Rebecca Keegan

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 […]
July 19, 2013 | 8:00 p.m.

Comic-Con: Modest ‘Europa Report’ gets San Diego’s biggest stage

SAN DIEGO — On the first day of Comic-Con, producer Ben Browning was dozing in the lobby of the Wyndham San Diego Bayside Hotel, exhausted after an early morning drive from Los Angeles to promote his independent science fiction film “Europa Report.” Browning was waiting to make a presentation in the San Diego Convention Center’s largest and most infamous room, Hall H, which holds more than 6,000 people and hosts the event’s biggest names — casts of movies and TV shows with cult-like followings, such as “The Hunger Games,” “Captain America” and “The Walking Dead.” Alpha fans camp out overnight for the chance to see stars and advance footage on the cavernous hall’s jumbo screens, and the fans’ penchant for sharing reactions via social media has made the space a temple of pop culture marketing and snark. FULL COVERAGE: San […]
July 19, 2013 | 7:04 p.m.

Comic-Con: Joss Whedon shows ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ pilot

Joss Whedon screened his anticipated new Marvel Television/ABC pilot, “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,”  at Comic-Con on Friday, revealing a superhero show firmly in the humorous Whedon mold, and one that feels as if it were written expressly for the crowds packing the San Diego Convention Center this weekend. The pilot, written by Maurissa Tancharoen and Whedon’s brother Jed (who happens to be married to Tancharoen), resurrects Clark Gregg’s well-liked Marvel movie character Agent Phil Coulson, who was dramatically killed off in “The Avengers.” “I didn’t like being dead,” said Gregg, after receiving a standing ovation from the audience. “But I really loved my death.” In the new show, Coulson assembles a team of espionage and law enforcement agents, including flying ace Melinda May (Ming-Na Wen), surly black-ops specialist Grant Ward (Brett Dalton), brainy computer geek Leo Fitz (Iain De Caestecker), science genius […]
July 18, 2013 | 11:40 p.m.

Comic-Con offers first look at Terry Gilliam film ‘The Zero Theorem’

'The Zero Theorem' is the new film from director Terry Gilliam (left), and stars Matt Damon, Christoph Waltz and Tilda Swinton, among other actors. (Max Nash / Matt Sayles / Invision/ Associated Press)
Comic-Con audiences got the first look at the opening 10 minutes of “The Zero Theorem,” director Terry Gilliam’s mystery-shrouded science fiction film starring Christoph Waltz, Matt Damon and Tilda Swinton, in Hall H Thursday. In a panel moderated by Hero Complex’s own Gina McIntyre, Gilliam’s daughter and producer, Amy Gilliam, and producers Dean Zanuck and Zev Foreman shed a bit of light on the enigmatic movie, the director’s first feature since 2009’s “The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus.” Set in a steampunky future world with candy-colored graffiti, talking billboards, whizzing little cars and a cold-hearted bureaucracy called ManCom running the show, “The Zero Theorem” lends itself to comparisons with Gilliam’s seminal dark comedic fantasy, “Brazil.” FULL COVERAGE: San Diego Comic-Con 2013 Waltz, who appears naked, bald and hunched over a desk in the opening shots of the film, plays Qohen, an eccentric […]
July 18, 2013 | 4:48 p.m.

Police rush to save woman from fall at Comic-Con

la-et-comic-con-jump-attempt
This post has been updated. See below for details. A woman hung from the 14th-floor balcony of a condominium building called the Mark in downtown San Diego on Thursday afternoon in an apparent suicide attempt that onlookers first thought was a stunt to promote a movie during Comic-Con. San Diego police took the woman into custody after she was removed from the balcony in a harness by workers setting up a zip line at the “Kick-Ass 2″ party across the street who were admitted to building by a representative of the homeowner’s association, according to the woman’s downstairs neighbor, Michael Mora. Police declined to release her name. Some of the crowds beneath the building on 8th Avenue, in the city’s busy Gaslamp District, initially thought they might be watching a bit of a guerrilla marketing campaign for a movie. The condo […]
May 10, 2013 | 5:56 p.m.

‘Iron Man 3’: How VFX made ‘barrel of monkeys’ scene soar [videos]

'Iron Man 3'
So it turns out that rescuing a bunch of people sucked out of a hole in Air Force One at 30,000 feet is actually harder than Robert Downey Jr. makes it look in “Iron Man 3.”  Who knew? The audacious action sequence that occurs midway through director Shane Black’s superhero sequel, known by those on the film crew as the “barrel of monkeys” scene, required a mix of real-world guts and digital ingenuity to pull off. The guts were supplied by the Red Bull skydiving team, who stand in for the crew of the president’s plane in the scene — the effects that placed them believably within the story came from Digital Domain, the VFX shop that created about 250 of the shots in the movie, including 35 different Iron Man suits, a wholly digital Air Force One and a […]
May 09, 2013 | 8:00 a.m.

Exclusive: Disney Animation announces first Marvel movie, ‘Big Hero 6′

This concept art for “Big Hero 6” showcases the Bridge to San Fransokyo. Credit: Disney.
Walt Disney Animation Studios is announcing its first movie inspired by a Marvel comic Thursday, an adaptation of a lesser known crime fighter series called “Big Hero 6.” Directed by Don Hall (“Winnie the Pooh”) and due in 2014, the CG-animated movie will center on a robotics prodigy named Hiro Hamada and his robot companion BayMax, who join a team of superheroes in a high-tech city called San Fransokyo. (For a closer look at the city of San Fransokyo, see the video above). Even die-hard comic book fans may have trouble recalling the Marvel series, which was created by Steven T. Seagle and Duncan Rouleau in 1998 and is something of a whimsical love letter to Japanese culture. Characters in the original comic include a samurai, an agent who invented a nanotechnology-based Power Purse and a monster born from a […]
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