Michelle Monaghan Interview For Duncan Jones ‘Source Code’
Duncan Jones fantastically introspective and exhilarating sci-fi thriller ‘Source Code’ follows decorated soldier Captain Colter Stevens (Jake Gyllenhaal), who wakes up in the body of an unknown man, discovering he’s part of a mission to find the bomber of a Chicago commuter train. In an assignment unlike any he’s ever known, he learns he’s part of a government experiment called the “Source Code,” a program that enables him to cross over into another man’s identity in the last 8 minutes of his life. With a second, much larger target threatening to kill millions in downtown Chicago, Colter re-lives the incident over and over again, gathering clues each time, until he can solve the mystery of who is behind the bombs and prevent the next attack. Confusing the matter further, in the “source code,” he connects with Michelle Monaghan’s sweet and beautiful character Christina. ‘Source Code’ comes to cinemas April 1st, 2011.
What attracted you to this film?
Michelle Monaghan: I think initially just Duncan Jones, I must say I was a big fan of ‘Moon,’ I saw that film just after it came out so I was intrigued by that. Also I loved the subject matter of this film, I think it tackles a lot of interesting and different themes. Moreover I was really intrigued with the idea, as an actor, to play the same minutes over and over again.
Did you find that challenging? In that you have to develop a heavy-duty love story in that way.
Michelle Monaghan: I did, for what you would think needs very little preparation on the page, actually required significant preperation. I actually created a back story for this character. It was much like a student film in the sense that we kind of huddled before each “source code” and we would ask how we are tonally gonna differentiate this eight minutes to the previous eight minutes, and incorporate a piece of the puzzle for the audience along the way. That was fun, that was a lot of fun for us.
There was obviously some spark between your character and the character Jake Gyllenhaal’s character Colter jumps into before those eight minutes. How did you think about that or develop that?
Michelle Monaghan: I really did develop a back story in which this is a girl who takes the 820 to Chicago every single day, she’s living a kind of mundane life, she’s maybe not living her life to its full potential, in a not so great job, in a not so great relationship. Then she finally strikes up a conversation with this guy she sits opposite of. This guy is like “what are you doing, what have you got to lose. Get rid of that guy and change your job.” I think she’s like wow, who’s this? Sometimes it takes a stranger to shed a new perspective on your own life. So she comes into this movie going “Wow, I like you and thank you, I want to get to know you better.” That was sort of my inspiration for each time I entered the “source code.”
Because it’s such an actors exercise in some ways, were you able to improv and see how it went because you had a framework?
Michelle Monaghan: Yeah we did, we had the framework and what we would do is towards the end of the movie we kind of earned the right to veer off the page a little bit and use improvisation. But the first part of the movie, the only thing we could improvise is really tonally. The first ”source code” was very Hitchcock like, we were very mysterious, we didn’t really know who these characters were. Then we shifted the tone a little bit, the emotion of that.
The interesting thing is Jake’s character has the opportunity to build on each “source code,” with how your character reacts to things. Did you do anything together to figure that out?
Michelle Monaghan: It was a lot of rehearsal, but I also knew there was going to be a lot of those moments were you knew you would see her kind of shift, especially the moments she isn’t actually saying anything. It’s essentially the same dialogue, so it was just reacting to what was going on. A more vulnerable “source code,” a more angry “source code,” those were the things that helped drive the story, but also helped their realities converge at the same time.
What was it like working with Jake?
Michelle Monaghan: Jake is awesome. First of all working with Jake as an actor is such a breeze because he comes into work totally energised, always puts his best foot forward, he loves his job, it’s so clear. And he’s collaborative, he always wants to do the best work. For me that’s a dream because that’s what I want as well. When the camera’s aren’t rolling it’s even more fun because he’s so much fun, he has such a comedic side to him, he’s so animated, he provided lot of comedy relief on the set.
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