District 9

Aug. 07, 2013 | 12:21 p.m.

‘Elysium': Sharlto Copley on ‘creative chemistry’ with Neill Blomkamp

Tim Burton has Johnny Depp. Martin Scorsese has Leonardo DiCaprio. And Neill Blomkamp has Sharlto Copley. The “District 9” writer-director and his leading man might not be as well known as others in Hollywood, but Blomkamp and Copley are emerging as one of science fiction’s most loyal and potent actor-director partnerships. Copley played a mild-mannered bureaucrat charged with relocating some aliens in Blomkamp’s Oscar-nominated 2009 sleeper hit, and now the “District 9” duo is working together again on two more movies, a sci-fi comedy called “Chappie” and Friday’s future-set drama “Elysium.” “There’s an intangible creative chemistry when I work with Neill,” Copley said of the friend he met when he was 22 and Blomkamp was 16. “We have common tastes and styles of what we like in film and characters.” In Blomkamp’s latest, Earth is crime-ridden and overpopulated, and the […]
Aug. 06, 2013 | 11:48 a.m.

‘Elysium: The Art of the Film’ details Neill Blomkamp’s sci-fi tale

From "Elysium: The Art of the Film." Motion Picture Artwork and Photography © 2013 TriStar Pictures Inc. All rights reserved.
Neill Blomkamp’s second feature “Elysium” opens in theaters Friday, but a new book out Tuesday showcases the unique production design of the politically minded sci-fi tale. “Elysium: The Art of the Film,” written by Mark Salisbury, collects production art, photos and cast and crew commentary and includes a foreword by Blomkamp. Hero Complex readers can click through the gallery above to see a selection of images from the book. Blomkamp won a massive following with his full-length debut, 2009’s South African-set “District 9,” which earned upwards of $115 million in North America and received an Oscar nomination for best picture, and “Elysium” arrives with a great deal of fan anticipation. Set in 2154, the film stars Matt Damon as the heavily tattooed Max Da Costa, a down-on-his-luck reformed thief who embarks on a desperate mission to break into the orbiting […]
Aug. 03, 2013 | 10:00 a.m.

‘Elysium’ director Neill Blomkamp on political sci-fi: Society gets to me

Neill Blomkamp is photographed in Santa Monica on July 15, 2013. (Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times)
In the future-set utopia that Neill Blomkamp dreamed up for “Elysium,” the lawns are manicured and lush, the women are slim and beautiful, and everyone is very, very rich. If that sounds a lot like certain neighborhoods in Los Angeles, it’s no accident — the South Africa-born writer-director found inspiration for his fictional enclave in Bel-Air and Beverly Hills as well as wealthy sections of his home city, Johannesburg. “A lot of parts of L.A. are interchangeable with suburbs in Joburg,” Blomkamp said. “Very big, ostentatious houses with palm trees and lawns. Lawns are very important. Never underestimate lawns.” Blomkamp’s action movie, which opens Aug. 9, is about haves and have-nots in 2154, with the haves living on Elysium, a luxury habitat that orbits a ruined, overpopulated planet. Down on Earth, factory worker Max (a shaven, tattooed Matt Damon) contracts […]
Aug. 03, 2013 | 6:00 a.m.

‘Elysium': 33 photos from Neill Blomkamp’s Matt Damon, Jodie Foster film

Matt Damon, left, Alice Braga and Emma Tremblay in a scene from "Elysium." (Columbia TriStar Pictures)
“Elysium,” Neill’s Bloomkamp’s new politically minded sci-fi thriller, opens Friday, marking the second film from the talented South African writer-director who won an ardent following with his groundbreaking, Oscar-nominated debut, “District 9.” The story, set in the year 2154, sees Earth ravaged by drought and poverty; the wealthy have abandoned the planet for a blissful life on a beautiful space station called Elysium, a paradise where any illness can be cured and interlopers are kept out at extreme cost. After a workplace accident leaves him facing death, Matt Damon’s troubled, tattooed Max Da Costa finds himself in desperate need to reach Elysium and willing to embark on a wild scheme in order to save his own life. But his plans bring him into direct conflict with Jodie Foster’s officious Secretary Delacourt and a black-ops thug known as Kruger, played by […]
April 09, 2013 | 4:11 p.m.

‘Elysium': New trailer invites you to Bloomkamp’s space paradise

Matt Damon in "Elysium." Credit: Columbia TriStar Marketing Group, Inc.
The new trailer is out for “Elysium,” Neill Blomkamp’s highly anticipated follow-up to his Oscar-nominated feature debut “District 9,” and it promises to return the filmmaker to the realm of cerebral sci-fi that won him such an ardent following. In the year 2154, the wealthy residents of Earth have relocated to the paradise of Elysium, a beautiful space station where there is no poverty, no war and no sickness — and where strict anti-immigration measures ensure that only those rich enough to pay for admittance are admitted to its pristine confines. It’s the job of Jodie Foster’s Secretary Delacourt to keep out the hoi polloi. After an unexpected turn of events leaves Matt Damon’s Earth-bound tough guy Max in a fight for his life, he agrees to attempt a risky scheme to save himself, but he finds himself targeted by […]
June 09, 2011 | 6:17 a.m.

