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Franchise Compromise Sucks: Neill Blomkamp On Why He Wouldn't Do 'Star Trek' Or Any Other Franchise

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by Edward Davis
July 5, 2013 2:31 PM
7 Comments
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Neill Blomkamp,

Franchises and "edgy" visions just don't mix. See Darren Aronofsky's takes on "The Wolverine" or "Batman: Year One" (pre-Christopher Nolan takes), Joe Carnahan and "Daredevil," Joss Whedon's "Wonder Woman," etc. Studios are generally looking for something within the comfort zone of a property. You can be dark -- see Nolan's 'Dark Knight' films -- but you can't be too crazy. This is a tentpole after all and they're designed to reach the maximum number of people. Which is probably why you sadly can't do anything too adventurous with the upcoming "Star Wars" movies. Speaking of that series, that'll obviously be multiple films that will need various directors, when asked about it, "District 9" filmmaker Neill Blomkamp took himself immediately out of the running.

The filmmaker, who has his ambitious dystopian sci-fi film "Elysium" coming out later this summer starring Matt Damon, didn't really address why he wouldn't want to be part of the upcoming "Star Wars" films other than saying he "wouldn't be the right guy for it." But while recently talking to Danish website Filmz, Blomkamp elaborated on his franchise dislike when asked if he would want to direct "Star Trek 3" now that it seems that J.J. Abrams is too busy with the aforementioned series.

"Dude, I used to be a 'Star Trek: The Next Generation' fan. Like, big time," Blomkamp explained. "But no, I probably wouldn't do that." Why? Blomkamp was diplomatic, but essentially explained the creative compromise that generally comes with franchise-making. Something he's not interested in.

"I don't know if me getting involved with a franchise is the best thing for me," he said. "When studios smell franchises, they smell money. And they'll try to do what they can to the franchise to make it make the most money it can make, and a lot of those interesting ideas kind of fall by the side of the road. Do I like 'Star Trek' on its own without the politics of making it? Yes, absolutely. But do I think that you could make it in the way that I would want to make it? Probably not… which makes me not want to make it."

Hard to fault the guy for holding such a position and admittedly, it's a fairly admirable position considering there's only a handful of genre filmmakers working at his scale and level -- Nolan, Alfonso Cuaron, Guillermo del Toro, James Cameron, Rian Johnson -- who primarily would rather tell their own original stories than board some pre-existing brand. Perhaps it was his terrible experience on trying to adapt the video game "Halo" that wised him up to the pitfalls of franchise and movies made by committee. Of course anyone could change their tune, but so far, Blomkamp's been making ambitious movies made on his own unique ideas and it doesn't seem like he'll stop anytime soon. "Elysium" hits theaters August 9th (three new photos below) and the director is already starting pre-production on his next project: a sci-fi comedy that he co-wrote with his wife called "Chappie." Let's hope he can continue the good fight since opportunities for expensive sci-fi genre films might be taking a hit soon.

Elysium, Matt Damon
Elysium,
Elysium, Jodie Foster
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7 Comments

  • Piotr | July 9, 2013 11:54 PMReply

    "Because they haven't asked." - Neill Blomkamp

  • a guy named joe | July 6, 2013 10:23 AMReply

    Bravo, Neill. And what a waste it would be to restrain a great writer/director with a franchise when his original stories and movies are so great.

  • Breakfast cereal | July 5, 2013 4:39 PMReply

    Matty D is welcome to come around and save me any day :-)

  • Marko | July 5, 2013 4:02 PMReply

    I find it amusing though that only one out of those five other directors that you mentioned has gone without making sequel or film based on a pre-existing brand.

  • Stephen B | July 6, 2013 10:29 PM

    Cameron kind of set the standard for what a sequel should be.

  • read | July 6, 2013 10:36 AM

    " who ***primarily** would rather tell their own original stories."

    Even Nolan turned that Batman mythos largely into his own thing.

  • MAL | July 5, 2013 3:02 PMReply

    I like this guy more and more, and am completely stoked for Elysium.

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