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Q&A – Director Duncan Jones Explores Dark Side of Moon

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Duncan Jones has a dilemma: He wants to promote his directorial debut Moon, but he doesn’t want to give too much away. So we could take the safe road, and tell you that he’s David Bowie’s son; the movie stars Sam Rockwell; and the plot concerns a man working on the moon on a three-year contract. Or we can give you the more interesting version filled with SPOILERS referencing 2001: A Space Odyssey and Blade Runner. We opted for the latter. You’ve been warned.

Q: Everyone I know who has seen this movie walks out of the theater debating — what Sam Bell would do next, why he was cloned in the first place, what the motivations of Lunar Industries were; whether it was humane, or purely corporate?

A: I like the sound of the first one, but my idea is more like the second. The company doesn’t really think of the clones as human beings. They’re really just a resource, same as the Helium-3 he’s there to mine. You design them to function for three years because that’s the amount of work you can get out of a person, and the background memories are just there to make sure they feel human enough to do their job properly. But the first option is more heartfelt. And you know what, that works. Why does it have to be one or the other?

Q: With the replicants in Blade

A: Does he seem like the kind of guy who would go on a vendetta?
I don’t know if he is. It really depends if you think he’s a half-empty
or a half-full kind of guy. He may think, “If I just have three years
left, I might as well go and enjoy myself, see what I can do, make the
best of it.” He’s probably going to try to find the daughter he has,
but doesn’t have. This is just spoiler-country! [laughs]. That’s where the audience should be left to interpret it.

Q: What’s the Oscar campaign going to be for Sam Rockwell — best actor and best supporting actor for the same movie? 

A: It has to be both! He plays multiple roles, and he does them
all exquisitely well. Sam and I broke down the different versions of
Sam Bell — how they come into conflict, how they resolve that, how you
discover what he’s like as a person, what he used to be like, how he’s
changed. That’s part of the point of the film, seeing who Sam is.

Kevin Spacey, on the other hand, they’d have to come up with a
new category for him — perhaps at the MTV Movie Awards, Best Voice in
a Film? I always wanted Kevin Spacey for Gertie, because having a robot
or a machine like that in this, you’re obviously going to draw
comparisons to Hal in 2001, and then you’ll have these erroneous assumptions of what Gertie is going to be — we really are giving everything away!

Q: What did Ridley Scott think of Moon?

A: He liked it, which was fantastic. I said, “I hope you don’t
mind if I keep ripping off your films,” and he said, “That’s OK, I rip
people off all the time.”

Q: That’s good news, considering what you want to do in Berlin.

A: Absolutely. The next film is definitely inspired by Blade Runner. Where Blade Runner
was in Los Angeles, this story would be going on at the same time in
Berlin. None of the same characters, nothing to do with the replicants,
but the same feel. But it’s quite different, and quite different than most science fiction films being made these days.

Q: Like Transformers, or the new Terminator

A: I think there is something unfortunate the big budget science
fiction films are really about “how do we go from this one big action
set piece to the next?” They kind of miss the point about telling a
story. That’s why James Cameron’s original Terminator films
really worked, because you cared about Sarah Connor. It’s very
different from what we’re getting now. But I did love the new Star Trek from J.J. Abrams. And I can’t wait to see Avatar.

Q: Were you a scifi fan growing up? Is this something that runs in the family?

A: I’ve always been a huge fan, and my dad was always giving me literature, like George Orwell’s 1984, John Wyndham’s Day of the Triffids. And later on, I was reading a lot of J.G. Ballard, Philip K. Dick, William Gibson, and watching films like Blade Runner and Star Wars. But I think I’m more of a universal geek, not just a science fiction geek.

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