‘Elysium’ Director Talks ‘District 9′ Sequel; Extended Preview Footage Review

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elysium riddick images Elysium Director Talks District 9 Sequel; Extended Preview Footage Review

On Monday in Hollywood, writer-director Neill Blomkamp, star Sharlto Copley and producer Simon Kinberg joined lead actor Matt Damon from his own simulcast in Berlin to show the new trailer that debuted today, plus 10 minutes of footage from their upcoming futuristic thriller Elysium.

Afterwards, Damon answered a few questions via satellite before Copley, Blomkamp and Kinberg headed upstairs for a longer Q&A to discuss how they feel Elysium builds on the themes from District 9.

Like District 9, the modestly budgeted South African thriller that grossed $210 million worldwide and launched Blomkamp and Copley’s global careers, Elysium is a dystopian science fiction flick with a real world bent. District 9 was about the haves and have-nots in South Africa. Elysium expands that idea to the solar system. On earth, the poor live in squalid 60-story skyscrapers and get roughed up by robot policeman. In the sky, the rich live in a space station called Elysium where robots serve them beverages as they lounge by the pool. It’s the ultimate gated community, and the setting for a flick about the ultimate break-in.

 Elysium Director Talks District 9 Sequel; Extended Preview Footage Review

While the trailer doesn’t reveal much — Blomkamp enjoys secrecy — the footage was more revealing. Damon plays Max Coburn, an earthbound ex-con in future Los Angeles trying to reform with a low-paying factory job. “He’s been in and out of trouble his whole life,” said Damon, which explains the thuggish neck tattoos that look a little odd paired with Damon’s snub-nosed, clean-cut looks. After a work accident leaves Max seriously injured, he vows to make it to Elysium for the cure.

But first, the people helping him get there demand a favor – one that requires implanting Max with a new metal brain stem and robot exoskeleton. He’ll need both to fight off the main villain: an Elysium security guard (a heavily bearded Copley, looking like a demented version of Hugh Jackman in Les Miserables) who’s a little too eager to blow up space shuttles of desperate refugees. Except for calmly ordering two droids to shoot-to-kill, Copley’s character barely spoke in the footage we saw, but he looks as gloriously unhinged as he did in District 9, even though here the outspoken improv actor actually had to memorize lines.

sharlto copley elysium image Elysium Director Talks District 9 Sequel; Extended Preview Footage Review

The South African is the villain again,” joked Copley, who’s gone from playing District 9 hapless hero to Elysium‘s brutal heavy. He and Blomkamp considered making his bad guy British or Eastern European, but finally settled on a specific type of local bush soldier who disappears into the wild for months at a time. “We just undid all the work we did for our country.

From the footage shown, Elysium‘s modern day parallels about health care and immigration are sharply drawn. The wealthy slip into Prometheus-esque medical pods and cure their own cancer as easily as grabbing a quick tan. The poor are left to die—and if they try to fly to Elysium for help, monitors like Jodie Foster quickly alert the guards to blast the “undocumented” ships from the sky.

According to Damon, Blomkamp mapped out and illustrated Elysium‘s segregated worlds a full year before shooting even began. To contrast with the eerie green and blue beauty of the space station, Blomkamp committed to shooting the earth scenes at the grungiest locations he could find in Mexico City: the second largest garbage dump in the world, and an outdoor sewer that the locals called, “Poo River.”

“I’m painting ridiculous ideas with a brush of reality,” said Blomkamp. “Proper science was thrown out of the window a little bit. Building a space station with marble and slate is semi-not-that-smart. It’s not really something that you want to do. But the metaphor of Bel Air in space is correct, so you just work towards that. So my approach is: start off with something ridiculous, and then try to use the most realistic portrayal of the ridiculous as you can.

 Elysium Director Talks District 9 Sequel; Extended Preview Footage Review

Still, Blomkamp stressed that Elysium wasn’t directly inspired by current events like the  Occupy movement. “It’s just being interested in the world,” he said. Plus, he recognizes that $100 million movies aren’t the most-straightforward way to change the world. “You can put ideas in there that are real issues,” said Blomkamp,  but added that if he really wanted to affect the global conversation, he’d make a documentary. “That would be the closest I could come to trying to make a difference.

As for if the much buzzed-about District 9 sequel is still on the table, Blomkamp merely said, “I think the world of District 9 had a lot of very interesting race and oppression-based ideas that I would still like to explore,” before talking cryptically about the “iconic characters,” he’d love to take his own crack at. Alas, Disney isn’t likely to invite him to turn Jar Jar Binks into a metaphor for global inequality.

But even though Elysium isn’t a direct sequel to District 9, the two share enough of the same ideas that they look like the natural progression of an imaginative director who got Hollywood to quadruple his last budget. Now, the pressure is: with Damon onboard, can Blomkamp’s second shot at folding social satire into a sci-fi flick at least double District 9‘s box office–and maybe even get a serious chance from the Academy Award for Best Picture?

Elysium hits theaters on August 9, 2013.

