Early on in the production of Moon we decided to build a complete 360 degree set to shoot in as we wanted to capture the feeling of enclosure and allow the camera to roam around the base without running out of room or suddenly finding itself out round the back of the studio. This added a lot to the experience of shooting as we'd enter the base through the airlock and pretty much stay in there all day. It was especially weird for me having designed and built the base in 3D first as it was like being inside my own mind made solid. Quite strange at times. This fully enclosed set meant that we had to design and dress the entire base which ended up being lots and lots of work, all done with very little time and resources (spot the recurring theme in these posts). It was important to me to get as much detail around the place as possible to try and make it genuinely look and feel like not just a Lunar Mining facility but also Sam’s' home. See how he has loads of scrunched up used tissues around his bed? He didn't have a cold. That was one of Sam’s suggestions.
All together we had 17 active flat panel screens built into the set in various locations to give the place a legitimate "techno-hub" feel, but we were keen to keep the technology "old-school" and keep away from any Minority report data-glove style lightshows which we couldn't afford anyhow. All the monitors protruded from the back of the set and were attached to £20 cheapie domestic DVD players running a bespoke disk for each take. We'd get back from the studio around ten and after shoving some Mexican food into my mouth-hole I'd spend the next few hours getting the next days' graphics ready to arrive at the studio at seven the next morning with a wallet of shiny new DVDs. This led to a few weeks of 2-hours of coma like sleep per night which was hard going but at least I'd got most of the design work done by then and was mostly just refining the vehicles prior to the model build. I remember falling asleep all over the place, grabbing cheeky 15-minute naps whenever I could. There was one instance where we were shooting the scene where Sam 2 puts a very ill Sam 1 to bed and we needed a stand-in to get dressed up and lie in the bed with the hat on whilst the real Sam does his performance as healthy and concerned Sam 2. I must have been looking like I was about to die as Duncan suggested I step in and put myself to bed. So, being happy to help, I got dressed up as poorly Sam 1 and got into bed whilst Sam Rockwell did his thing. As soon as my head hit the pillow I fell into a mild coma and I must have been looking so knackered that when the scene was shot out they left me there whilst Sam went off for a makeup change. The Cheesy Loaf woke me up shouting at me that it was time to go home as they were closing the studio so I blearily shambled out of bed very confused and disoriented to find everybody staring at me and pissing themselves. I had been out cold for two hours and they just left me there whilst they were filming the scene. I remember it being incredibly cosy and nice and I just immediately flaked out, even though there was filming going on right next to my head. If you look in the background of those shots it's actually me fast asleep in there.
When we were shooting any specific shot we'd just look through the DVD wallet (which had hundreds of them in by the end of shooting), put the disk in and press play ten seconds before they were due to call "action". It was all very high-tech as I'm sure you'll agree. Duncan and I chatted about the look and feel of the monitor graphics early on and decided that it would be nice if it kind of looked like the old BBC Micro computer game "Elite", which was a favourite of ours when we were both tiny eggs. I set the style very early on in production and quickly worked up a template of design elements that could be used throughout the sets and anywhere else it might be needed. The choice of Green Mountain/Microstyle font was an easy one because it looks beautiful and has such a nice weight to it. There's a nice mechanical solidity to it that sold us as soon as we tried it out.
One of the functioning screens was located above Sam’s' bed and served as his entertainment suite so he could lie in bed and watch TV. I'm pretty sure none of this is readable on-screen, but here's the graphic that features in the sleeping area showing some of the entertainment options available to him.
I imagine there's a few things you'll recognize in there which I put in as a homage to a selection of things you'll find on my DVD shelf at home (apart from the Flintstones - that was referencing a piece of licensed footage we had available). Just for the record this list features two of the best and most under-rated comedy shows from British Television in the last ten years and both of these feature a Moon cast member. Fifteen Storeys High stars Benedict Wong and Snuff Box stars Matt Berry who collectively feature in Moon as Thompson and Overmeyers. If you haven't seen either of these two shows I'd advise going out right now and buying them on DVD, I promise you won't be disappointed. Here's a bit of Matt showing how to treat a woman properly in Snuff Box;
...and here's a bit of the amazing Benedict Wong as Errol in 15 Storeys;
I had to put "Look around you" on there too as it's one of the best observed and most original comedy shows I've seen in ages and if I was getting shot into space I'd definitely make sure I had both seasons on DVD in my bag. The Judge Dredd reference is to a future version of the film that it always seemed inevitable they would make and now (huge surprise), it's in production so it's sort of like a joke that's ended up coming true. The weird thing is that we had meetings with them at one point and more recently Duncan was offered the script but turned it down. The original Dredd movie was like watching a car crash in slow motion, so this is really just a shout out to all the old-school 2000AD fans out there. Put your hands up!
The other references in there are related to friends of mine and Duncans and a severe beating issued to a trivia machine on a night out in the Phoenix Bar with Mr Stockton, McEvoy and Mr Jones. The trivia machine was cheating and eating all our money and not letting us answer questions we knew the answers to. This is a picture that Julian Stockton took of us just as we were starting to suspect the machine was mocking us. Dodgy touch-screens are not good in a pub when money is at stake as the four of us make a formidable entertainment trivia team and so we administered our own swift brand of justice. Street style. That machine's gone now. Goodbye forever!
Ed and Aaron, if you're reading this, sorry to put you guys in porno films. Actually I'm not sorry; you'd have done the same thing to me.
LUNAR INDUSTRIES HOPE YOU ENJOY YOUR ENTERTAINMENT CHOICE