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July 18, 2013 10:35 AM   Subscribe

District 9 director Neil Blomkamp talks to WIRED about Elysium, District 10, Halo, his desire to buy a skyscraper and almost casting Eminem or Ninja from Die Antwood in Elysium's Matt Damon role.
posted by Artw (50 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

 
Less spoilers than the trailer, FWIW.
posted by Artw at 10:38 AM on July 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


And it appears that Ninja will yet get a chance to cavort in front of Blomkamp's lens: he and his Die Antwoord partner, Yo-Landi Vi$$er, have both been cast in the filmmaker's forthcoming sci-fi comedy, Chappie.

I must have this movie now.
posted by Rock Steady at 10:41 AM on July 18, 2013 [9 favorites]


Depending how hopeless I feel, Blomkamp's dystopian class stratified future is either the best or worst case scenario.
posted by BrotherCaine at 10:44 AM on July 18, 2013


I would be 100% more interested in seeing Elysium if it starred Ninja from Die Antwoord instead of Matt Damon. And I don't even really like Die Antwoord.
posted by The World Famous at 10:45 AM on July 18, 2013 [12 favorites]


I know he's probably thrilled to have the budget and all, but yeah, the Typical Lead Actor thing in Elysium really decreased my level of interest in it.
posted by Sequence at 10:47 AM on July 18, 2013


The trailer looked meh, but District 9 purchased at least two movies of credit.
posted by Going To Maine at 10:47 AM on July 18, 2013 [13 favorites]


I read this earlier, and...man. He seems like a decent enough guy, Elysium looks fun, but I'm having a hard time avoiding a chapped ass over how it's probably pretty easy to be "slightly upbeat" in the face of a belief that the world is on track to a Malthusian catastrophe when, as he puts it, he's basically got the resources to create an Elysium for himself. The article doesn't give any indication that he detects any irony there, which is weird to me.
posted by invitapriore at 10:48 AM on July 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


Also, please explain that photo. Please. Because it is freaking me out.
posted by Going To Maine at 10:49 AM on July 18, 2013 [8 favorites]


Maybe it's a South African thing?
posted by Artw at 10:54 AM on July 18, 2013


(If he actually has some condition that messes up his arm, my apology. I was assuming some kind of photoshoppery.)
posted by Going To Maine at 10:55 AM on July 18, 2013


It does let him fire some pretty awesome zap-guns.
posted by Artw at 10:57 AM on July 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Dude has two ordinary arms when he wants, so I don't think he's got a condition.
posted by echo target at 11:00 AM on July 18, 2013


The orbital utopia scenes were shot in Vancouver, British Columbia

Ha! Knowing what I do of the rich people playground of Vancouver, this is so totally fitting.
posted by KokuRyu at 11:16 AM on July 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


Although it seems Eminem was "interested", he had a single, disqualifying condition: Elysium would have to be shot where he lives, in Detroit.

I'd have to fault the filmmakers for that one- a Detroit dystopia featuring Eminem as the 22nd century anti-Robocop would be a perfect love poem to that wretched city. Could help raise civic identity. Plus, Vancouver-LA is just so overdone.
posted by Apocryphon at 11:18 AM on July 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


This is great:

“When any young director gets hired by a studio to do a $125 million film based on a preexisting piece of intellectual property, they’re climbing into the meat grinder. And what you’re coming out with on the other side is a generic, heavily studio-controlled pile of garbage that ends up on the side of Burger King wrappers.”
posted by KokuRyu at 11:20 AM on July 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


He was only playing himself, but Eminem was pretty good in 8 Mile, managing to give the appearance of a lot of stuff constantly boiling under the surface. It's been disappointing he hasn't starred in any more movies. I wanted to see if that was a one time thing or if he had it in him to give some great performances.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 11:21 AM on July 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


a Detroit dystopia featuring Eminem as the 22nd century anti-Robocop would be a perfect love poem to that wretched city.

I'm not sure how other people from Detroit feel about it, but as a current resident of Los Angeles who grew up in the Detroit area, it really annoys me that the only kind of "love poem" anyone ever seems interested in writing to Detroit is the kind that refers to it as a "wretched city."
posted by The World Famous at 11:22 AM on July 18, 2013 [4 favorites]


"Now, now: lay off Detroit. Them people is livin' in Mad Max times."
posted by DirtyOldTown at 11:27 AM on July 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


A city has to be wretched for it to rise like a phoenix from the ashes.

