Duncan Jones had entrée into the world of celebrities, movies and pop culture from the moment he was born. As the son of British rock legend David Bowie, his friends were the children of other musicians, actors and artists. He grew up the musical equivalent of a military brat, calling, at times, London, Berlin, Tokyo and New York home. His introduction to professional filmmaking came from observing his father on the sets of films, including the 1986 fantasy “Labyrinth.”
But his 2009 low-budget science-fiction drama, “Moon,” and this Friday’s science-fiction thriller “Source Code” reflect a very different Duncan Jones. Whereas his celebu-spawn contemporarySofia Coppola makes movies like “Somewhere” and “Lost in Translation” — films ensconced in show business culture — Jones crafts mind-bending science-fiction narratives in which isolated men in desperate situations search for answers.
To find the roots of the 39-year-old director’s aesthetic, one has to look to Vanderbilt University in Tennessee, where Jones spent 2 1/2 years in a doctoral program in philosophy. “I studied mind-body philosophy and how one might apply ethics to potential thinking machines in the future, and my approach is still massively influenced by those years,” Jones says, reflecting on a time that shaped his thinking and his approach to storytelling.
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