South London gets its romcom moment
Rye Lane director Raine Allen-miller on showing a different side to her city
WHEN RYE LANE director Raine Allen-miller thinks of her native South London, she thinks of jerk seasoning, bright colours, and… pooches in strollers. She loves it so much that she’s made her unconventional romcom — and directorial debut — a tribute to the area. “It’s an amazing cultural hub, and the oddness is brilliant,” she tells Empire. “You get people walking around with a dog in a pram, and fake Louis Vuitton laundry bags. There’s nowhere like it.” Here’s her guide to the neighbourhood…
The film’s main characters, Yas (Vivian Oparah) and Dom (David Jonsson), meet in the unisex toilets of Copeland Art Gallery, before spilling out onto one of London’s busiest streets, Rye Lane. “Art is usually quite inaccessible, you feel like you have to have a degree to understand it,” Allen-miller says. “I didn’t want the gallery to feel like an exclusive, Mayfair-esque place. It felt nice to have them come out of a gallery and be plunked in the middle of a busy multicultural street.”
THE KARAOKE BAR
Yas and Dom stop by a karaoke bar on their mission to find a key to Yas’ ex-boyfriend’s flat, and are cajoled into a rendition of Salt-n-pepa’s ‘Shoop’. “The beauty of that bar is that it’s narrow. I really like spaces that feel big and have depth, and this felt bigger than it was,” says Allen-miller of Tola — which isn’t usually a karaoke spot.
“It was important to support local business. I didn’t want to find a location somewhere else that looked perfect — it had to be in Peckham.”
South London cinemas the Ritzy Picturehouse and Peckhamplex are both given the romcom treatment in Rye Lane. The latter, a multiplex with pink, ’80s-style interiors, barely needed any tweaks to fit Allen-miller’s vision. “I really like incorporating as much colour as possible [into my work]. I’m known for wanting to paint every location, because I really don’t like white walls,” the director says. “You don’t need to do any production design in Peckhamplex; it’s already perfect! That’s the beauty of South London, so much of it is already so colourful. I like things to feel juicy all the time.” Richard Curtis had better be taking notes.
RYE LANE IS IN CINEMAS FROM 17 MARCH