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Philly2Philly interviews Duncan Jones, director of 'Source Code'

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Source Code, directed by up and coming talent Duncan Jones, has already garnered critical praise across the board. The science fiction thriller duncan jones source codeopens today nationwide.

Jones was kind enough to chat for a moment with Philly2Philly about taking on a big budget project, his love for Jake Gyllenhaal, and what initially drew him to the script and story.

P2P: So what is the Source Code?

DJ: Well, we have this character (Jake), who jumps from one reality to another. He’s being told that he’s not actually jumping into a parallel reality, he’s being sent to a simulation, a creation of the last 8 minutes of someone’s life. But throughout the film we see that he’s not just experiencing 8 minutes, he actually able to proactively do other things, and change things.

P2P: You wrote your first film Moon. How was it picking up a script somebody else had written? How closely did you work with the screenwriter?

DJ: I didn’t work closely with the screenwriter, Ben Ripley, at all. I think (Ben) had been working with the production company for a long time. By the time I came on board, some other writers had been involved. It was obviously very different from working on my own material, because you can look at it very objectively, and you can say what you think works, and what you think doesn’t work. When I read it, I found it took itself very seriously, and my feeling was it would be far better to lighten the tone, and inject some humor into the film.

P2P: Jake Gyllenhaal is terrific in the film. Why did you cast him in the role?

DJ: I’m a huge fan of Jake’s. He introduced me to script. I think he’s a terrific actor, and an incredibly brave actor if you look at the choices he’s made in the past. He’s one of those leading men who are naturally empathetic. The audience can immediately bond with him and get behind him.

P2P: Your first film Moon had a small budget. Why did you choose to tackle such a big budget film for your second effort?

DJ: I thought the script was good. I got excited about the fact that there were so many puzzles to solve, so many balls to juggle on this film. There’s a romance to it, a thriller, a mystery, there’s a sci-fi conceit. There’s some under the radar references to other science fiction films and TV shows (like Quantum Leap). I thought I could really have some fun with it.

P2P: What was the most challenging part about taking on such a big project?

DJ: With a smaller film, we were really able to make decisions on the fly while we were shooting. On a bigger project like Source Code, you’re dealing with millions of dollars of someone else’s money, and it’ someone else’s script. Obviously I have my approach to it, and hopefully I can convince everyone I need to that my approach is the right one. It’s like the difference between driving a speedboat and captaining an oil tanker. The challenge was to make sure the producers and the people who controlled the money were comfortable with the changes I needed to make.

P2P: You have already indicted that this is a film about characters. Were you worried that the elaborate special effects might overshadow that part of the movie?

DJ: I do believe that special effects, when they’re used best, are there for part of the storytelling. It doesn’t necessarily matter what the scale of them is, as long as they are there to do that job. I think you can get huge with them (special effects), but under the right moment and the right circumstances.

P2P: This is the second stellar science fiction film you’ve helmed. Will your next film be rooted in the genre as well?

DJ: I am going to do another science fiction film next. It will be something I have written myself, and it will be closer the hardcore side of sci-fi again. It’s hopefully going to do what I’ve always been aspiration ally wanting to do with a science fiction film but didn’t have the budget to. After that, I’m going to take a break from the genre and there’s some other kind of film’s I’d like to make.

Contact Jim Teti at  jteti@philly2philly.com

You can read Jim's movie review of Source Code right here on Philly2Philly!

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