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Our Interview With Actor Michael Arden From Source Code

February 22, 2011

Recently we had the opportunity to interview actor Michael Arden about his new film Source Code, which is released April 1st.  Thank you to Michael for taking the time to answering our questions.

Beforethetrailer [BTT]: How did you become involved with the film, Source Code? Were you a science fiction fan or a fan of Duncan Jones prior to the film being made?

Michael Arden [MA]: I got a call to audition randomly for the film. They weren’t releasing a script, so I really just got sent a scene from the movie without any other information and went to the audition. I tried to convey the moment in the scene as realistically as I could, and I guess it worked. I have always been a science fiction fan, and actually hadn’t seen Duncan’s previous work before I was cast. I can attest that, now, I am a dedicated fan.

BTT: Where did the story for Source Code originate from? As far as you know was there a certain story or event that inspired the story?

MA: That’s probably a better question for the writer, Ben Ripley. I don’t know where the idea came from, but I must say that in reading the script, I feel he has managed to tap into many deep-rooted moral questions and issues as well as give the audience an intensely thrilling ride to go on. I think audiences will really get something out of this movie, even beyond the initial thrill of the story. It raises some interesting ethical and moral questions regarding basic human rights liberties.

BTT: From the trailer and the plot of the story there have been comparisons to Groundhog Day and the recent film Deja VU.  How do you feel about the comparison? How do you feel its different?

MA: I haven’t seen either of those, but I assume I can garner from their titles why the comparisons are being made. Every story has elements of other stories within it. We probably base all of our stories on a few great myths, so I think it would be silly to compare a few films with a slightly similar world. The idea of a day happening again and again most likely comes from a basic human nightmare or fear. It might be a similar setting, but I think this film will be an exciting new story for everyone to witness.

BTT: Can you tell us about your character, and how it fits into the story of the film?

MA: I don’ t want to give too much away. I play a guy named Derek Frost. How’s that? You’ll have to watch and see.

BTT: Were the most difficult aspects for you personally during the filming?

MA: The hardest part, probably for everyone, was shooting the same “scene” for a month and a half. We filmed on a hydraulic moving train set that swayed back and forth and repeated basically the same two-minute scene for what seemed like an eternity. Keeping it all fresh was a challenge and not letting the previous version seep in was paramount to the storytelling.

BTT: I’ve seen a majority of Source Code is filmed in Montreal. Does the film also take place in Montreal, or does the film take place in Chicago, while the filming took place in Montreal?

MA: The film takes place in and around Chicago. We filmed in Montreal because of the amazing crews and fantastic food. (Maybe that’s just what I like to believe.)

BTT: What was it like to film in Montreal and Chicago? Do you have any stories that occured during the filming that you can share with us that we may not
know about?

MA: Being in Montreal was a treat. It’s a beautiful city filled with gorgeous and lovely people. It feels like being in an English-speaking Europe. They also have wonderful live theater (both English and French.) One unexpected thing occurred during filming. We were meant to film the exteriors in Ottawa at an outdoor train station there, but there was a last minute glitch and we weren’t able to use the station. Our amazing team of designers and builders literally built an enormous train station and platform in a park in Montreal in a matter of a weekend, basically. It was quite a feat and looked incredible. Everything from a moving train-car to an entire false hill and parking lot. Movie magic.

BTT: Do you have a location that you have most enjoyed filming, and one where you hope to eventually film?

MA: I recently filmed in O’ahu for a show called OFF THE MAP on ABC. We were shooting on the old LOST sets and in places where JURASSIC PARK had been filmed. I have to say it was probably the most beautiful place I had ever been. And the Mai Tai’s were pretty tasty as well.

BTT: If there was one thing that the film makers or you would want us to take away from the film what would it be?

MA: I think the basic question of the movie (because I think everyone wisely has steered clear of trying to send a message) is what respect should a human life be given? The mind is capable of many things, among them; love, hate, greed, hubris and forgiveness. When man is given the power to play god over another person, this question of “Should I, or shouldn’t I?” becomes paramount. And in the decision, a man’s morals are brought to light. I think the film makers and writers have presented this idea beautifully and I hope it stays with the audience after the credits roll.