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Exclusive: Doug Liman On Jumper

That's a sci-fi movie, not a woolen

Doug Liman has succeeded in every genre he's touched so far: buddy comedy (Swingers), ensemble drama (Go), action movie (The Bourne Identity), romantic comedy (Mr And Mrs Smith). Now, he's tackling sci-fi, and it might be the director's biggest challenge so far.

Jumper, the story of a young man (Hayden Christensen) who discovers that he can teleport and sets out to find the man responsible for his mother's death, involved a lengthy production process, casting changes and all sorts of scurrilous rumour about troubled sets.

"This is by far the most ambitious thing I've ever done," Doug Liman told Empire recently. "The script came to me a little under two years ago. I loved the concept; the script needed a lot of work – which is the story of my life. Which probably doesn’t mean the script always needs a lot of work, just that I have unusual taste or something...So, we spent about 9-10 months working on the script and then started shooting last August".

In re-tooling the script, Liman decided to excise one key element: the villain. Though Samuel L. Jackson's character, a government agent tasked with tracking and killing all jumpers, would appear to be the natural bad guy, Liman says that things are not so clear cut in his version.

"I've figured out what a Doug Liman movie is. A Doug Liman movie is one where there is no villain," Liman continues. "Everyone has their different viewpoints, so who says that the person you're following has to be the hero. I think it's much more interesting to have the grey areas".

As with any movie taking over two years to make, and, in fact, any movie directed by Doug Liman, there have been numerous press reports that things have been troubled on set. Something Liman dismisses simply as time spent getting the movie right.

"I remember an argument that I had with the head of Universal [when making The Bourne Identity] and she said, 'This isn't your film school. You don't get to run around and try ideas out. This isn't your film school'. She was wrong. That's the way you get something original. You don't want to fall back on something someone else has done. Then you're a hack".

For more of Doug Liman on Jumper, including the reasons for recasting his leading man, pick up the new issue of Empire, on sale Friday.

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