During the run-up to Warcraft, Duncan Jones revealed that he already had a follow-up project in the works. It wasn’t another blockbuster that would cost a studio hundreds of millions of dollars, but a companion to his quiet debut film, Moon.
Mute is a long-simmering project that he’s been talking about making for years, and it goes into production next week. The film will star Paul Rudd and Alexander Skarsgard in a futuristic version of Berlin, in which a mute bartender (Skarsgard) goes against a gang to figure out what happened to his missing partner. Get excited.
Moon was a brilliant movie
Jones made a splash with his debut film, Moon, when it arrived in 2009. It followed Sam Bell (Sam Rockwell), a miner for Lunar Industries who’s going stir crazy after three years cooped up in an isolated station. While he’s up there, he discovers that he’s one of many clones who have been pressed into service on the station.
Moon came out in a really crowded year for science fiction. James Cameron released his long-awaited film Avatar, while Star Trek returned from a long hiatus at the hands of J.J. Abram’s Star Trek and Neill Blomkamp made a splash with his debut film District 9. There was a lot going on, but Jones’ quiet, unassuming film was easily the best science fiction film of the year. Jones showed that even with a limited budget (Moon was shot for around $5 million), he could pack in an enormous emotional punch that big budget science fiction movies like Avatar and Star Trek really couldn’t deliver.
Mute takes place in the same world as Moon
This film will take place in the same universe as Moon. It’s not entirely clear how they will connect to one another, but it’s something that Jones has talked about in the past. It’s less a sequel and more of a companion piece, one that uses the same design and framework in which to set its story. Moon ends with Sam Bell returning to Earth, with some chatter about the fallout that Lunar Industries incurred by their use of clones, and Jones has said that we’ll likely see a cameo from Sam Rockwell somewhere in the movie.
Mute pays homage to other science fiction films
Jones has said that Moon was inspired by films of the 1970s, such as Alien, Silent Running and Outland, in its production design and story. Mute appears to be inspired by another grouping of science fiction movies, particularly Blade Runner. Set in a futuristic Berlin, it looks as though Skarsgard’s character will cross the city’s criminal underworld as he searches for a missing friend.
Jones has been working on Mute for over a decade
If anything, Mute is a labor of love for Jones. He’s noted in interviews that he came up with the story for the film long before he worked on Moon, and it’s a project that he’s been working on ever since. It’s been shelved a couple of times, and it was even supposed to be turned into a comic book from Dark Horse Comics at one point. Now, with a major blockbuster under his belt, he’s finally been able to push through and get it produced.
Clint Mansell is returning
It’s a small thing, but one of the best parts about Moon was the fact that Clint Mansell was responsible for the score. It’s a haunting, beautiful soundtrack that perfectly complements the movie, and Mansell has signed on to score Mute as well, which means that this film will sound amazing.
Moon gets Jones back to telling a deeply personal story
Since directing Moon, Jones has gone on to direct two more films: Source Code and Warcraft. Source Code could have been a crappy thriller, and I enjoyed Warcraft a bit more than Peter Jackson’s Hobbit films, but neither really matched Moon when it came to emotional intensity. Mute looks to be Jones at his unvarnished best, and that’s something to get excited for.