Summit Entertainment and Vendome Pictures Hosts SOURCE CODE Press Junket

SOURCE CODE, the mind bending Department of Defense experimentation adventure, from SUMMIT ENTERTAINMENT and VENDOME PICTURES explodes from the screen with electrifying intensity.

What would you do if you only had eight minutes to live?

Produced by Mark Gordon, Phillipe Rousselet and Jordan Wynn, SOURCE CODE weaves truth, fantasy, suspense, love, romance, hope and high tech puzzle solving into a ninety-three minute fast action thrill ride.

Jake Gyllenhaal and Michele Monaghan in Source Code.

Directed by newcomer Duncan Jones of Moon fame, and written by Ben Ripley, SOURCE CODE stars Jake Gyllenhaal as US Army Blackhawk Helicopter pilot Captain Colter Stevens in this futuristic race against a ticking terrorism time bomb. 

On the set of Source Code with Jake Gyllenhaal and Director Duncan Jones.

SOURCE CODE is created around a fictitious Department of Defense Experimentation program, similar to DARPA, introducing the next generation of terrorism fighting tools. The SOURCE CODE Program, which to save the ending, is a combination of, as with any DOD program, mad scientist and humanitarian. The scientist, played by Jeffrey Wright (Casino Royale/The Manchurian Candidate) as Dr. Rutledge and his mission minded Air Force Captain, Colleen Goodwin embodied perfectly by Vera Farmiga (The Departed/Up In the Air) captured the focused, results driven, mentality of the captors holding Captain Stevens hostage as a sacrifice for the greater good.

Vera Farmiga as Colleen Goodwin and Jeffrey Wright as Dr. Rutledge in Source Code.

As SOURCE CODE opens, the audience gets a preview of what will play out during the film with similar vignettes repeating themselves. Gyllenhall and Michelle Monaghan (Trucker/Eagle Eye) as Christina Warren open the film on a causal, clearly routine, commuter train ride into downtown Chicago.  The only difference with this day is unbeknownst to the commuters, a terrorist,  a crazy in a calm exterior, has boarded the same train and determined that this day would be their last.

Duncan Jones directs Jake Gyllenhaal and Michele Monaghan.

SOURCE CODE creates an interactive opportunity for the audience to find clues, remember scenes, test their problem solving skills and hope for the underdog which in this case is the commuter train full of unsuspecting passengers living life like there will always be a tomorrow.

Gyllenhaal and Monaghan give excellent performances and are continually challenged with creating fresh exchanges with the same dialogue and with parallels being drawn to Bill Murray’s GROUND HOG DAY, challenged by comedic fantasy verses militaristic potential and still in each, the back story is “get it right and you’re out of this hell.”

On the hunt for a killer.

SOURCE CODE, may invoke memories of 9/11 and the attacks on the World Trade Center and The Pentagon, it should.  Could SOURCE CODE exist? Sure. Are their DOD experimental programs that use soldiers, for all intensive purposes, dead with only a pulse and brain waves? I believe, yes. Do programs like SOURCE CODE exist? No.  Is there some mad scientist running around the DOD with a testing grant, waiting, salivating for his moment? Sure.

Having the opportunity to participate in Roundtable Interviews with the Jake Gyllenhaal, Michelle Monaghan, Vera Farmiga, Director Duncan Jones and Screenwriter Ben Ripley the following are excerpts of those conversations:

Director Duncan Jones.

From The Roundtable with Duncan Jones . . .
Janet Walker: How intimidating was the project? From the viewer’s perspective there’s so much. Creating fresh dialogue scene after scene, making it fresh each time was that a challenge for you?
Duncan Jones: The intimidating moment was just having read the script and been excited by it. Because then you can look back at it, you read it as an audience member, at least I do. I read a script and think ‘Wow! This would be great to watch this.’ And then you read it as a director and you think, ‘Wow, I’ve got to go back and re-do this event eight or nine times how am I going to do this without the audience being bored to tears? And that’s really where you start to think about how can I break this down were visually it’s going to be different every time and with the narrative something new happening every time, new characters being introduced, and um, I just broke it down, strategically, on a chart, each one of the events that were going to be repeated and then visually how we could differentiate each one from the last. So, one of the first decisions we had to make was not to shoot on a real train. That was something that was being considered and that was one of my first big pushes. No we can’t shoot on a real train because I need to be able to move the camera in ways and to places that we can’t do on a real train because I need the visual variety otherwise the audience sees the same thing every time.  So, those are the kinds of decisions that needed to be made earlier on.

