As we celebrated the 50th anniversary of the historic NASA moon landing this past July, our gaze has been attuned to our pale white satellite in the heavens more than ever. With recent films like First Man and documentaries like Apollo 11 orbiting theaters, our thoughts might naturally move toward the 10th anniversary of a disorienting sci-fi drama from 2009 called Moon.
Making Moon: A British Sci-Fi Cult Classic is a deluxe new commemorative release by London-based Titan Books that seeks to deconstruct and dissect the production design and concept art of this mini-masterpiece — and SYFY WIRE has an expanded preview as it arrives in bookstores Oct. 15.
Directed by Duncan Jones from a screenplay by Nathan Parker, and based on an original story by Jones, Moon chronicles the lonely lunar activities of Sam Bell (Sam Rockwell), a blue-collar astronaut who experiences a bizarre existential crisis as he nears the end of a grueling three-year solitary stint mining helium-3 on the surface of the moon.
Moon originally premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2009 and went on to win Jones an impressive array of awards, including a BAFTA for best debut feature by a British filmmaker. Produced on a modest budget of just $5 million, Moon became an instant cult classic that was embraced by both critics and audiences, and was particularly praised for its carefully researched scientific plausibility and extreme realism.
Making Moon is written by Titan's Simon Ward and takes a deep, 144-page dive into the genesis, development, and completion of the indie film from multiple angles, including featured interviews with the film’s creative contributors. It showcases rare preproduction concept art and never-seen behind-the-scenes images of the sterile sets, moonbase, lunar vehicles, and mining equipment, as well as compelling excerpts from the actual shooting script.
"This book came to life thanks to conversations between the film's producer Stuart Fenegan, Duncan Jones, and myself," Ward tells SYFY WIRE. "I and Titan love the work they do, and we'd been talking about ways to collaborate. Moon has such a fanbase and is already in the canon of great sci-fi films. The 10th anniversary seemed like the perfect opportunity to delve into the story of the movie and celebrate its legacy."
Ward recalls the rewarding collaborative experience among Stuart, Duncan, Pollyanna Cheung, and himself.
"They'd kept a great deal of material and were very generous with it," he notes. "My editor, Jo Boylett, and I got to delve into everything from set photos and annotated script pages to hand-drawn storyboards and all the miniature and visual effects work. We were able to go very deep into how this movie was made, from the first discussions to the theatrical release.
"In addition to the archival research, I was lucky enough to get fantastic interviews with so many of the wonderful people who worked on the film. Everyone had such great stories, which should hopefully make for interesting reading. Given the very hands-on nature of Moon, the cast and crew were able to provide details about making the movie -- really inventive ideas and solutions. All part of why Moon is a unique film."
Now strap in for an eerie odyssey into the crafting of Duncan Jones's Moon in the full gallery below, then tell us if this revealing new volume from Titan Books might find a cherished place on your shelf.
All images and material taken from Making Moon by Simon Ward, published by Titan Books Copyright © 2019 Liberty Films. All Rights Reserved.