by Luke Thomas
British film director Duncan Jones has shocked dedicated film fans in the last few days by announcing that his film Mute is to finally enter production, with principal photography expected to begin next week. The film, which has been simmering in development hell for several years, will be based on a comic and script that Jones himself proposed as far back as 2011.
When Jones made the announcement on his personal Twitter account, the most persistent question put to him from users was whether the film would in any way be connected to his previous science fiction feature films Moon or Source Code, which have both found commercial and critical success. Jones’ reply is below;
Whilst not acting as a direct sequel, it is exciting that this film will act as a companion piece to Jones’s Moon, which masterfully juggled quiet science fiction concepts within an engaging and self-contained story. Away from the broader appeal of a blockbuster like Warcraft (the director’s latest project, that was released in cinemas earlier this year), it’s good news that Jones will be going back to the intelligent sci-fi that he began his career with.
The project was originally intended to be Jones’ directorial follow-up to his stunning debut feature, but unfortunately the film struggled to find significant financial support and fell apart. Over the course of five years fans have only been provided with small, fleeting glimpses of concept art and storyboards, which all seemed to show the film being a neo-noir piece of science fiction, set in a futuristic Berlin.
Alexander Skarsgard is set to play Leo Beiler, a mute bartender who goes against the gangs operating in the city to set out searching for his missing girlfriend. During his quest he meets an unusual pair of American surgeons (one played by Paul Rudd) who are somehow connected to her fate. The project is being described as a “science-fiction Casablanca“, whilst also having obvious allusions and homages to Blade Runner with its portrayal of the seedy underbelly of a futuristic society.
The final scenes of Moon show Sam Rockwell’s character Sam Bell, one of many clones working a solo mission on the moon, escaping to Earth to expose the unethical practices and illegal actions of the villainous Lunar Industries to the public. In an epilogue playing over the films credits, news reports describe how Sam’s testimony on the company’s activities in space have stirred up an enormous controversy worldwide, which has plummeted Lunar Industries stock.
With Sam Rockwell having being cast in the film and with the proposed links to Moon, it can be assumed that he will be reprising his role as Sam Bell or one of his lunar clones. Because Mute is to be set 40 years in our future, and Moon took place in 2035 (at the time of making 26 years in the future) it stands to reason that the new film will depict Earth in the aftermath of Sam’s revelations after Moon’s conclusion.
No matter how far Mute ends up being connected to Moon in terms of narrative and world, what is really exciting in this announcement is that an ambitious and artistic piece of original science fiction is to be produced within a newly established cinematic universe. With the unique vision Jones brought to Moon, it is very exciting to speculate what he will be bringing to this new, original project.
Mute is entering production next week, due for release in the near future.