Space oddity

Posted by · 4:54 pm · May 6th, 2009

MoonIt’s hardly the only intriguing thing about “Moon” — the oddball sci-fi effort that Kris greatly admired earlier this week — that director Duncan Jones is in fact the rather more infamously named Zowie Bowie. Still, you must admit that an intimate space epic directed by the son of Ziggy Stardust has a certain symbolic cache to it; clearly, if the reviews are to be believed, visionary eccentricity (not to mention otherworldly interests) runs in the family.

I must admit I wasn’t aware of this fact until I read this profile of Jones and his leading man, Sam Rockwell, in the New York Observer. It’s a fun piece, in which the two kindred spirits essentially try to outperform each other in the quirky loner stakes — loneliness being, they agree, the core theme of the film. It also offers some insight into the process behind Rockwell’s reportedly extraordinary dual performance:

“It became part of this ingredients list of how do I make a film that Sam wants to be in? I know, I’ll make him play all the roles … and write the theme music, too,” Mr. Duncan joked.  It was indeed a challenge for Mr. Rockwell, who had to shoot each scene multiple times, either with a body double or using a Motion Control camera that can replicate body movements identically. Mr. Rockwell would act out the scene, go to hair and makeup to differentiate between the two characters, and then come back to set and do it all over again. It became what the two men described as a kind of dance, having to stick to precise moments to make the scene work—action scenes when the two Sams fight or play Ping-Pong were particularly difficult.

Rockwell, meanwhile, refers to David Cronenberg’s “Dead Ringers” as a key influence for him, which would be enough to get me in line if I weren’t there already. I’m really pleased to see Rockwell getting such a complex showcase for his skills — I’ve loved the guy ever since “Lawn Dogs” (now there’s a title people don’t mention often enough these days) back in 1997, and always hope that each new lead will be the one to push him over the top. This is creeping very high up my most-anticipated list.

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3 responses so far

  • 1 5-06-2009 at 6:10 pm

    AmericanRequiem said...

    This is Bowies son… epic.

  • 2 5-06-2009 at 10:40 pm

    aaron said...

    this, along w/ public enemies, are my two most anticipated films of the year. is it only going to play in l.a. and ny?

    also, i remember rockwell from teenage mutant ninja turtles. props to anyone who can remember what character he was in that.

  • 3 5-08-2009 at 7:45 pm

    Chase Kahn said...

    Really, “greatly admired”? — I enjoyed it, thought it was a pretty decent, but it has more commercial appeal than I thought it was going to, which is hardly a compliment.

    Mansell’s score is brilliant at times, but I noticed one scene that felt extremely schmaltzy with a overdone piano chord.

    Ultimately, I think “Moon” is an admirable and enjoyable bit of sci-fi that is in search for a Kubrickian theme for 2 hours and comes up with a perfectly cut cookie.