Duncan Jones first made a name for himself as a director by delivering well-received sci-fi offerings Moon and Source Code. He made the jump to big-budget fare this summer with Warcraft, which ended up being a moderate hit at the global box office ($433.5 million worldwide), but couldn't reverse the video game curse in terms of critical reception. Following that film's theatrical run, Jones said he was "proud and furious" with how things turned out, but expressed interest in returning for a sequel should that ever come to be.
Before then, however, Jones is finally going to complete one of his passion projects, a Blade Runner-esque sci-fi film called Mute. It tells the tale of Leo Beiler, a mute bartender who is tasked with tracking down his missing girlfriend. Alexander Skarsgård will star as Beiler, while Paul Rudd plays a surgeon who has a clue detailing where Leo's girlfriend might be. Mute definitely sounds like something right in Jones's wheelhouse, but there's going to be one key difference when compared to his previous movies. This one is going straight to Netflix.
Skarsgård was the one who broke the news during an interview on the Empire podcast. He stated that the plan is similar to last year's Beasts of No Nation, which received a limited theatrical run simultaneously with its Netflix premiere. The actor also shared some details about the film's look and his character:
"I’ve just got back from Dublin where Duncan showed me all the renderings and the visuals of it. And I’m very, very excited about it... It’s about a guy who was in an accident as a kid. He’s ex-Amish, so he lives a very monastic life: he doesn’t have a cellphone or anything like that. He’s left the [Amish] community but he still kinda follows the rules."
It's long been reported that Mute (which is now filming) takes place in the same universe as Moon. Any connections between those two are being kept under wraps for now, but Skarsgård teased that there may be a cameo by Moon star Sam Rockwell. Jones's intention has always been to include Rockwell in some capacity, so hopefully the schedules lined up and the plan didn't have to change. No matter how big or small the role is, Rockwell is always a welcome inclusion in any production.
Mute is a big acquisition for Netflix, which continues to cast a wide net in regards to the programming offered. The streaming service has been a top provider for original series for years, and they're building a respectable film library. For instance, next year Netflix will release the satire War Machine, which stars Brad Pitt, Tilda Swinton, and Ben Kingsley. It's interesting that Jones is taking this route for his latest film, but he must feel this is for the best. Jones has been waiting years to get this project off the ground, so he obviously wants to get it "right." And on Netflix, it may find a wider audience than it would have with a typical theatrical release, where it would have to compete with high-profile tentpoles.
Mute is without a release date. We'll keep you updated on the latest information.