Last night the SXSW Film Festival kicked off in Austin, TX with the world premiere of sci-fi mind-bender Source Code. Austin crowds come to love and the Summit film starring Jake Gyllenhaal—who caused quite a stir with the hordes of fans, one of whom got a little camera-happy in the men’s room (dude, gross)—enjoyed a warm reception. Directed by Moon’s Duncan Jones, the film follows Gyllenhaal’s Captain Colter Stevens, a soldier who wakes up from his tour of duty in the body of a strange man on a doomed train. Colter soon discovers that he’s part of a mission to ferret out the identity of a bomber and so, in delightfully taut eight-minute blocks aboard a commuter train bound for Chicago, he races to thwart a terrorist plot. EW spoke to Gyllenhaal on the morning after Source Code’s premiere.
EW: There are rumors that there was a rather heated scuffle in the theater bathroom last night as a fan tried to take your picture at an inelegant time?
JG: (laughs) That’s true. I think it’s an appropriate space to keep privacy. I hope that people wouldn’t disagree with me on that.
EW: Last night on stage, Duncan Jones said it was you who brought him on board Source Code. Were you a fan of Moon (the director’s beloved 2008 meditative sci fi film)?
JG: I’d seen Moon and I thought this guy must have a fantastic mind. And I’d been told there was a project that he wants to make that he was interested in me playing one of the roles for. So I said of course I want to meet him. At the meeting I told him ‘Oh there’s this other script that I would really love for you to read.’ I never thought that he would want to do Source Code because he tends to write and direct his own things. But we sent it to him on a roll of the dice and five days later he was like “I want to do the movie.”
EW: Why was Duncan the right fit?
JG: What always scares me is people tend to lose character and a sense of “Why?” on a behavioral, human, psychological level when they’re dealing with something that can be entertaining. When you deal with something that is potentially commercial people just say “Oh, we’ll get to that later.” The movie was not anything I wanted to make unless it was with someone who was a real visionary. And humor too. Duncan has a great sense of humor—dirty and dark and great. I think the great thing about sci fi is there’s a little bit of a campy quality always. I don’t think anybody should take themselves too seriously in time continuum.
EW: Did you stay to watch the movie?
JG: I did. My best friend lives in Austin and he came with his girlfriend. Literally he grabbed my leg at one point and then at another time, in that scene where I jump off the train, he was like “Oh my god, what the hell?!” I was like “Yes!”
Source Code opens on April 1.