- Ra's al Ghul
posted by Apocryphon at 11:34 AM on July 18, 2013


I'm really not sure what it says that Mexico City is easier to film your dystopia in Than Detroit. Which gets to claim to be the more messed up?
posted by Artw at 11:45 AM on July 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


Just to answer my earlier question completely, it seems like this kind of photograph is Asger Carlson's thing. His horrible, horrible thing.
posted by Going To Maine at 11:45 AM on July 18, 2013 [8 favorites]


I would watch the fuck out of District 10. 9 is one of my favorite movies.
posted by Fister Roboto at 11:52 AM on July 18, 2013


Thanks to District 9, I will be going to see Elysium. He sold me on that movie on his abilities, now he just has to prove that it wasn't just one flash in the pan. If he does it again, then the man will have my loyalty to his films for a good long while. It also doesn't hurt that I like Damon and Foster and the basic premise of the movie (all wins!).
posted by Atreides at 12:10 PM on July 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


But ultimately, according to Blomkamp and published accounts, the unusual financial model—two studios sharing profits with an unbending Microsoft—killed Halo. Which didn’t stop the blame from being spread around. “One of the studios was quoted as saying it had no confidence in Neill,” Jackson says. “I thought, ‘You shit bags!’ It was studio egos that brought Halo down.”

IMO media set in the Halo universe is too voluminous already. Limiting the series to the games and a limited number of outside-canon novels, and perhaps Halo:Legends series, would have been a better idea. The core issue is that Halo: CE and Halo 2 were so appealing to audiences because in addition to gameplay they brought an overwhelming sense of mystery and loss (in no small part due to the O'Donnell/Salvatori score), and that appeal has dissipated as a "fill all the gaps" mindset has taken over at 343.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 12:20 PM on July 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


But Blomkamp insists Elysium isn’t some sort of filmic Paul Krugman op-ed piece. It’s important for him that his movies grapple with things that matter, in this case economic disparity, immigration, health care, corporate greed. But he disdains prescription-happy “message” movies—that’s what documentaries are for, he says—and intends Elysium to be first and foremost a mass-appeal, summer popcorn flick.

I'm so relieved to read this. I've been counting down the days to another Blomkamp movie since D9, but was really dismayed by the Elysium trailer's glossy commercialism. Expectations managed. I shall watch this and eat popcorn like Blomkamp intended.

I am, however, scratching my head over his disdain of "prescription-happy 'message' movies". I have a deep and unabiding love for D9 (I forced my entire family to watch it on the plane on our last family trip), but I feel like I've been bludgeoned with message truncheon when I watched D9 and even the short Elysium trailer.
posted by peripathetic at 12:47 PM on July 18, 2013


District 9 never quite gelled for me. The docu format in the first half was great, but had me missing Blomkamp’s “Alive in Joburg” short. But then it dropped that conceit halfway through to get all buddy cop action flick. Visually impressive, of course, but I was a bit disappointed.

Maybe I need to give it another chance. But I’m feeling a little Elysium-shy at the moment.
posted by sidesh0w at 12:49 PM on July 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


His denial (in the Wired article) of having any sort of message or viewpoint on politics makes me not want to see this movie. D9 was one of the bravest, smartest sci-fi films of the past 20 years because it had something to say about oppression. If this is just another Matt Damon blows shit up in space movie I think I'll skip it like I do all the other meaningless eye candy.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 12:50 PM on July 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


Watching Elysium is probably as close as I will ever get to seeing a space colony like the ones that I read about as a kid in The High Frontier. The design looks a lot like the Stanford Torus proposal. When I was reading that book in the late seventies, I really thought that we'd have colonies like that for real by now and not just movies about them.
posted by octothorpe at 12:54 PM on July 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


His denial (in the Wired article) of having any sort of message or viewpoint on politics makes me not want to see this movie.
I'm not sure we can really take Blomkamp's word on that, though. After all, this is financed by a major studio, and they'd probably be (understandably) squeamish about the director doing PR that boils down to "What, are you blind? OF COURSE this is about [x]" and running the risk of pissing off half their potential audience.

I'm looking forward to it, though! District 9 had its problems, but it was far more imaginative than what usually passes for sf onscreen and nasty in a way that reminded me of classic Paul Verhoeven.
posted by Merzbau at 1:05 PM on July 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Well I for one am excited for Elysium. In my head, it's going to be The Dispossessed: Dispossess This.
posted by trunk muffins at 2:26 PM on July 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Chappie is supposedly based on Blomkamp's short Tetra Vaal.

