstell has written his third film, which he hopes to start production on shortly
  • It will focus on a "deranged" woman in her thirties, embarking on an emotional journey akin to his own
  • He explained: "It's about learning to grow up, learning to take responsibility, for yourself and other people"
Simon Amstell

Simon Amstell has given the fullest description yet of his next film.

Focusing on a "deranged" woman in her thirties embarking on an emotional journey, the comic plans to begin work on his semi-autobiographical third feature when his stand-up tour Spirit Hole concludes, with the current dates running till November.

Reflecting once again on freeing himself from ego and shame in his latest live show, as well as potential parenthood, Spirit Hole and the film share similar themes of "control" and anxiety about middle-age.

With the title yet to be disclosed, the film is "a bit about what the stand-up starts being about, which is about a person terrified of getting older and what do you do about that?" he told Dominic King on his BBC Radio Kent show.

"Her crisis is worse than mine is, slightly. It's about learning to grow up, learning to take responsibility, for yourself and other people."

Earlier this month, Amstell told Radio 4's Saturday Live that both the film and his tour were inspired by a conversation that he'd had with his boyfriend about them potentially having a baby.

"A baby!" he exclaimed to presenters Nikki Bedi and the Reverend Richard Coles. "I've only ever lived in flats, the idea of having a baby, I haven't even had stairs!

"So yeah, I started thinking a lot about that stuff. And what I tend to do is write all the confusion out of me. So by the time that I finished writing that feature film and the stand-up show, I'd found a place where I understood where I was, who I'd been, who I could be. It is all alright."

Amstell has previously written and directed two films, the 2017 mockumentary Carnage, satirically looking back on the present when meat-eating is socially acceptable from the perspective of a 2067 when veganism is the norm. And 2018's Benjamin, a comedy drama about the titular filmmaker's struggle to connect with his French musician boyfriend.

The protagonist in his third film will be "even more deranged" than writer-director Benjamin, Amstell told the NME in July.

"There was one scene where I had my character masturbating in a tree and my [female] agent thought that would be tricky for the average woman to do so I removed it," he explained. "But apart from that, I had someone's voice in mind when I was writing her so it didn't feel different."

The Spirit Hole tour continues.

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