We have new images as well as the poster and the trailer for Sony Pictures Classics' "Moon," starring Sam Rockwell, Kaya Scodelario, Matt Berry, Dominique McElligott and Kevin Spacey as the voice of Gerty.
The film premiered at this year's Sundance Film Festival and will be released in limited areas on June 12th. Duncan Jones makes his feature-lenght directorial debut on the film based on his original story. Newbie writer Nathan Parker writes the screenplay.
What's "Moon" about?
It is the near future. Astronaut Sam Bell is living on the far side of the moon, completing a three-year contract with Lunar Industries to mine Earth’s primary source of energy, Helium-3. It is a lonely job, made harder by a broken satellite that allows no live communications home. Taped messages are all Sam can send and receive.
Thankfully, his time on the moon is nearly over, and Sam will be reunited with his wife, Tess, and their three-year-old daughter, Eve, in only a few short weeks. Finally, he will leave the isolation of “Sarang,” the moon base that has been his home for so long, and he will finally have someone to talk to beyond “Gerty,” the base’s well-intentioned, but rather uncomplicated computer.
Suddenly, Sam’s health starts to deteriorate. Painful headaches, hallucinations and a lack of focus lead to an almost fatal accident on a routine drive on the moon in a lunar rover. While recuperating back at the base (with no memory of how he got there), Sam meets a younger, angrier version of himself, who claims to be there to fulfill the same three year contract Sam started all those years ago.
Confined with what appears to be a clone of his earlier self, and with a “support crew” on its way to help put the base back into productive order, Sam is fighting the clock to discover what’s going on and where he fits into company plans.
I have always been a fan of science fiction films. In my mind, the golden age of SF cinema was the ‘70s, early ‘80s, when films like Silent Running, Alien, Blade Runner and Outland told human stories in future environments. I’ve always wanted to make a film that felt like it could fit into that canon.
There are unquestionably less of those kind of sci-fi films these days. I don’t know why. I have a theory though: I think over the last couple of decades filmmakers have allowed themselves to become a bit embarrassed by SF’s philosophical side. It’s OK to “geek out” at the cool effects and “oooh” and “ahh” at amazing vistas, but we’re never supposed to take it too seriously. We’ve allowed ourselves to be convinced that SF should be frivolous, for teenage boys. We’re told that the old films, the Outlands and Silent Runnings, were too plaintive, too whiney.
I think that’s ridiculous. People who appreciate science fiction want the best for the world, but they understand that there is an education to be had by investigating the worst of what might happen. That’s why Blade Runner was so brilliant; it used the future to make us look at basic human qualities from a fresh perspective. Empathy. Humanity. How do you define these things? I wanted to address those questions.
Quite a few years ago I read Entering Space by the renowned astronautical engineer, Robert Zubrin. Zubrin put forward a wholly scientific and engaging case for why and how humanity should be colonizing our solar system. It was a nuts-and-bolts approach to space exploration, and took into account the fiscal appetites that would make space colonization attractive in our capitalist world. One of the first steps recommended was to set up a “shake-and-bake” Helium-3 mining facility on the moon to extract fuel for fusion-powered generators.
The book made a real impression on me. I couldn’t help thinking that that first step into space habitation, a step that would be made for profit rather than purely scientific reasons, was a fascinating conflict of interests. Companies by their very nature would seek to extract the maximum amount of raw materials from any endeavor, for a minimum outlay of costs. That’s just good business. But without any locals, without human rights groups or oversight to keep an eye on things, what might a company try to get away with? What might even the most benign, “green” corporation be willing to do? What would they do to a lone, blue-collar caretaker on a base on the far side of the Moon?
These are some of the basic ideas that informed the science fiction setting of MOON, but this belies the root of the film; its human element. MOON is about alienation; it’s about how we anthropomorphize technology; it’s about the paranoia that strikes you when you are in a long distance relationship; and it’s about learning to accept yourself. A lot to take on for a little indie film, but maybe that was the best place to try. It is “only science fiction” after all.