Author Topic: "Moon," by Mr. Duncan Jones (once AKA "Zowie Bowie," David's son)  (Read 12317 times)

Offline Aloysius J. Gleek

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Thirty five years ago, give or take, I was an undergraduate at NYU, and a friend of mine was at Manhattan's Hunter College. For a short while, my friend worked part-time at a Upper Eastside pre-school called 'AlphabetLand,' and one day she told me that David Bowie's daughter, Zowie Bowie, had just been enrolled. I said, "No, Nina, Bowie has a son--Zowie Bowie is a boy."

My friend, who knew nothing of music, and certainly knew little about David Bowie, was at first quite sceptical.

"Well," she finally said, "Zowie wears a dress."

Welcome, Mr. Duncan Zowie Haywood Jones. I'm very, very interested in seeing your movie!





http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/07/movies/07itzk.html?ref=movies?8dpc


Son of Major Tom, at Ground Control

Sam Rockwell in “Moon,” the first feature film directed by Duncan Jones, son of the singer David Bowie.
The film sums up Mr. Jones’s influences and marks his stepping out of his father’s long shadow.

By DAVE ITZKOFF
Published: June 3, 2009


It was inevitable that Duncan Jones’s first movie would be a science-fiction film. While he was growing up, Mr. Jones, the British director, said, his father made sure he read at least two hours a night, and turned him on to the speculative fiction of authors like George Orwell when he was as young as 8 or 9. Later, as a lonely adolescent, he was irresistibly drawn to the alternate realities presented in the novels of Philip K. Dick and J. G. Ballard. “My upbringing was pretty weird, anyway,” Mr. Jones, said recently, “so it was maybe less of a jump for me.”

If his name and his stately, Americanized accent do not immediately ring a bell, Mr. Jones is — for the moment — better known as the son of David Bowie, the glam rock star who populated his own parallel worlds with sci-fi alter egos like Ziggy Stardust and Halloween Jack, and who raised his son under the otherworldly name Zowie Bowie.



The director Duncan Jones (above, on the set of his film “Moon” ) acquired a love of movies from his dad, David Bowie.


Having reverted to his birth name some 20 years ago, Mr. Jones, now 38, and the only child of Mr. Bowie and his first wife, Angela, is making his feature directing debut with “Moon,”  a futuristic thriller that opens in New York and Los Angeles on Friday. For him the film is both a summation of his many youthful influences and a signal that he’s ready to step out of his father’s slender but estimable shadow.

“I’m glad I’ve waited until now, to be honest,” Mr. Jones said. “I was a bit of a delicate flower growing up, and I think it could have damaged me if I tried to do it any younger.”

A muscular man with a youthful face and a scruffy beard, Mr. Jones acquired his love of movies from his father. When Mr. Jones was a child, Mr. Bowie collaborated with him on homemade stop-motion animations and took him to the sets of his films like “Labyrinth”  and “Absolute Beginners.”  Mr. Jones also was almost certainly the first kid on his block to have a copy of “Star Wars”  on Sony U-matic video. (For that reason, he said, “I was like the coolest kid in school.”)

As an adult Mr. Jones pursued a Ph.D. in philosophy at Vanderbilt University in Nashville but dropped out to study moviemaking at the London Film School (then known as the London International Film School). After completing that program he slowly worked his way up the industry ladder, doing camerawork for Tony Scott on a television version of “The Hunger”  and directing music video and commercials, including a risqué spot for the clothing maker French Connection UK. (The ad, called “Fashion v. Style,”  depicted two women in a brutal fight, then kissing and making up.)

A couple of years ago Mr. Jones approached the actor Sam Rockwell with “Mute,”  a science-fiction script that he hoped to direct as his first feature. At the time Mr. Rockwell wasn’t interested in playing another villain, as the screenplay called for, but discovered that he shared Mr. Jones’s tastes in unsettling visions of the near future.

“We talked about the John Cassavetes realism of the acting in ‘Alien,’ ” Mr. Rockwell recalled in a telephone interview. “When that monster is introduced in the movie, you’re already pulled in by the performances. It’s so loosey-goosey and improvisational and very kitchen-sink real.”

Mr. Jones and a writing partner, Nathan Parker, went back and wrote a new script with Mr. Rockwell in mind. Called “Moon,”  it told the story of a blue-collar worker in a distant decade, laboring in solitude at a base on the dark side of the lunar surface. Cut off from regular communications with Earth, he begins to unravel — a situation that is not improved when a younger duplicate of himself shows up at the base.