Janet Walker: Is there a statement or anything you want people to take from the film? From the DOD Experimentation or any idea or concern over what our government is doing?
Duncan Jones: Oh, no, nothing political or anything like that. I would be much more heartfelt about it. I would hope that at the end of it people would think that it’s never too late to right things relationships or whatever else that they may think be too late to salvage. I think there’s always an opportunity to go back and fix things.

Jake Gyllenhaal in Source Code.

From the Roundtable with Jake Gyhellhaal . .  .
Janet Walker:  Each one of the SOURCE CODE’s seems like a vignette in and of itself. How would you make a scene fresh including fresh dialogue and still capturing what was necessary?
Jake Gyllenhaal: Well, each Ben Ripley had written a script that was so structurally tight that every clue, even as in the movie, you think you saw where you were going and you don’t really have any idea.  The script does it the same way. So we knew variation was going to be the only way we could be engaging. So, we thought of each SOURCE CODE like a chapter in a book, and each one had to tell its own story like a Novella, where if we only had the opportunity to tell this in a short film, could you take that SOURCE CODE out and would it make sense by itself.

So each one had a name and each one had a relationship between me and Michelle that was different and how it changed because that was the most important part of each one of the SOURCE CODE’s. The bombing and who the bomber was and all that stuff, very clearly outlined by the talented Mr. Ripley so we didn’t really have to worry about that so much. What we had to worry about was the storyline between me and Michelle. The first one was called something like, Absolute Chaos, the second The SIM, and so on and as we went on. So each one was looked at like its own piece of the story so in that way we knew Michelle, this might get a little complicated, was the unconscious action of the story so whatever variation she had would be an unconscious relationship. When she puts her arm up in the third SOUCRE CODE and we enter the scene like that and the audience ‘goes wait, there’s something different.’ But they don’t really know exactly what it is.

Jake Gyllenhaal as Captian Colter Stevens

My character is much more a conscious relationship to the SOURCE CODE so when you enter I can vary things based on my behavior. And Duncan always had opportunities to vary things with variations of visuals and audio and all the things that are at the director’s disposal. How you would enter a scene, how a shot would begin, once we started, once people knew they weren’t going to end the scene the same way, because we really don’t end it the same way and we don’t begin it the same way, we were constantly improvising, constantly trying out different ideas and then to be really honest, in the end we had Paul Hirsch, the brilliant editor Paul Hirsch, upstairs cutting together the first SOURCE CODE when we were on the second one and if we needed something or he saw something or didn’t understand this and we’d all debate it and maybe we’d shoot something but very rarely did we go back and re-shoot. There were just a million ideas in each one of these chapters.

Janet Walker: Do have particular moments of the film that resonate with you?
Jake Gyllenhaal:  Well, I think what I resonate with a lot is the story. It’s the love story in that it’s a simple choice.  It’s romantic in the end but the end the choice with this guy isn’t, ‘Oh am I really going to save the world.’ The choice starts with a guy, essentially in someone else body, but its starts with a guy who’s nervous or won’t ask this girl to get a cup of coffee and then he has to get blown up eight times before he’s going to ask this girl for a cup of coffee.  I do relate to that. Sometimes it does feels when you walk up to someone and your intrigued by them to gather up the gumption to ask somebody a question like that feels like you’re blowing up inside eight times.

And I also do relate to this idea of regret, this idea of choices you make when you think you know what the right choice is and someone you love or your family saying, ‘Don’t do that or hey you know  just proceed with caution here’ and you’re like ‘I got it! I know!’ Then, just learning those lessons and the regret of learning those lessons especially with his father.

Scenes from Source Code.

Janet Walker:  Is there a statement you’d like the audience to take from SOURCE CODE?
Jake Gyllenhaal:  Yea. I want people to have had, this journey is tense, and this movie really works in an exceptional way and I think where it opens up in places is at the very end.  I hope they walk away with the ability to question, well not to question, but to have a conversation that can continue throughout their days and their weeks after seeing it and perhaps, the great movies I love to watch, I want to go back and see again and find my way through a second time.

Michelle Monaghan finds a keeper in Jake Gyllenhaal.

