South African-Canadian director Neill Blomkamp burst onto the scene in 2009 with the release of his science-fiction dystopia District 9. His first film’s peculiar blend of South African culture and social segregation resulted in a contemporary genre film classic that is still frequently cited among the very best films of the 2000s. Unfortunately, Blomkamp followed his theatrical debut with the like-minded action-thriller Elysium in 2013 to moderate success but less acclaim from fans, and most recently failed to impress yet again with the release of Chappie in 2015.
Even more recently, Blomkamp’s plans for an Alien franchise sequel were put on hold indeterminately, despite interest from several returning cast members. However, it would appear that the South African native has been keeping busy of late despite some minor set backs, and the latest word has it that he is currently directing two major A-list Hollywood stars in the new short film The Escape.
According to THR, Blomkamp is currently attached to direct Clive Owen (The Knick) in a reboot of the BMW Films series dubbed The Hire from 2001 and 2002 under the new title The Escape (see the teaser trailer above). Alongside co-stars Jon Bernthal (Daredevil), Dakota Fanning (Coraline), and Vera Farmiga (The Conjuring 2), Owen will reprise his role in the new movie as the enigmatic driver hired to perform various operations while behind the wheel of a BMW sports car.
For those following the goings about of Blomkamp closely on social media, you might have noticed a few photos released on the director’s personal Instagram account teasing a new project unrelated to his Alien 5 script – in addition to a candid shot posted by Bernthal from the set of The Escape. Check out the original social media postings from Blomkamp and Bernthal below:
New film. Coming soon. Big love y'all. pic.twitter.com/sWgTcDLdOT— Jon Bernthal (@jonnybernthal) September 16, 2016
The original series from BMW Films included films from such critically acclaimed directors as Alejandro G. Inarritu (The Revenant) and Ang Lee (Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk), and was executive produced by the likes of David Fincher (Gone Girl) for season 1 and Tony (Top Gun) and Ridley Scott (The Martian) for season 2. Given such a storied legacy, Blomkamp’s interest in directing future projects in the series has been in place for quite some time. Speaking to his personal investment in The Escape, Blomkamp stated:
“When I was in film school, these films were really groundbreaking. They seemed like the perfect halfway point between commercials and features. I actually emailed the production company as a 20-year-old and was like, ‘I’d really like to make one of these.’ They wrote back, ‘Never contact us again.’ And here I am.”
With any luck, The Escape will prove beneficial for both BMW Films and Blomkamp, and will serve to hone the director’s skills behind the camera before he takes the plunge on another feature length production. Owen, Bernthal, Fanning, and Farmiga are veritable talents in their own respective rights, and with Blomkamp in the director’s chair the entire production should result in a more than intriguing short film.
The Escape will premiere on BMWFilms.com on October 23, 2016 at 6pm EST.