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Famous Fanboys

Famous Fanboys: "Moon" Director Duncan Jones

We chatted with Duncan Jones, director of the new sci-fi film "Moon" and long-time Marvel Comics fan.

Actor Sam Rockwell with director Duncan Jones on the set of "Moon"
By Ryan Penagos and Rachel Epstein

Watching the new film "Moon," anyone can plainly see that in addition to the blood, sweat, tears and love that went into making the movie, the cast and crew also has brought a strong influence of old school sci-fi admiration and appreciation. Take, for example, director Duncan Jones.

We caught wind of Jones' sci-fi background by following him on Twitter and catching an interview with the auteur on starwars.com. Naturally, we approached Jones to find out if his love spreads to Marvel, his experience working with "Moon" and "Iron Man 2" star Sam Rockwell and much more!

And if you haven't been able to catch "Moon" in its limited release window, don't fret! "Moon" opens nationwide today! Take a gander at all the theaters currently screening and scheduled to screen "Moon."


Marvel.com: As a kid who grew up in the '70s playing with Smurfs and Star Wars figures and no stranger to comics, who were your favorite Marvel characters?

Duncan Jones: From Marvel?  I'd have to go with Ghost Rider, Silver Surfer, Thor...  Wolverine was very cool, but I came from an era when Conan was with Marvel, and that was the comic I loved best.  I read a lot of [science fiction] of course, but actually probably read more fantasy, when I think about it, and Conan was always the comic I would hunt down first, when I was in a shop that sold them.  Weird, considering I am now thought of as a sci-fi geek!  Ahh Conan... would have loved to have the chance to do a Conan the King film!

Marvel.com: Did you lean towards the sci-fi stuff, horror stuff—which was big in the '70s, super heroes or a big mish-mash?

Duncan Jones: Think the latter, to be honest.  Thing was, because my family was traveling so much when I was a kid, I didn't really know what would be available wherever I was, so sometimes it would be Hulk, sometimes Spidey, other times I would get lucky and get my hands on some Ghost Rider or Conan... never knew what it would be.

Marvel.com: Do you still read or follow along with Marvel comics? Marvel movies? Anything that's particularly caught your attention recently?

A still from the film "Moon"
Duncan Jones: Loved the "Iron Man" film... and obviously "Spider-Man" was terrific.  I have a huge amount of respect for what Sam Raimi did with that.  Very much looking forward to seeing how Mr. Branagh takes on "Thor"...  The thing I cant WAIT to see is Sam Rockwell facing off with RDJ in "Iron Man 2."  Thats going to be some big-fun!

Marvel.com: What are some of your hobbies and interests, besides making amazing sci-fi thriller films?

Duncan Jones: I'm a big time computer gamer.  PC, not console.  Funnily enough, I kind of feel like there is a bit of a dip in the depth of gameplay in the games-world in the same way as I feel there has been with sci-fi films.  "Call of Duty World at War" eats up most of my time... I dip into ["World of Warcraft"] and "Left 4 Dead" once in a while... looking forward to "Starcraft II" and have my fingers crossed hard that "Deus Ex 3" redeems the franchise.  I go to the gym a lot, as I've reached an age where if I don't, Im going to know it fast... particularly because my diet is so bad. I'm addicted to cupcakes and Indian curry, damn it!  (Not together, of course.  One after the other.  I'm not a monster.)  Trying to learn a couple of languages... German, because it's where I will shoot the next film, and Korean, just 'cause I like it.

Marvel.com: You grew up in the entertainment industry, but then pursued a degree in philosophy.  What sparked your interest in film?

Duncan Jones: Film came first, to be honest.  I hated music as a kid, and after about my 7th instrument, my dad gave up on trying to get me interested in being into music.  We started messing around with an old 8mm film camera when I was 6 or 7 and I loved it!  It basically became our father/son bonding hobby.

Marvel.com: You call yourself "a huge sci-fi fan and a bit of a geek."  Who are some of your influences-be they writers, directors or otherwise? What inspired you to choose "Moon" as your directorial debut?

Duncan Jones: As far as sci-fi goes, I was a JG Ballard fan, a William Gibson fan and, (besides Marvel of course,) a 2000AD fan.  (A british comic book that was sci-fi heavy and the originator of Judge Dredd.)  I loved and still do love Ridley Scott, Jim Cameron, Terry Gilliam, Douglas Trumbull and Peter Hyams.  Obviously Kubrick as well.  Thought "Hardware" was a great little film!  Actually, so was "Blood of Heroes" (also known as "Salute of the Jugger") starring Rutger Hauer.  That was written by David Peoples, who is the same guy who wrote both "12 Monkeys" AND the "Blade Runner" script; THAT is a man I need to meet!  There's lots more, but thats a taste on the sci-fi influences, at least.

Actor Sam Rockwell in the film "Moon"
Marvel.com: What do you hope audiences take away from the film "Moon"?

Duncan Jones: Merchandise... lots and lots of merchandise.  Haha!  If only we HAD merchandise!  Too much of an indie for that, I'm afraid!  Truthfully, I would like them to take away an appreciation for the films that we are paying homage to.  And maybe even go out and hunt down an old copy of "Outland" or "Silent Running" if they haven't seen it before.  That would be good.

Marvel.com: Music plays a key role in any movie, particularly in "Moon." How did you link up with Clint Mansell and how did you work together to incorporate the soundtrack so tightly with the movie?

Duncan Jones: I met Clint quite a few years ago, and got on well with him.  When we were cutting the film, we found ourselves using a lot of his "Requiem" soundtrack in the film, and thought he was well out of our budget. I thought I would hit him up and see if he might consider us a charity case... fortunately, he loved what we were doing and cut us a deal!  (Think there may have been a little patriotism going on there too, with him a Brit expat in Los Angeles.)

Working with him was fantastic.  I was in London, and he was in LA, so there were a lot of phone calls and emails, but I did get out to LA a handful of times, and we got a lot done in those short, but intense sessions.  Hopefully next time we work together, we should be able to do it working more closely.

Marvel.com: Do you see yourself possibly ever collaborating with your father [David Bowie] in the future on one of your film projects?

Duncan Jones: Nope. Not anything I can think of... I have a huge respect for him, but I think I have made such an effort to make a path for myself on my own terms, that would defeat the work of over a decade. Maybe when we are both old men. ;)

Actor Sam Rockwell in the film "Moon"
Marvel.com: How was it working with Sam Rockwell on the set of "Moon"?  Do you look forward to his performance as Justin Hammer in "Iron Man 2"?

Duncan Jones: Sam's brilliant.  Professional, dedicated, generous and funny.  Just the kind of guy you want to work with, and as a first time feature director, I couldnt have been more fortunate.  Am I looking forward to "IM2"?  Absolutely! And from what Sam has told me, you should be looking forward to it too! ;)

Marvel.com: So what's next?  You just announced "Mute."  Can you elaborate more on that? 

It's another sci-fi film, a thriller that takes place in a future Berlin.  I'm still fighting to make sure it goes ahead, but if it doesn't, I'm always ready to step in for Mr. Branagh! 


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      I've just seen 'Moon' and it's a wonderful movie...Convince Mr Jones to make a Marvel comic adaptation....( He talked about Conan but don't pay attention...Ghost Rider would be great... )