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Home / Entertainment / How We Made Moon – by Sam Rockwell and Duncan Jones | Movie

How We Made Moon – by Sam Rockwell and Duncan Jones | Movie



Duncan Jones, Director

I wanted Sam Rockwell to play the villain, a movie I later made for Netflix. But he wanted to play a worker. We both loved the sci-fi movies of the '70s and early' 80s – Silent Running, Alien, Outland – and the sense of realism and worldliness that brought them into space with a lot of everyday life, with jobs on Earth is comparable. So I said, "Let me see if I can write anything."

I developed the story of a man who mines helium-3 on the moon and hits his clone ̵

1; and Nathan Parker wrote the script. The moon base is called Sarang, the Korean word for love, because at the time I had a long distance relationship with a Korean girl. The frustration and sense of isolation that Sam Bell, the main character, feels is definitely something I've channeled. I also found it interesting to have the opportunity to meet from another point in your life and see how a mature version of itself interacts with a rougher, more emotional one. That's how I've certainly changed in the course of getting older.





  "The feeling of isolation of the main character, I've definitely channeled" ... Duncan Jones on the set.



"The feeling of isolation of the main character is definitely something I have …" Channeled Duncan Jones on set. Photo: c.Sony Pics / Everett / Rex Properties

My roommate Gavin Rothery has done much of the conceptual art. He gave the moon base and Gerty, the robot voiced by Kevin Spacey, her gaze. While working on it in London, we ordered so much food at Mexicali on Fulham Road that we finally used their takeaway boxes for Sam's space rations. We built the moon base as a complete 360-degree set and sealed the cast and crew at the start of the day. This sentence gave us confidence, even though it cost almost a third of our budget of $ 5 million (£ 3.9 million). It's hard enough to make a low-budget movie without worrying, "Oh, I can not swing here because I do not have enough movies."

We wanted things to be as real as possible. The miniature vehicle models have been given a lot of love and attention, but they require additional visual effects, such as dust, that dissolves from the tires. Then there was the problem of interaction between the two Sams.

Watch a trailer for Moon

Nowadays, this type of multiple performance achieved with CGI is quite common, but in the nineties it was much more difficult. We chose scenes that produced the most impressive visual effects with both clones, so the audience never felt betrayed. For the fight scene, Sam wrestled with a stunt guy wearing a green stocking over his head and we later exchanged him digitally.

I do not think Moon found the technology negative, but it was not very positive either. Right now I'm desperately hungry for more optimistic science fiction because we damn well need it. How is humanity coming out of this plight? Can we see a future that we can look forward to? Moon was 10 years ago and it's crazy how much the world has changed.

Sam Rockwell, actor

There is a part of every actor who wants to control every scene. So if you play both parts, you have that part. But Moon was still daunting: a brainfuck, for sure. To distinguish the clones, I started improvising with an actor friend, Yul Vazquez, and Duncan filmed us. I had heard Jeremy Iron's DVD commentary on Dead Ringers playing twins and he talked about contrasting energies. We did that: an alpha / beta thing. One clone was alone there for three years, so he was a bit of a Robinson Crusoe, a bit of a bitch. The other was full of testosterone.





  "I was very monastic at the time, just going to the gym and eating chicken, making cigarettes and drinking coffee."



"That was me very monastic at this time, just going to the gym and eating chicken, Turning cigarettes and drinking coffee … Sam Rockwell in Moon. Photo: Sony Pictures Classics / Sports Photo Ltd / Allstar

Duncan included all of this into the script, but was nevertheless worried that the audience would not know who was who. There was a whole conversation about using a wig and it was not a great wig. I said, "I really do not think we should do that." It would not have worked for the entire movie. I've been pushing to use wardrobe and make-up to subtly differentiate it. We've made tight fitting clothes and healthy make-up for the healthy clone, baggy clothes for the other. I used props such as reading glasses and a hat and stole Ratso Rizzo's cough for the sick clone of Midnight Cowboy.

Most of the time I was facing a tennis ball on a stand or Robin Chalk facing an actor who looked like me from behind. I've made up to go to the other clone two or three times a day – we've been trying to complete whole scenes. It was a wild experience. There was a writer's strike, so basically we were alone at Shepperton Studios. I was very monastic at the time, just going to the gym, eating chicken, making cigarettes and drinking coffee.

It is a milestone in my career – it was celebrated in this underground way. It contributed to the revival of intellectual science fiction, such as District 9 and Ex Machina. Who would have thought that the movie would have this life?

Moon is now available on 4K Blu-ray.


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