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  1. It seem like goog movie

  2. It seem like a good movie

  3. I think sci-fi as a metaphor is a much better method for enacting change than documentaries. Honestly, how many people go to see documentaries? How many go to see sci-fi flicks? The disparity is as great as the gulf between the haves and the have-nots in Elysium. (See what I did there?) It’s stealth social commentary.

    Of course, you don’t want to be an ass about it, otherwise people won’t want to watch your movie any more than they want to watch Al Gore’s “films”.

  4. “So my approach is: start off with something ridiculous, and then try to use the most realistic portrayal of the ridiculous as you can.””

    So basically he’s doing the exact opposite of Michael Bay. Bay starts off with something ridiculous, and then tries to draw attention away from that ridiculousness by making its portrayal and the character behavior even more ridiculous. I like Blomkamp’s approach much, much better. ;)

  5. I need to see this movie.

    NEED.

  6. This is easily one of my most anticipated films of the year. Should be an awesome way to wrap up the summer season.

  7. Best picture? Why even mention that. It may turn out to be a really good movie, but there is no way in hell it’ll even get nominated. Looking forward to it though.

    • District 9 sure did.

      B

  8. Alas, Disney isn’t likely to invite him to turn Jar Jar Binks into a metaphor for global inequality.

    LOL that made me chuckle. Elysium looks killer.

    B

  9. Soo…no District 9 sequel at this moment? :’(

  10. This movie seems fine, but what I really wanted was a sequel to District 9. When is THAT coming out????

  11. I thought this was some sort of an indirect sequel to District 9. Did they changed it or was that not the plan since day 1?

    • not a plan since day 1, but Neill Blomkamp, the director, said he would do the sequel for district 9 after Elysium

  12. This is one of my most anticipated films this year. I can’t wait

  13. This just rocketed past Pacific Rim and MOS for most anticipated movie. This is a good year for summer blockbusters.

  14. Anyone think some parts of the trailer looked like they wouldn’t be out of place in district 9?

  15. Looks great as we knew it would.

    My question is, there’s a rumour he’s considering going back to the Halo movie project. Any truth in that?

  16. I still dont understand why he’s not making a sequel to district 9. That movie was really succesfull and I loved it.
    Can any1 tell me when it will be released?( if theres a sequel)

  17. Seriously sick of this idiot. He makes the best movie ever in District 9 and then turns into a total D*CK when it comes to making a sequel. Dammit we do not need some metaphorical BS type continuation. NO. We need a district 10 to continue exactly where 9 left off, nothing less nothing more.

    Get your act together idiot because people WANT TO SEE THIS.

  18. I would love to explore another world of district 9 please consider another!!! We want district 10

  19. hello,
    my husband and i would love to see a sequel to district
    9….please consider this, the fans are waiting !!!!!
    thank you
    suzanne melnyk

  20. hello,
    we are hoping that you do a sequel to districk 9..
    we the fans have been waiting for awhile…..
    respectfully,
    suzanne melnyk

  21. Why would you need a sequel to district 9? The movie told a story and ended right there in the same movie. It is not like Star Wars or star truck where you can have lots of stories, characters and large universe to create many sequels!!

    As for this movie I hope they do it right, the characters should have good charisma, good guys and bad guys, the story must be really good and if he wants good revenue then he must have creative action and innovative worlds.

  22. Why would you need a sequel to district 9? The movie told a story and ended right there in the same movie. It is not like Star Wars or star truck where you can have lots of stories, characters and large universe to create many sequels!!
    As for this movie I hope they do it right, the characters should have good charisma, good guys and bad guys, the story must be really good and if he wants good revenue then he must have creative action and innovative worlds.

  23. Why would you need a sequel to district 9? The movie told a story and ended right there in the same movie. It is not like Star Wars or star truck where you can have lots of stories, characters and large universe to create many sequels!!

  24. As for this movie I hope they do it right, the characters should have good charisma, good guys and bad guys, the story must be really good and if he wants good revenue then he must have creative action and innovative worlds.

  25. Am I the only one that is severely disappointed with the choice of Damon as a lead in this otherwise, seemingly awesome creation from Blomkamp?! Please don’t get me wrong, no blatant disrespect to Damon, but it just strikes me as unfortunate that he was cast in this role. I’ll hold a permanent opinion until I see it, though(again)I unfortunately doubt it will be a picture I’ll pay to see in theaters… I don’t know, like I said, maybe I’m the only one that this strikes an uncomfortable cord with.

  26. I still can’t make up my mind if I am excited about Elysium or not.

  27. SEQUEL TO DISTRICT 9 is NEEDED!!!! I WANT TO SEE MY PEOPLE RETURN TO EARTH TO SAVE OUR STRANDED FRIENDS AND EXACT VENGENCE ON THE UGLY HUMANS!!!!!!! I NEED SOME CAT FOOD!!

  28. Sequel please….we need to know what happens when Wikus vd Merwe returns!!!!!
    Assablief man ons kan nie wag nie!
    SEQUEL…..someone needs to start a petition!!!