I don't know if it's going to tie in with the mutant pig or whatever viral teaser vids that have appeared in the last couple of years 1st one, Ninja films Yolandi, Canada (NSFW industrial level swearing)

Love Die Antwood and I'm kinda intrigued to see what Ninja and Yolandi could do on screen away from their music videos and Harmony Korine's wilfully fucked up short Umshini Wam

Oh and please don't fuck up, Elysium
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 2:28 PM on July 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


You can evoke important issues without having an explicit or implicit message or viewpoint on politics. Children of Men wasn't explicitly pro-immigration or pro-natalist but there's enough content there for commentators to read the tea leaves.
posted by Apocryphon at 2:30 PM on July 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


If this is just another Matt Damon blows shit up in space movie

Wait. There's another Matt Damon blows shit up in space movie? Which one?
posted by The World Famous at 3:02 PM on July 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


So now I've actually read the article in detail I'm guessing the mutant pig stuff is actually for Mild Oats given that the last one ends with a 'Marvin' title card
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:13 PM on July 18, 2013


I remember an interview with Blomkamp after district 9 where he said "The future looks a lot like Johannesburg, huge extremes of wealth and poverty". Elysium fits in with that fairly well.

I don't know about the movie itself though. I saw the trailer and I couldn't help but think later "I want to see that space station fall burning out of the sky". That was literally my only desire for the movie. I think it's going to disappoint me on that end.
posted by Grimgrin at 3:20 PM on July 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


I love District 9 and Neil Blomkamp but Die Antwoord's whole hyper jokey persona really, really bugs me.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 5:06 PM on July 18, 2013


The best thing about casting Ninja in a real movie would be seeing him play a character other than Ninja for a change.
posted by The World Famous at 5:23 PM on July 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


I would love a movie with either Die Antwoord's in it. Be interesting to see if Ninja could play a character that wasn't insanely boastful and brash. I would watch any Yolandi movie simple cos it would have to be weird and wild.
posted by greenhornet at 12:49 AM on July 19, 2013


I'm looking forward to it, though! District 9 had its problems, but it was far more imaginative than what usually passes for sf onscreen and nasty in a way that reminded me of classic Paul Verhoeven.

I think this means we can be friends. Seconded!
posted by ersatz at 3:23 PM on July 19, 2013


> The best thing about casting Ninja in a real movie would be seeing him play a character other than Ninja for a change.

> Be interesting to see if Ninja could play a character that wasn't insanely boastful and brash.

Guys, just check out Max Normal, the Antwoords' former project & personas. A "corporate hip-hop" schtick, it featured them rapping in suits and ties and being really polite.
posted by Tom-B at 6:07 PM on July 23, 2013


How Science Fiction Tricked Hollywood Into Making the Year's Most Radical Film
posted by homunculus at 3:59 PM on August 9, 2013


The Colbert Report: Matt Damon happens upon Stephen in the break room and chats about his futuristic film, "Elysium."
posted by homunculus at 4:03 PM on August 9, 2013


Seeing this tomorrow, still looking forward to it.
posted by Atreides at 7:28 PM on August 9, 2013


Nice little Kafkaesque clip there.
posted by BrotherCaine at 9:25 PM on August 9, 2013


Space Station Science: Could Humanity Really Build 'Elysium'?
posted by homunculus at 1:48 PM on August 10, 2013


It was a good movie. It definitely felt like a Blomkamp film, from the violent over the top weaponry to the protagonist's decision after going through his journey. Jodie Foster was excellent.
posted by Atreides at 4:37 PM on August 10, 2013


Sony and MRC to Finance Neill Blomkamp’s Sci-Fi Film CHAPPIE; Official Synopsis Released
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 1:29 PM on August 13, 2013


Sorry, Mr. Blomkamp, someone has already done a sentient robot with AI used by criminals to commit a crime movie. I DOUBT YOU CAN DO BETTER.


Los Locos kick your ass,
Los Locos kick your face,
Los Locos kick your balls into outer space!

posted by Atreides at 2:28 PM on August 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


my favorite part of Elysium was how giant space station mainframes still understand x86 assembly in 2154
posted by invitapriore at 2:39 PM on August 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


My not-so-favorite part was how they left out Takeshi Kovacs.
posted by snuffleupagus at 4:51 PM on August 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


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