Jonathan Mostow
is one of the "that guys" of the directing world: you almost always recognize his handiwork, but you're not quite sure who he is, because his films maintain a more assertive sense of themselves than they do of him (and we mean that as a compliment). Although he did some smaller films before then, 1997's Breakdown was his calling card as a filmmaker, and contained all of the elements that would signify something made by him – namely, an interesting idea that was executed with mastery of form and a comfortable grasp on genre conventions. Subsequently he directed the submarine thriller U-571 and Terminator 3, and his latest, Surrogates, is another example of high-concept storytelling streamlined to maximize its entertainment potential.

Cinematical recently sat down with Mostow in Los Angeles for an exclusive interview about the ins and outs of the film, which follows Bruce Willis as a cop investigating a murder in a futuristic society where humankind interacts through android proxies of themselves, called surrogates. In addition to explaining the film's world and surrogates' place within it, Mostow talked about his technique as a director marrying interesting ideas to effective storytelling, and reflected on his expansive career both as a director and producer.

Cinematical: What is the point of the surrogates for the people in this film? How does it revolutionize their lives?