This time Mr. Rockwell signed on, and Mr. Jones received financing and distribution for the $5 million project from Sony Pictures Classics and Liberty Films, as well as some emergency funds from Xingu Films, the production company run by Trudie Styler ( “Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels” ).

Like Mr. Jones, Ms. Styler has her own rock ’n’ roll bona fides; her husband is the musician Sting. But she said she was drawn to Mr. Jones not because of his pedigree but because of the quality of his work.

“He’s not as green as grass, Duncan,” Ms. Styler said in a telephone interview. “He comes from the world of promos and videos and made a very good living doing that, as Guy Ritchie did. So that tells me they both know what they’re doing with a camera.”

(Additionally, Ms. Styler acknowledged, she had a soft spot for sci-fi movies. “Sting did ‘Dune’  all those years ago,” she said, “and I think that was a very underrated and brilliant film.”)

Shot in just over a month in early 2008 at Shepperton Studios in Britain (where Ridley Scott, Tony Scott’s brother, made “Alien” ), “Moon”   evokes a palpable mood of isolation and paranoia that its creators say was not too difficult to conjure up. The production, which took place during the Hollywood writers’ strike, became increasingly secluded as other projects at the studio were temporarily shut down, and its elaborate Moon base design required that cast and crew be sealed into the set each day during filming. For long stretches of the movie Mr. Rockwell is the only person seen or heard from on screen (aside from Kevin Spacey, who provides the voice of the base’s affectless computer). Also, both Mr. Jones and Mr. Rockwell were struggling with long-distance relationships, which, Mr. Rockwell said, made it “pretty easy to get that ‘Taxi Driver’  feeling.”

With its aspirations to scientific accuracy and its modest outer-space locales, “Moon”  bears the obvious influences of Stanley Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey.”  But Mr. Jones said the film had come by those influences secondhand, and was more directly inspired by post-“2001”  movies like “Outland,” “Silent Running”  and “Blade Runner.”

Like those films “Moon”  was also at its heart “trying to tell a very human story,” Mr. Jones said. “It just happened to be in a science-fiction setting.”

As he prepares to take his first voluntary steps into the public eye, Mr. Jones knows that at first he will be an object of curiosity largely because of his father. “Eventually I’m going to be judged purely on my own merits, and I’m confident that will happen eventually,” he said. “It will take a film or two.”

In the meantime Mr. Jones had no hesitation acknowledging the role that Mr. Bowie continues to play in shaping his life and his work. “Everything I am is a result of the experiences I had growing up, so of course he’s important,” Mr. Jones said.

He added: “I’m sleeping in the spare room right now, so he’s very important, because he gives me a place to stay when I’m in New York.”
"Tu doives entendre je t'aime."
(and you know who I am...)


Cowboy Curtis (Laurence Fishburne)
and Pee-wee in the 1990 episode
"Camping Out"

Offline Ellemeno

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Re: "Moon," by Mr. Duncan Jones (once AKA "Zowie Bowie," David's son)
« Reply #1 on: June 09, 2009, 09:06:18 pm »
I love your personal anecdote, John!  This looks very interesting.  Sam Rockwell as the human, and Kevin Spacey as "HAL" sound like perfect casting for what this movie is described as.



Offline Brown Eyes

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Re: "Moon," by Mr. Duncan Jones (once AKA "Zowie Bowie," David's son)
« Reply #2 on: June 09, 2009, 09:40:53 pm »
Woohoo!!!!  Says a life-long Bowie fan!  8) 8) 8) 8) 8)
I remember when he went through a phase when he wanted to be called Joey. 

That's a cute picture too.

the world was asleep to our latent fuss - bowie

Offline Katie77

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Re: "Moon," by Mr. Duncan Jones (once AKA "Zowie Bowie," David's son)
« Reply #3 on: June 09, 2009, 11:15:40 pm »
I remember when he was born, and when I heard what they called him, I thought of that poor kid going thru life with that name.

Looks like he took care of it himself.....good on him.
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Re: "Moon," by Mr. Duncan Jones (once AKA "Zowie Bowie," David's son)
« Reply #4 on: June 10, 2009, 08:37:49 pm »
Woohoo!!!!  Says a life-long Bowie fan!  8) 8) 8) 8) 8)
I remember when he went through a phase when he wanted to be called Joey. 

That's a cute picture too.