‘Super 8′: Will J.J. Abrams’ film add up to a ‘District 9′ success story?

Elle Fanning and Joel Courtney in "Super 8." (Francois Duhamel/Paramount Pictures)
A sci-fi movie with an elusive name — one word and one number — arrives in theaters during the summer with a relatively modest budget and special effects that, on the screen, look far bigger than their cost. There’s not a single movie star in it, though, because the project’s biggest name is its producer. The movie is called…”District 9.” Or perhaps “Super 8“? Paramount Pictures  executives are certainly hoping that Friday’s release of “Super 8,” from director J.J. Abrams and producer Steven Spielberg, will start a success story not unlike 2009’s “District 9,” the nimble Peter Jackson-produced enterprise that posted an opening weekend of $37 million in domestic box office and went on to an Academy Award nomination for best picture. John Horn of the Los Angeles Times takes a look at the commercial aspirations and challenges of this new film; here’s an excerpt […]
April 26, 2010 | 11:51 p.m.

Sharlto Copley was a howlin’ mad ‘A-Team’ fan: ‘We even had “A-Team” gangs at school’

ON THE SET: “THE A-TEAM” Here’s more Hero Complex coverage of “The A-Team” from Chris Lee’s visit to the set in Vancouver in December. Just like those prawn aliens in “District 9,” Sharlto Copley has a strange, long-hidden secret in his South African past: It turns out the actor may have been the biggest “A-Team” fan in his native country. “It was my favorite show when I was a kid,” Copley said of the NBC commando series that is now the basis of a feature film opening June 11 with Copley as one of its stars. “For the first two years it was on, I wasn’t allowed to watch; my parents thought it was too violent. “But I sneak-watched a few episodes. And I used to tape record the audio.” And, guess what, Copley’s favorite character on the TV series just happened to be Capt. […]
March 11, 2010 | 4:57 p.m.

Completely truthful posters for Oscar nominees

As we reflect on the glory (or the tedium) of the 82nd Academy Awards, here’s an imaginary visit to a Hollywood where movie posters live up to the high standards of truth in advertising: These are part of great collection cooked up by the jokers at College Humor, you should check out the entire gallery right here… And this one may be my favorite of the fanboy-leaning films in the mocking collection…    – Geoff Boucher  Images: CollegeHumor.com MORE RANDOM SILLINESS Top 10 vintage Batman toys … including a somewhat lewd watergun  VIDEO: Iron Man versus Bruce Lee Captain America and Spider-Man meet … Abe Lincoln? VIDEO: “SNL” flashback: Superhero party circa 1979 George Lucas at 3 a.m.? Think Jar Jar Binks rubberwear VIDEO: “Watchmen,” now Saturday morning safe
Jan. 27, 2010 | 12:20 a.m.

With ‘Avatar,’ ‘District 9′ and ‘Trek,’ Hollywood 2010 is a space odyssey

“Avatar” has become the highest grossing movie of all time, surpassing the Oscar-winning film “Titanic.” Will “Avatar” make a big mark on Oscar night too?  We talked earlier to Rebecca Keegan, the author of “The Futurist: The Life and Films of James Cameron,” and here she weighs in on why this could be the year a science-fiction film wins the Oscar for best picture. — Jevon Phillips Slasher films, pot comedies, anything starring The Rock — there are some movies that no one expects to win Academy Awards. And traditionally, Oscar’s no-fly list has included science fiction. Academy Award-winning films are supposed to be serious, weighty, historical — if your movie takes place in a galaxy far, far away, well, you can leave your tuxedo in the closet until it’s time to accept a somewhat less prestigious prize shaped like a rocket […]
Jan. 06, 2010 | 5:07 p.m.

‘District 9′ director Neill Blomkamp says a prequel ‘might be interesting’

NEILL BLOMKAMP INTERVIEW: PART 3 “District 9” got a best-picture nomination from the Producers Guild Assn., it was announced Tuesday, and the sci-fi film remains a wild card in the awards season. That’s music to the ears of Neill Blomkamp, the director who put himself on the map with the intriguing sci-fi tale based in his native South Africa. Here’s Part 3 of my interview with Blomkamp, whom I sat down with during his recent visit to Los Angeles. We began this segment by talking about casting and Blomkamp’s enthusiasm for using lesser-known actors such as Sharlto Copley, the “District 9″ star photographed below (on the left) with the director. (This Part 3 of the interview; read Part 1 here and Part 2 here.)   GB: What did the “District 9″ experience teach you about casting? NB: I’m not particularly […]
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