Commercial filmmaker-turned feature director Duncan Jones has made a name for himself within the movie geek community over these past five years, thanks to his work on the brainy, original, sci-fi features Moon and Source Code. He is now serving as helmsman on the upcoming World of Warcraft movie, Warcraft; if the game adaptation is a sufficient box office success, then it could provide Jones with an opportunity to finally shoot a passion project that he's wanted to make for years now, titled Mute.
Mute, a thriller set in a futuristic world (potentially even the same one as Moon) where a mute bartender searches for his kidnapped girlfriend, is a project that Jones began to talk about with reporters even before Moon hit theaters in 2009. In the past, the director has likened his vision for Mute to Blade Runner, in the sense that his desire with Mute is to (among other things) emulate Ridley Scott's influential sci-fi/neo-Noir and create "a believable and realistic living, breathing futuristic world" onscreen.
Obviously, to do something like would require a decent budget, which is part of the reason why Jones once had plans to turn his Mute script into a graphic novel - a way of showing how the story can be done visually, as Darren Aronofsky did with his scripts for both The Fountain and Noah (helping pave the way for them to eventually become movies). It's possible that Jones has already started the conversation with studio executives about making Mute a reality; for now, though, the only thing we can confirm (via Jones' Twitter account) is that the project is back on his mind.
Thinking about what film I want to try and do after Warcraft. May give Mute one more push before I put it on the "Don Quixote" shelf.
— Duncan Jones (@ManMadeMoon) July 15, 2014
Jones later added "And yes: every director has a Don Quixote shelf. Some are just dustier than others." As clarification for those who're confused, presumably Jones is making a reference here to The Man Who Killed Don Quixote - the project that Terry Gilliam is still trying to make, even though it's been almost fifteen years since his initial attempt (which failed due to a tumultuous production that got cut short). By the sound of it, though, Jones doesn't intend to make a similar endurance run with Mute, if he's unable to get the project off the ground within the foreseeable future.
There've been a handful of Hollywood outsiders who, in modern times, have found greater creative freedom by lending their talents to big studio fare; it was Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy, after all, that helped to open the door for him to realize his own long-developing sci-fi "passion project", with Inception. Which is to say, if Jones' Warcraft turns out to be something special - and there are signs that it could - then it should only improve his chances of not only earning Mute a green-light from a major studio, but also a decent-sized budget at the same time.
It sounds as though Mute also mixes together science fiction with Hitchockian thriller elements (like Source Code) - something that not only makes the project sound all the more intriguing from the get-go, but also sound like an easier pitch to studios. As it were, Warcraft won't be done with post-production for quite some time now; fingers crossed, though, we'll be able to report about Mute having made progress even before Jones' current venture has been completed.
Warcraft is scheduled to open in theaters on March 11th, 2016.
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