Yeah, when I was a kid in the 70's, Bowie was God. How cool is it to see Zowie/Joey/Duncan make good? Very. I may have to go see this in the theater rather than wait for the DVD. It's been getting pretty good reviews overall.

Offline Ellemeno

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Re: "Moon," by Mr. Duncan Jones (once AKA "Zowie Bowie," David's son)
« Reply #5 on: June 10, 2009, 10:39:46 pm »
Yeah, when I was a kid in the 70's, Bowie was God. How cool is it to see Zowie/Joey/Duncan make good? Very. I may have to go see this in the theater rather than wait for the DVD. It's been getting pretty good reviews overall.


Well, can we agree the he was a God?  There was quite a pantheon back then.

Offline Brown Eyes

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Re: "Moon," by Mr. Duncan Jones (once AKA "Zowie Bowie," David's son)
« Reply #6 on: June 11, 2009, 11:18:55 am »

Well, can we agree the he was a God?  There was quite a pantheon back then.

It's interesting that this metaphor has come up here in this thread.  Bowie plays around with this idea (the convergence of rock/ the rock star and a kind of religious experience) a lot in his lyrics.  The most famous example is Ziggy Stardust being described as a "leper messiah", and much of the Ziggy "story line" has to do with this idea of an outider come to save the world who turns into a fallen/ falling idol. In "Hang On To Yourself", from the Ziggy album, there's a line about "praying to the light machine" at a rock concert.  Then, there's a line in a kind of obscure song (a b-side type song called "Sweet Head") from the Ziggy era, which has a really explicit line about this... "Till there was rock, you only had god."

The way I've always remembered his son's name listed officially (in biographies, etc.) was Zowie Duncan Haywood Jones.  And, then as a teenager he went by Joey for a long time.  Of course, he was usually called Zowie Bowie as a small child... but, Bowie isn't anyone's official name... it's just David's stage name (his real name is David Robert Jones... and he copyrights his music under Jones, so I've always assumed he never changed his name legally).  Duncan and Haywood are old family names.  I've always thought the fact that "Bowie" is really a persona is kind of fascinating... since David often layers other characters (Ziggy, etc.) on top of an already kind of artificial public character.

Anyway, I like that Duncan has settled on Duncan as a name.  Of the available options I like that the best. LOL!  This article is really fascinating to read because for a long time Duncan was a bit of a mystery... quite successfully shielded from very much media/ press.  David would mention him in interviews and there were tidbits here and there in biographies. Photos of him as a teenager/ young man were very rare.  Though, there are some really cute, famous photos of him as a small child.  But, anyway, it's interesting to here from Duncan directly now. 







the world was asleep to our latent fuss - bowie

Offline oilgun

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Re: "Moon," by Mr. Duncan Jones (once AKA "Zowie Bowie," David's son)
« Reply #7 on: July 20, 2009, 07:26:01 pm »
I'm glad to see this thread but I'm not surprised to see who started it. :-*

I saw the movie yesterday to honour the 40th anniversary of the first moonwalk, which is today of course.
The synopsis made me afraid that it might feel like an episode of The Twilight Zone, it was more substantial than that, I really enjoyed it.  Sam Rockwell is quite good and successfully carries the film.  It does borrow elements from other sci-fi films and may be a tad predictable but the film remains original and fresh.  Spacey is pitch-perfect as the 'rebooted' HAL, this time called Gerty.

Offline SFEnnisSF

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Re: "Moon," by Mr. Duncan Jones (once AKA "Zowie Bowie," David's son)
« Reply #8 on: July 20, 2009, 09:54:58 pm »
I saw this movie a week ago and it was Excellent!   One of the best of 2009 so far IMO.

The music in the movie is so haunting... Done by Clint Mansell who also did the music for "Pi" & "Requeim For A Dream"

[youtube=425,350]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BtCpttsZiys[/youtube]

Offline Front-Ranger

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Re: "Moon," by Mr. Duncan Jones (once AKA "Zowie Bowie," David's son)
« Reply #9 on: August 04, 2011, 09:43:00 am »
I finally saw Moon last night as part of a sci-fi film festival. In its first run here in Denver, it played for such a short time I didn't get a chance to see it. A very compelling plot, so much so that I won't say anything else for fear of spoilers. Sam Rockwell is as good as he has to be to carry the movie with only minimal support from other actors. The special effects are unobtrusive and don't look contrived or cheap. I saw quite a few nods to other science fiction films, but I didn't detect much angst from Jones' early life creeping into the film.
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