Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Berlin Review: Could 'War on Everyone' Be the Best Bad Cop Comedy Ever? Berlin Review: Could 'War on Everyone' Be the Best Bad Cop Comedy Ever? Berlin Review: With 'Midnight Special,' Jeff Nichols Offers Up a Very Special Sci-Fi Thriller Berlin Review: With 'Midnight Special,' Jeff Nichols Offers Up a Very Special Sci-Fi Thriller How They Designed the Characters and Sounds for the Oscar-Nominated 'Mad Max: Fury Road' How They Designed the Characters and Sounds for the Oscar-Nominated 'Mad Max: Fury Road' Meryl Streep to Fund The Writers Lab, Supporting Women Screenwriters Over 40 (EXCLUSIVE) Meryl Streep to Fund The Writers Lab, Supporting Women Screenwriters Over 40 (EXCLUSIVE) Oscar Predictions 2016 Oscar Predictions 2016 Roger Deakins on Shooting Hollywood From the Inside Out in 'Hail, Caesar!' (Video) Roger Deakins on Shooting Hollywood From the Inside Out in 'Hail, Caesar!' (Video) A Letter to Michael B. Jordan A Letter to Michael B. Jordan Bona Fide Acquires Movie Rights to Knausgaard New York Times Series 'My Saga' for Alexander Payne (EXCLUSIVE) Bona Fide Acquires Movie Rights to Knausgaard New York Times Series 'My Saga' for Alexander Payne (EXCLUSIVE) WATCH: 9 Oscar-Nominated Screenwriters on How They Got Their Start, Their Writing Process, and Much More WATCH: 9 Oscar-Nominated Screenwriters on How They Got Their Start, Their Writing Process, and Much More Inside the Oscar Nominees Lunch Inside the Oscar Nominees Lunch How John Ridley and Company Create the Emotional Resonance of 'American Crime' How John Ridley and Company Create the Emotional Resonance of 'American Crime' Top 10 Takeaways:  'Hail, Caesar!' Leads Three New Releases—Which Barely Total $20 Million Top 10 Takeaways: 'Hail, Caesar!' Leads Three New Releases—Which Barely Total $20 Million 'Deadpool' Review & Roundup: Ryan Reynolds Finds a Franchise Worthy of His Talents 'Deadpool' Review & Roundup: Ryan Reynolds Finds a Franchise Worthy of His Talents Arthouse Audit: 'The Club' and 'Rams' Reveal Weakness in Subtitled Film Market Arthouse Audit: 'The Club' and 'Rams' Reveal Weakness in Subtitled Film Market Inside the Directors Guild Awards Inside the Directors Guild Awards Joel & Ethan Coen Crack Each Other Up, And Me, Talking About 'Hail, Caesar!' Joel & Ethan Coen Crack Each Other Up, And Me, Talking About 'Hail, Caesar!' WATCH: Oscar Nominee Tom Hardy Explains Why Shooting 'The Revenant' Was So Bloody Hard (EXCLUSIVE VIDEO) WATCH: Oscar Nominee Tom Hardy Explains Why Shooting 'The Revenant' Was So Bloody Hard (EXCLUSIVE VIDEO) How They Created the Bear VFX for the Mauling of Leonardo DiCaprio in 'The Revenant' How They Created the Bear VFX for the Mauling of Leonardo DiCaprio in 'The Revenant' How Quentin Tarantino Resurrected Ultra Panavision 70 for 'The Hateful Eight' How Quentin Tarantino Resurrected Ultra Panavision 70 for 'The Hateful Eight' What Happened to Scorsese's $70-Million Short 'The Audition' Starring DiCaprio, De Niro and Pitt? What Happened to Scorsese's $70-Million Short 'The Audition' Starring DiCaprio, De Niro and Pitt?

