Neill Blomkamp on 'Alien' and Developing his Movie While Making 'Chappie'

Alien Isolation artwork

Director Neill Blomkamp hasn't had the best experiences with Hollywood in the past. At one point he was all set to make his feature directorial debut with a big-budget adaptation of the Halo video game franchise, only to find those plans scuppered when Fox and Universal got cold feet, leaving him to build District 9 out of the ruins of what Halo was going to be.

Of course, District 9 turned out to be a huge success for Blomkamp and he's since directed two more sci-fi action movies - Elysium and Chappie. Nonetheless, his experience with Halo left him so unwilling to put his faith in big studio projects that his agent eventually stopped sending him scripts. "There are many franchises out there I would love to participate in," Blomkamp said around the time of Elysium's release. "The problem is when you agree to do that, you take a lot of the control that you have over your own creative destiny away from yourself."

It seems there was one franchise that Blomkamp just couldn't resist, however, as the director recently announced that his next film will be a new entry in the Alien franchise. Sigourney Weaver, who played protagonist Ellen Ripley in four of the Alien movies (and the recent video game Alien: Isolation), plays a key role in Chappie, and in an interview with Entertainment Weekly Blomkamp explains that her input helped to shape his ideas for an Alien film.

"It did have to do with having Sigourney on Chappie... Over the years, I came up with a story for a film in that universe that I wanted to make. And then when I talked to her about her experience making those films and what she thought about Ripley and everything else, it informed and changed the film I wanted to make into something different.

"It just sort of stuck with me. A year later, when post-production was winding down on Chappie, I started fleshing out the idea for a film that would contain Sigourney. Fox never knew. I just worked on it when I could. Before I knew it, I had this really awesome film with a lot of artwork and a lot of backstory. And then I didn’t know whether I was going to make it or not. So I just kind of sat on it for a while."

Sigourney Weaver and Hugh Jackman in Chappie

Aside from the fact that he intends for Weaver to star in it, Blomkamp was unwilling to give up any details about his Alien film or even to comment on whether it would tie into Prometheus and its upcoming sequel. "I want to keep it on hyper-lockdown," he said firmly. "It’s early yet. It’s Chappie time."

If Ripley is returning then Blomkamp's Alien movie could be a sequel that takes place after the events of Alien: Resurrection. That film ended with Ripley (well, a clone of Ripley) landing on a devastated Earth with vague plans to hide out from the military there, but between the introduction of cloning technology and everything that might have happened in the intervening years, it's hard to guess where Blomkamp's version of Ripley will have ended up. It could also be the case that his film is set at some point in the two hundred years between the end of Alien 3 and the beginning of Alien: Resurrection.

Despite not having had the best experiences with Fox in the past, Blomkamp sounds cautiously optimistic going forward: "Fox was keen from the moment I showed it to them... So far, Fox seems really, really cool. So I'm really excited."

We’ll keep you updated on the development of Neill Blomkamp’s Alien movie as more information becomes available.

Source: Entertainment Weekly

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