Duncan Jones to Squeeze in Blade Runner Homage, “Mute”

In an Empire exclusive interview at Comic-Con preview night, Duncan Jones revealed that his oft-delayed Indie sci-fi film Mute may finally have its shot. Jones has previously created two of the best science fiction films of the new millennium in 2009’s Moon and 2011’s Source Code. Both of those films were pleasant surprises. Source Code looked very foolish from the trailers, but other time-travelling movies could learn a great deal from how Jones navigates the difficulties with that particular subgenre (I’m looking at you, Terminator: Genisys). And, of course, Moon is a refreshing, feature-length bottle episode starring Sam Rockwell and Kevin Spacey’s voice. It would be a fantastic piece of work from any director – it was Jones’ first film.

Jones is obviously at Comic-Con to promote Warcraft, which is very close to wrapping but doesn’t open until June 2016. That grants Jones an 11-month period of freedom, and he wants to fill it with Mute. The specifics of Mute remain mysterious, but Jones has described it as a futurist thriller.  It isn’t a science fiction film which hinges around a central technology or concept. The story, according to Jones, could be set in any period, but just happens to be set in the future. So – then why set it in the future? Well, once you hear Jones explain that he envisions Mute as an homage to his favorite science fiction film of all time, Blade Runner, it becomes clear. The story must take place in the future in order to derive tone and atmosphere from its surroundings.

There’s no guarantee that this project is actually finally going to get off the ground, but Jones is confident that we may finally see him work on this darling of his. The screenplay has been doctored and updated for years in an attempt to adapt the story to a graphic novel, which may now have to wait until after the film is released. This is encouraging, as I believe that a strong script is the top determinant of a successful film – especially in the science fiction genre. The budget for the film is reported to be somewhere between that of Moon and Source Code, which seems dead-on for Duncan Jones. As far as I am concerned, this director has yet to falter, and I am eternally interested in the kinds of stories that he decides to tell. Here’s to hoping he is able to squeeze Mute in before Warcraft skyrockets him to national acclaim and his smaller projects get left by the wayside.

What have you thought of Duncan Jones’ previous two films? Are you excited for Warcraft or Mute – and how do you feel about the idea of creating an explicit homage to Blade Runner, especially when an actual Blade Runner sequel is in the works? Let me know in the comments section below!

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