How David Bowie Inspired His Son’s New Movie ‘Mute’
Filmmaker Duncan Jones, son of David Bowie, revealed how his new movie Mute was heavily influenced by the pair’s relationship. Set in Berlin 40 years into the future, Mute tells the story of a bartender who’s unable to speak, and his search for his missing girlfriend. It’s to be premiered via Netflix on Feb. 23. You can watch the trailer above.
“I think there’s a lot of subtext in Mute that I’ll become more aware of as time wears on,” Jones told The Times. “An awful lot of the story revolves around the nature of parenthood. What makes a good parent?” He added that he’d written a draft script 15 years ago and showed it to Bowie, but then decided to rewrite it “because there was too much personal stuff in there.”
Referring to his father's famous comment about artists “putting yourself a little bit deeper in the water than where you can reach [the bottom with] your toes,” Jones said: “That’s what I did with Mute. I made a film which was a little bit uncomfortable and unexpected, and darker than people might be expecting. I was nervous making it. But nervous in a good way.”
The family connection is present on screen as well: Jones said that scenes would feature paintings created by Bowie during his own time in Berlin in the ‘70s. Star Alexander Skarsgard noted: “It’s not a coincidence that it’s set in Berlin. You can tell Duncan is very excited to be back here.”
Bowie had moved to Berlin in 1976, and over the next couple of years, recorded three albums that became known as his Berlin Trilogy.
Jones won a BAFTA for his 2009 movie Moon, in which the protagonist (played by Sam Rockwell) struggles to deal with life alone operating a moonbase and discovers a corporate plot to trap him there. The creator described Mute as a “spiritual sequel” to the earlier movie.