From The Roundtable with Michelle Monaghan .  . .
Janet Walker: Was the experience of making the film different than you thought it would be?
Michelle Monaghan: I guess I really didn’t have any idea of how, I mean I really always go into it, very, very open. It was more challenging than I think I thought maybe it going to be. It was a little bit more confusing and, actually it was the first time, I actually sat down and spoke to an editor as well. I would never have dreamed I would speak to an editor about my performance. Because each SOURCE CODE was different I had to map out my performance before I even had the performance. To make sure there was a story, there was an arc. In that sense it was different. Because usually you go in and you don’t I would have already decided what the performance needed to be so I guess that was different.

Janet Walker:  Is there a statement you’d like the audience to take from the film?
Michelle Monaghan: It’s thematically. For me, it’s sort of living life to the fullest. I mean if you had eight minutes to live what would go back and change, who would you call, what would say or do. I think those are the things that are going to resonate with people.

Who determines your reality?

From the Roundtable with Vera Farmiga . .  . 
Janet Walker:  What are some of your most memorable moments from working on SOURCE CODE?
Vera Farmiga: Watching Jake with the crew. What a gentleman he was with the crew. How lighthearted and endearing he was with the crew.  He set the tone. It’s really nice to see Number One on the call sheet as much as the director has the responsibility of setting the kind of experience it’s going to be. Jake and I didn’t necessarily work together, a couple of days, we read lines of camera and we had a rehearsal period. He showed up to start me off. My most memorable moments are how openhearted he was with the crew.   

Janet Walker: You character goes through an arc. It’s a very subtle movement. You appear conflicted momentarily and in the end you’re very conflicted about your duty. Was that something that was built into your character and what was your process to get that with your limited availability?

Looking for a terrorist.

Vera Farmiga: You diagnose the arc first. Ok. She’s a soldier. She’s a captain. She’s good at her job.  She’s married to her job. There’s an urgency; Save Chicago and save many, many lives. A good solider operates on instincts and from logic and from cerebral and diagnostically with urgency and authority. So that’s where she starts from and it is the first successful SOURCE CODE mission so she’s playing it by ear also. She’s hasn’t had much experience with this program and its acceptable capacity. It’s a science project. As she begins to admire and respect Jake’s character and she develops tenderness and develops a connection with Jake’s character she starts operating from her heart. It complicates things, it becomes more personal. Her job is even harder to accomplish. How difficult would it be for a solider to sit down with his enemy for a cup of tea, meet his family, and then go back out into the battlefield and take his life? Regardless of what the long term goal is, what you’re trying, it’s a moral dilemma. Do you operate from the mind or the heart and then your emotions come into play.  

In the interrogation chamber.

From the Roundtable with Screenwriter Ben Ripley . .  . 
Janet Walker: We’ve heard throughout all the roundtables the amazing script, “The Amazing Mr. Ripley” tell us a little about how you created this script, SOUCRE CODE.
Ben Ripley:  Well, it came out of my head. I was walking around my neighborhood five years ago in a sort of frustrated period of my own career, I was re-writing a lot of horror movies for studios, that weren’t getting made and I thought ‘maybe I have something original to write.’ That’s always the source of your power as a writer you can always come up with something original without asking anyone’s permission. And an actor can’t do that and a director can’t do that. They’re waiting for something.

Scenes from Source Code.

So, I was thinking back to movies that I liked that didn’t tell a story in the traditional way, like SLIDING DOORS for example, Gwyneth Paltrow or GROUND HOG DAY, one of my favorite comedies ever. Those movies never quite had an explanation why there was a recurrence and what if it was a natural device of some kind that can generate a loop, wouldn’t that be fun. And instead of reliving a whole day or a lifetime, it’s acompressed pocket of time, twelve minutes or eight minutes, whatever. And that sort of made sense in a thriller and have a kind of weird Department of Defense component and I was playing with that and I pitched it to my agent and she said, ‘Well put it on a speeding train, at least.’ 

Scenes from Source Code.

And then I started working with Mark Gordon and some talented people who work for Mark and we spent a year doing drafts of it. The early drafts were more conventional, you know, the train explodes and the FBI Truck pulls up, and Jake Gyhellhaal pops up and says I’m going to go in the SOURCE CODE Plug it in to something, an Ethernet, and only when I hit on the idea of starting him in the train in some sort of confusion and then moving after eight minutes to this interrogation unit and then back on the train and then the unit and then back on the train.   Duncan Jones, working on his first big budget Studio film, serves up a spectacular, dark, exhilarating intricately woven suspenseful story that will leave audiences stunned.

Find the bomb . .

 

SOURCE CODE delivers a high action, spine-tingling, rush.

And you'll find the bomber.

SOURCE CODE opens in theaters everywhere April 1. 

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