Neill Blomkamp Talks District 9

Published 6 years ago by , Updated August 10th, 2009 at 12:20 pm,

district 9 trailer Neill Blomkamp Talks District 9

Coming Soon got a chance to sit down twice with District 9 director, Neill Blomkamp, both before (at Comic-Con) and after they had a chance to see the movie. We have some of the pre-interview for you here which therefore doesn’t contain anything we haven’t seen in the trailers, posters or images (i.e. there’s no real spoilers).

District 9 represents Blomkamp’s first ever full-length feature film directing gig (and the first he’s ever written). It is based on his first short film from 2005 called Alive in Joburg. Set in South Africa, the film is about a race of alien creatures who are forced by humans to live in slum-like conditions on Earth, but help in a “sympathetic government agent.”

In his interview with Coming Soon, Blomkamp talked about various aspects of District 9, from how it got started, what the film is like, to what he wants people to get out of it. First up, here’s what he had to say about how long it’s been in the works:

“We spent 2007 just writing it and developing all the artwork and the design and everything, so I guess that was very quiet, and it was financed… a little bit outside the studio system, but then Sony picked it up really quickly. I guess we were just laying low by the nature of how the film was structured. Just being left alone to make it. Most of 2008 was really shooting and then the later part of 2008 was editing. We only started ramping up all of the press stuff or the media stuff probably eight months ago.”

The film is done in a sci-fi documentary style, but Blomkamp explains that it’s also like a normal, narrative movie, too:

“It’s kind of docu real life footage of all means–news, documentary, security cameras–but then a whole bunch of it is just cinematic, so you kind of bounce between traditional cinematic storytelling and then real found footage and back again.”

Since Blomkamp comes from a visual effects background (he’s worked on Stargate SG-1, Smallville and 3000 Miles To Graceland), it’s no surprise to find that there’s a fair amount of that kind of thing in District 9. Here’s some of what Blomkamp had to say about the effects within the movie:

“The practical stuff is a lot of the inanimate stuff that’s lying around like alien weapons or vehicles are practical but for the most part, anything truly alien, like a ship or the creatures, they’re all visual FX, they’re all digital. I love in-camera stuff. I love that kind of 1980′s sci-fi edge to things where it feels like it was captured in the camera, but unfortunately with how well-versed audiences are now on movies. If you give them some sort of animatronic creature that doesn’t move as well as a CG creature, they’re going to be pissed. The key now is to try to make the CG feel like it’s in-camera as much as possible.”

district 9 alien Neill Blomkamp Talks District 9

One of the aliens from 'District 9'

Finally, Blomkamp talked about what his hopes are for audience reaction:

“I hope it finds an audience, Jesus… yeah, I really hope it does. I mean I honestly have no idea how people are going to receive it, but one thing I was hyper-aware of was the fact that if I come out of the gates with a first film that just tanks, it’s not going to be good for me, so that in one side of my mind and then on the other side of my mind, I had a whole bunch of science fiction ideas and concepts and just themes and imagery that I wanted to have realized. I think this film is a pretty good merge between the two. It still is a ride and it’s still something audiences hopefully will be engaged with, but it’s not totally conventional.”

For the rest of the District 9 interview, where Blomkamp talks about other such things as the designs of the movie’s aliens and his thoughts on working with producer Peter Jackson, head over to Coming Soon.

Some movie fans were a little apprehensive about Blomkamp (being a first-timer, and all) when his first film popped on the radar, but as more and more great stuff gets released, those doubts have been diminishing substantially. The lucky few folks who saw the film at Comic-Con last month have all raved about the film and I trust that we’re in for something awesome.

As a little bonus, he’s a brand new video of District 9. Enjoy!

District 9 is certainly one of the more intriguing and interesting sci-fi films to come along in a while (it came third in Screen Rant‘s “Hottest Things To Come Out of Comic-Con” poll). Don’t worry – It won’t be long before we’ll all get to find out if it’s as good as it looks.

For more about the film visit the District 9 Official Site.

What do you think of what Neill Blomkamp has said in the above interview?

District 9 opens next Friday in the US, and on September 4th in the UK.

Source: ComingSoon, Sci-Fi Scoop, EW Neill Blomkamp Talks District 9

TAGS: District 9
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  1. I must applaude these guys. They did a great job with District 9.

  2. finding out they made this movie on a $30 million dollar budget is amazing. It has the look of a $100 million dollar movie. It looks brilliant!

  3. I have been waiting for this movie since I first saw the little pixilated teaser on this website months ago! So excited it’s coming out a week from today.

    What was that Starz ‘Spartacus’ blurb that played right before the trailer in this post? Is that anything worth looking at?

  4. this movie looks amazing!!! Its about time we get something original. I know there is no real big name actors in the movie I think the movie is going to be good. Anything with Peter jacksons name on it is usually gold!!! I know alot of people didnt like King Kong but I thought it was good…Lord of the rings is my FAV!!! He is a master!!!!
    Cant wait till next friday!!!!!!!

  5. I loved this movie, it was so good. In my opinion its one of the best movies of 2009

  6. those scenes with the mech-suit excite me so much, and from the trailers it looks to be an uber action packed awesome couple of scenes lol.

  7. I’m seeing this on Friday damn my job!

  8. my review..(i was not aware and nor followed any trailer or hype..just heard of the movie and got 2 preview passes)

    first half Sci fi docu style …started to loose me in my consentration but quickly picked up as characters and bio was explained…
    when the movie plot started to peek in will loose it again and picked it up as the story unfolds… all starts to make sense and eager to move along and see what comes next…a whee bit roller coaster ride with as slight anticipation for a plunge then it accends slowly with bits of exite nudges to your heart as the gore level is as equivalent to Rambo 4…(the Mecha fight scene) revenge always felt good from the witness eyes…

    a sudden feel that this was comming out from a cross of IRONMAN, Unreal Tournament and Starwars comes into mind with hi tech computronics, freaking awesome weaponry.

    for a sci fi nerd like myself…i am pleased to say it was a good feed in the end….

    You guys go and watch it..its worth the popcorn and sodas..
    and girls…if you just like romantic comedy and same ol relationship stuff kind of movie…this is not for you…

    Gore level : comming par with RAMBO 4

    people like get zapped and explode to bits in here…brilliant!!!!

  9. Three words, -OH-MY-GOD-, The movie had amazing digital effects and the actors portrayed being around them very, very well. This movie is one of my favorites of all time, being action, but yet passionate and deep. The movie is amazing and I hope they make a sequel entitled “District 10″ or something. Amazing movie, really.

  10. I saw it today and I second the -OH MY GOD-it was a great movie…well worth the wait and the price of the ticket. Very moving, surprisingly touching and just amazing amazing amazing. The lead human was excellent! The lead alien was excellent!

    Do not go with a queazy stomach!

  11. Robotics: Don’t give up your day job, reviewing is not your forte…you missed it completely-almost like you watched a diff movie.

  12. a review, dung30n style:
    when a film bores me, or is unsettling, i can smoke up to 10 cigarettes during the movie. with D9 i had 2, one at the start, then spent the whole lenght of it glued to the screen, hardly even breathing, and then had one at the end. definitely cinema worthy.