"THERE'S A LOT OF HITCHCOCK AND DE PALMA"
Back in January, Comingsoon.net's Silas Lesnick posted an interview with Duncan Jones from the editing bay of his new film, Source Code, on which Paul Hirsch served as editor. In one section of the interview, Jones discusses having Hirsch on set during filming, and also cites Alfred Hitchcock and Brian De Palma as two big influences on Source Code, which he says he took on "to have a project which gave me some real scope to try things visually." Here is the excerpt involving Hirsch and De Palma:
CS: Can you comment a little on the editing? It seems like a time jumping plot like this lends itself specifically to filmmaking which is literally that.
Jones: Well, as I mentioned, Paul Hirsch is the editor on the film and Paul Hirsch -- who I keep calling Paul Hirsch every time, even though it's so informal. I call him Paul -- was with us on the shoot. So while we're there, he might say, "Can you grab this, because it's going to be really useful later on." There a lot of little details that, I have no problem saying, his experience is just so vast that any advice on coverage or on what things could be really useful to him, we went with. He was downstairs in the studio all the time. We were at the big studio in Montreal and he was putting an assembly together while we were shooting. There was a constant loop of feedback from him as I was shooting.
CS: There's a common theme in science fiction of perspective and of returning to an event time and again. What films jump to your mind as having inspired you in the making of "Source Code"?
Jones: It's strange because they're not really obvious ones. Certainly not ones that directly reference that sort of mechanic. There's a lot of Hitchcock and De Palma. We were trying to have the sensibilities of old Hitchcock movies.
CS: Hirsch has a very classic editing style. Is that something you went after very consciously?
Jones: You know, one of the things that people loved about the making of "Moon" was that we went with model miniatures and what's not known is that we actually went with a good split of models and CG work. I had a background in both doing commercials. In this film, there are definitely a few moments of showy CG work. For me more than anyone else. Hopefully we kept it very light where we could because, otherwise, it could get quite grim with the train explosion. I think we've got the mood right that allowed me to get a little surreal at moments. I think it's really good fun and I hope that people will feel that way. But yes, Paul has a real simplistic elegance to the way he works. But for him as well, he also has a huge amount of experience on effects. He knew that I wanted to have these little beats where it got a little bit surreal and a little bit weirder. I think we got that.
CS: You mentioned Brian De Palma, who also has, while it's not science fiction, a lot of characters unsure of their identities.
Jones: In this case, it wasn't really about films I had seen in the past that made me want to see this film. I think it was about the opportunity to be a bit surreal. To do something where some of my influences were Lucien Freud and a certain period of Picasso cubist paintings. I wanted to create visuals of things that I hadn't seen in film before. I wish I could show you some of the stuff later on because it does get really weird. It was more visual things that I wanted to do. When I was reading the script, I guess I did sense that there were certain scenes reflective of "Moon," but it was really about getting an opportunity to do something visually where I otherwise may never have the chance to do that. So I think, for me, that was the really fun bit.
CS: There are certainly, though, with a lot of filmmakers themes that directors tend to revisit.
Jones: It's weird. Hearing you ask me questions about that and knowing what I'm going to do next, you're right. There is something there. I don't know why... I haven't analyzed myself well enough to know that.
CS: Is the next thing something else that was brought to you?
Jones: No, the next one is something I originated.
DREW TAYLOR: "IF BRIAN DE PALMA HAD DIRECTED A SCRIPT BY RICHARD KELLY"
After Source Code premiered at SXSW last month, The Playlist's Drew Taylor posted a mostly positive review of the film. "And while the movie is very much a suspense piece," wrote Taylor, "with prolonged sequences of edge-of-your-seat tension that bring to mind what would have happened if Brian De Palma had directed a script by Richard Kelly, it has an incredibly romantic heart—one that is perhaps a little hokey at times, but a heart nonetheless."