A scene from Brian And Charles

Interview: Brian And Charles’s David Earl and Chris Hayward on bringing up a “teenage” robot

They’re an odd couple, but they were the toast of Sundance London, winning the Audience Award, and now they’re arriving in cinemas.

Brian And Charles is the brainchild of David Earl and Chris Hayward, who play the title roles. Solitary inventor Brian (Earl) spends all his time creating gadgets – some of them more useful than others – but when he builds a robot from a mannequin and an old washing machine, it changes his life radically. He names his unconventional companion Charles (Hayward) and the bulky android soon becomes an essential part of his life.

Earl and Hayward had played the duo for some years on the comedy circuit before taking the idea online. In the exclusive interview below, they explain they hadn’t thought any further than making a short film, so its success and the subsequent approach from Film 4 to make a feature both came as something of a surprise.

The mockumentary follows Brian and Charles as their unlikely relationship develops and the robot starts to grow up in a very human way. That aspect of the story was inspired by Earl’s experience as a father: his son was around 14 years old while work on the film was in progress. He also accompanied his dad to see the film at Sundance or, as Earl describes it, “The real Charles was in the room!”

Brian And Charles is released in cinemas on Friday, 8th July. | Read our review of the film here.