How To Talk To Girls At Parties

How to Talk to Girls at Parties © See-Saw Films, © Little Punk

John Cameron Mitchell’s punk alien love story How To Talk To Girls At Parties, starring Elle Fanning, Nicole Kidman & Alex Sharp filmed in Sheffield and London and was released in UK & US cinemas in 2018. Screen Yorkshire invested in the See-Saw Films and Little Punk production through its Yorkshire Content Fund.

How To Talk To Girls At Parties, directed by John Cameron Mitchell (Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Shortbus), is based on a short story by Neil Gaiman (Coraline) from his collection “Fragile Things”. The screenplay has been written by Philippa Goslett (Little Ashes) with John Cameron Mitchell. The cast is led by Elle Fanning (Maleficent, Super 8) with Tony Award winning Alex Sharp (The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time) and Academy Award® winner Nicole Kidman (Paddington and upcoming Lion).  Kidman re-unites with John Cameron Mitchell who directed her Academy Award® nominated performance in Rabbit Hole in 2010.

Other roles are played by Golden Globe winner Ruth Wilson (Locke, The Affair), Matt Lucas (Alice in Wonderland, Bridesmaids) and Joanna Scanlan (Tulip Fever, The Invisible Woman).

How to Talk to Girls at Parties © See-Saw Films, © Little Punk


Under the spell of the Sex Pistols, every teenager in the country wants to be a punk, including our hopeless hero Enn. Crashing local punk queen Boadicea’s party, Enn discovers every boy’s dream; gorgeous foreign exchange students. When he meets the enigmatic Zan, it’s love at first sight.

But these teens are, in fact, aliens from outer space, sent to Earth to prepare for a mysterious rite of passage. When their dark secret is revealed, the love-struck Enn must turn to Boadicea and her followers for help in order to save the girl he loves from certain death. When the punks take on the aliens, neither Enn’s nor Zan’s universe will ever be the same again.

Filming locations

The 30-day shoot spanned Wapping, London suburbs Richmond and Ham, Sheffield and Croydon, all used to represent the 1970s-era Croydon of the original tale.


Described Producer Howard Gertler of the local crew, from New York-based Little Punk, who worked with Mitchell on Shortbus, enjoyed the foray into the UK.

Gertler first read the short story in Gaiman’s Fragile Things collection and loved it. “It was a punk alien love story in 10 pages. There was mystery to it, there was fun, there are some scary moments, — it was all there.” The adaptation, he felt, “could bring together these two visions of John and Neil… it feels totally new.” Gaiman is an executive producer.

Canning adds:I love that a story like this can entice a wonderful film-maker like John to the UK. The combination of such a singular director as John mixed with some very British elements — punk, Croydon, the incredible costumes by Sandy Powell — was an irresistible combination.”

one of the most exciting scripts I’ve read this year

Hugo Heppell, Head of Investments at Screen Yorkshire says.

“We are thrilled to see ‘How To Talk To Girls At Parties’ come to fruition and to Yorkshire. The cast and creative talent are exceptional, and it is one of the most exciting scripts I’ve read this year.”

Howard Gertler (Shortbus, World’s Greatest Dad, How to Survive a Plague) is producing alongside Iain Canning and Emile Sherman of See-Saw Films (Shame, Macbeth and the upcoming Lion), and John Cameron Mitchell.

The creative team includes director of photography Frank DeMarco (All is Lost, Rabbit Hole), production designer Helen Scott (The Selfish Giant, Fish Tank), multi-Academy Award® winning costume designer Sandy Powell (Carol, Cinderella), editor Brian A. Kates (Kill your Darlings, Rabbit Hole) with original music from Nico Muhly (Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, Kill Your Darlings), Xiu Xiu and Matmos.

How To Talk To Girls At Parties is financed by Film4, Screen Yorkshire’s Yorkshire Content Fund and Delish Films. HanWay Films handles international sales, with Studio Canal distributing in the UK and A24 in the US.