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MOON

PERFECT SF QUESTION
"MOON was a challenge to write,” continues Jones. "There was a set of pretty stringent criteria that my producer, Stuart Fenegan, and I had come up with for ourselves, to give us the best chance of getting the film made. I had to keep in mind a very limited budget, $5M; keep the cast as small as possible; and write something that would best be done in a controlled studio environment, all while utilizing a very specific set of visual effects that would maximize production value for minimum cost. "I was writing it specifically for Sam Rockwell, so it had to have something fundamentally challenging or at least exciting for him to get his teeth into as an actor, but the film as a whole also needed to have mainstream appeal.

"It occurred to me that I could address many of the criteria we had set ourselves if Sam were to play multiple roles. Sam would get a challenge as an actor, I could keep my cast small and as a team we could focus most of our efforts on achieving a very specific type of visual effect. Cloning seemed to fit well into the embryonic story I was playing with of a man stuck in a moon base. I got excited thinking: "If you met you in person, would you like yourself?” I think it's the most brutal, honest and human question there is…and that makes it perfect for sci-fi.”

The dual-role challenge won over Rockwell. "It is not far fetched to say that the technical responsibilities put on Sam's shoulders were some of the most demanding an actor has been asked to deal with in recent years,” says Jones. "Other films in the past have had an actor perform with himself, but never to the degree that Sam did in MOON. His phenomenal skill and near infinite patience made MOON not only possible, but pushed back the boundaries on this very tricky and unforgiving effect. When you do it wrong, it's very obvious—and when you do it right, it's invisible. Films like Cronenberg's Dead Ringers and Spike Jonze's Adaptation previously wore the crown, and were inspirations to us. Now I hope people will look to MOON to see how it's done.”

Rockwell's performance won Kevin Spacey's participation, as well. "When we showed Kevin the rough cut,” says Jones, "Even with its temp sound and placeholder visual effects, he was just knocked out by how good Sam's performance was. He signed on then and there.”

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