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'Code' Breaker

21 Jul, 2011 By: Fred Topel

The time travel thriller Source Code left many fans with different theories about what ultimately happened, but it may be even more complicated than they realize.

Star Jake Gyllenhaal recalls shooting alternate versions of a lot of different scenes.

“There were a couple alternate versions of the end that everyone was talking about [using],” Gyllenhaal says. “I loved that I didn’t know when I watched the screening how the movie was going to totally end. And also the voiceover and things toward the end, we varied a lot so there was a lot of discussion.”

Gyllenhaal plays a military captain who is able to travel back to the last eight minutes before a train is bombed. He repeats his mission several times before he can save the day, and even the resolution leaves viewers wondering about our timeline and alternate realities.

The actor elaborated on the other versions he filmed, which aren’t on the home video version but which he audiences will be able to see on home video in the future.

“We shot one day in Chicago, that last scene with The Bean where the camera pulls in. I had all these weird ideas that somebody could appear, something could happen and [director] Duncan [Jones] would always go with these weird ideas I had,” he says. “I’d be like, ‘What if some weird agent showed up?’ He’d be like, ‘Get somebody in a suit. Can we get somebody in a suit? Pull that guy off the street.’ We would do a take like that.”

Even the scenes on the train had multiple versions. Each time he goes back, he does things differently, but those eight-minute segments all had multiple versions too.

“Every Source Code has an alternate version, and every Source Code initially has a different choice made by me because I get to come in that way,” Gyllenhaal says. “I would give him some humor. He’d want something funny, and then I’d give him the serious version, and he’d be like, ‘Okay, maybe something in between.’ Then he’d ask Michelle [Monaghan] to say something different. He asked me to totally improv it and put the film together after that.”

The actor says he hopes the film inspires viewers to continue thinking about its concepts in their own lives.

“If we pay attention to our interactions with people, we can see that there’s a cycle to things,” Gyllenhaal says. “This movie seems like, at least philosophically, that idea to me. Every time I would come back into the Source Code, and as an actor, and I think every time the character goes, it’s another chance. Another chance. And it’s about even as you believe things die, they are reborn.”

Screenwriter Ben Ripley left a lot to the imagination.

“It was fun for me to imagine what you actually don’t see,” Ripley said. “Most of Source Code you don’t see. There’s a limit. You only see what’s in the frame and the frame is often very limited to his own perception. There’s whole other infrastructure going on that’s fun to imagine.”

Source Code will be available July 26 on DVD ($26.99) and Blu-ray ($30.49) from Summit Entertainment.

Extras on the Blu-ray include commentary with Gyllenhaal, Ripley and director Duncan Jones, and “Access: Source Code,” a viewing mode with scene-specific featurettes. The DVD includes the commentary, a trivia track, cast interviews and science focal points.


About the Author: Fred Topel

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