Comic-Con Flips Over 'Elysium' Footage; Damon, Foster, Copley and Blomkamp Talk (EXCLUSIVE VIDEOS)

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood July 14, 2012 at 1:45AM

Ever since indie "District 9" put South African writer-director Neill Blomkamp on the map as an original filmmaker with an extraordinary command over VFX, film fans have eagerly awaited his next. I remember when Sony introduced the now iconic poster-campaign for the low-budget sci-fi thriller at Comic-Con 2009...
4
Matt Damon
Matt Damon
Neill Blomkamp
Neill Blomkamp

Ever since indie "District 9" put South African writer-director Neill Blomkamp on the map as an original filmmaker with an extraordinary command over VFX, film fans have eagerly awaited his next. I remember when Sony introduced the now iconic poster-campaign for the low-budget sci-fi thriller at Comic-Con 2009--which went on to earn a Best Picture nomination and $215 million worldwide. So Hall H couldn't have been more primed for seven minutes of early footage for the $90-million Sony pick-up "Elysium," which is in the middle of a long post-production process, due to an even bigger scale of VFX. They were not disappointed. (See my flip cam interview with Blomkamp and video from the panel below.)

"Comic-Con was good to me in 2009," Blomkamp told the crowd. "So I'm debuting some footage for 'Elysium.' I try to be as honest as I can as a filmmaker. There's an element of salesmanship that sometimes makes me feel distanced. But launching the film at Comic-Con is honest, fans wanting cool footage. I'm completely OK with it." The crowd ate it up.

For "District 9" breakout Sharlto Copley, "it was a defining moment of my life when I came here in 2009." When he read the first draft for "Elysium," he immediately saw potential in the role of the bad guy: "He allowed me to do something a little different from what you might expect from a movie villain." Copley is already moving on to play King Stefan, Angelina Jolie's lover in "Maleficent." "I pinch myself every day," he said.

Already, even in rough form, the effects are realistic, characteristically gritty and on a far grander scale than "District 9." Blomkamp takes a future factory worker parolee (Matt Damon) trying to go straight in one of many over-populated and infected Earth's city hell-holes. The film was shot on location at the second largest garbage dump in the world in Mexico City, where the crew could wear gas masks but the actors could not as fecal matter dust was kicked up by roaring helicopter blades. "I aways knew why I was there," Damon said in Hall H. "I tried not to think about it, I got to do it, signed up for movie, I was really going to go do this, we're there, we just do the work and go home."

The star basically signed up for a strong script by a filmmaker he admired; he was also wowed by the presentation materials Blomkamp has developed, including an entire detailed graphic novel on his computer and books on the world's weaponry and vehicles. "There was a lot to go on," Damon said.

"District 9" fan Jodie Foster plays a tough-ass commander on Elysium, the space station home for the wealthy who can afford to pay for unpolluted off-planet luxury living. When Damon gets radiated in an industrial accident, he is told he has five days to live; he returns to his criminal cronies to find a way to blast himself off to Elysium for a cure.

"Luckily the script came in and there was a girl in it," said Foster. "It was about all sorts of things that matter to me. He's someone who is able to marry intellectual big ideas with beautiful gut-wrenching explosions and death."

Producer Simon Kinberg ("X-Men") added that Blomkamp manages to "combine politics and social commentary, rich themes, and also the kickass fun of a bloody science-fiction action movie." They brought back much of Blomkamp's crew, but "working on a larger canvas with the same approach. The reality of that movie is important in this film as well, even if it's a fantastical sci-fi world."

Blomkamp admitted that there's a political subtext to the film. "There's no question the theme is about wealth discrepancy and the gap between rich and poor.  The films I want to make need to take place in interesting environments, the subtexts to the film are those relatively important and apparent themes and ideas. Layered on top of that is lot of explosions and popcorn."

I can't wait.

This article is related to: Comic-Con, Matt Damon, Matt Damon, Jodie Foster, Neill Blomkamp


E-Mail Updates






Festivals on TOH



Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.