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Exclusive: Neill Blomkamp Talks Politics Of 'Elysium,' "Nightmare" Of 'Halo' & Teases More 'AGM Heartland' On The Way

Photo of Kevin Jagernauth By Kevin Jagernauth | The Playlist July 14, 2012 at 2:57PM

Yesterday, Neill Blomkamp hit Hall H at Comic-Con with seven minutes of footage from his sophomore feature film effort, "Elysium." The "District 9" director was returning to San Diego as a bit of a hero, having unveiled his first feature at the convention to a rapturous reception and subsequent critical and box office success. But as fans know, Blomkamp nearly made his debut with the Peter Jackson-produced "Halo," an experience he has not minced words about, describing it earlier this year as "a clusterfuck from day one." But, sitting down to chat with our own Jeff Otto, he reveals: "I think 'Halo' was a complete blessing in disguise. I have no idea what would've happened to my career if I had done that."
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AGM Heartland

However, with the film largely being kept under wraps, boasting a much higher price tag than "District 9," and with expectations raised on the back of that film's incredible reception which included four Oscar nominations, you might think that Blomkamp would feel more pressure this time out. But instead, he's smartly given himself enough latitude that the experience is not all that different from his first time out. "It is surprisingly more similar to 'District 9' than I had anticipated. Everything just scales up linearly, in terms of filmmaking. In terms of pressure, it's the same as 'District 9,' there's no more pressure," Blomkamp said. "I've created a good situation with the way the autonomy I have to make the film is conducive to creativity and I think is a less stressful environment than a film like 'Spider-Man' or a film where there's a real amount of scrutiny happening on it to make sure that it makes the money it needs to make. Luckily, I've set it up in a way that it isn't necessarily exactly like that. And Sony has been really quite cool about the film trying to stay true to what it's about, and to not dilute it or water it down. They've been pretty awesome about that."

With the presentation at Hall H wrapped up and the film not hitting theaters until next year, we continue to wait to see more from "Elysium," but Blomkamp may have a little surprise for fans up his sleeve. Folks may remember that in the fall of 2010, a mysterious video he directed appeared in an iPad issue of Wired titled "AGM Heartland." Nothing has been heard about it since, but Blomkamp said it's "a weird, strange science fiction comedy" shot on an iPhone, and that there may be more on the way: "That has nothing to do with 'Elysium.' That's another project that may very well see the light of day soon, that is absolutely hilarious. Hilarious. I love that project. I may release another video of that pretty soon actually." Keep your eyes peeled.

"Elyisum" opens on March 1, 2013.

--Interview by Jeff Otto

This article is related to: Neill Blomkamp, Halo, Elysium, AGM Heartland, Comic-Con