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Damon, Foster and Blomkamp Talk Upcoming Original Sci-Fi Entry 'Elysium' in New EW (VIDEO)

Photo of Beth Hanna By Beth Hanna | Thompson on Hollywood July 25, 2013 at 12:18PM

In this week's edition of Entertainment Weekly (on newsstands July 26), director Neill Blomkamp and stars Matt Damon and Jodie Foster talk upcoming original sci-fi entry "Elysium," hitting theaters August 9. Blomkamp discusses the pressures of making his first big-budget tentpole, while Damon and Foster describe their first impressions of the director.
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Cover detail of Entertainment Weekly's July 26, 2013, edition
Cover detail of Entertainment Weekly's July 26, 2013, edition

Director Neill Blomkamp (Oscar-nominated "District 9") and stars Matt Damon and Jodie Foster talk upcoming original sci-fi entry "Elysium" (August 9), in this week's edition of Entertainment Weekly (on newsstands July 26). Blomkamp discusses the pressures of making his first big-budget tentpole, while Damon and Foster describe their first impressions of the director.

The film is set in 2154, and Earth has become a Third World slum. Damon's character, an Earth dweller, is accidentally exposed to lethal radiation at the L.A. factory where he works, and is given five days to live. To save himself and his world's population, he hatches a plan to break into Elysium, the satellite planet created by the rich and powerful, where any ailment can be cured within seconds. Foster's character is the head of Elysium's Civil Cooperation Bureau, while Sharlto Copley ("District 9") plays a henchman assigned to take out Damon's character. (Watch our Comic-Con 2012 coverage here, Blomkamp video interview below; and trailer here.)

Blomkamp on the pressure of making a $100 million tentpole film:

“No one ever said to me, ‘This movie has to make its money back.' But you’d have to be a moron to not understand that. They’re investing in this film the same way they’re investing in, like, real estate... High-level actors can be these razor-sharp tools that help you tell the story. But they can also be all about their close-ups and the size of their trailers. I was very apprehensive. You just hear all these horror stories…”

Foster on Blomkamp:

"You would never even know he’s a director. He walks up to you on set and you think he’s some guy on the crew.” 

Damon on Blomkamp:

“I think he was even reluctant to meet me. He kept saying, ‘I’m not doing anything Hollywood,’ and I was like, ‘Dude, I live in New York.’ We ended up meeting in a diner, and he was kind of giving me the one-eye for the first 10 minutes or so...Neill’s really fun to talk to, but he’s definitely pessimistic. Get him talking about where he thinks the world is going if you want to slit your wrists.”

South African Blomkamp on America:

“America’s like a beacon in the world. But I feel like I’m watching it go down the toilet in front of my eyes. I’m fairly certain that this country is going to have pockets of Third World poverty within 50 to 60 years... I knew that to show L.A., one of the richest cities in the world, as completely broken and dilapidated would mess with the audience. I wanted to show Americans what it feels like to be on the other side of the border.”

This article is related to: Interviews, Entertainment Weekly, Matt Damon, Jodie Foster, Neill Blomkamp, Neill Blomkamp, Elysium


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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.