Turn off the Lights

Comic-Con 2012 Movies: Elysium

District 9 creator Neill Blomkamp finally has another film for us called Elysium, and while all we've gotten so far is a synopsis and a still of a head-shaved Matt Damon with some gun rigged to his arm, the film's Hall H panel at Comic-Con made some serious waves despite the film being in the early stages of post-production.

Blomkamp took the stage first to introduce a full seven minutes of footage, which he said he wanted to unveil specifically at Comic-Con. The reel set up the story quite well: Elysium is a state-of-the-art space station for the wealthy so they can avoid life on an impoverished, disease-ridden Earth. Damon plays a man living on Earth who gets some kind of radiation sickness. He has five days to live, and so he endeavors to seek the sophisticated medical equipment that effortlessly keeps people alive — on Elysium.

Damon scores some sweet exoskeleton armor to do so, endeavoring to kidnap a wealthy man (William Fichtner) in order to get there. It doesn't go so well, as the footage showed Fichtner's character going to Earth accompanied by some deadly robots.

Blomkamp and Damon were joined by two other stars in the film, Sharlto Copley and Jodie Foster, as well as by producer Simon Kinberg. Copley plays a bounty hunter that Foster's character hires to stop Damon's character from reaching Elysium. The footage showcased a grizzly Copley squaring off with Damon numerous times.

The panel discussion started with Damon and Foster saying they were open to anything after seeing Blomkamp's work on District 9. Based on the reaction to the footage and the way Damon talks about the way Blomkamp has fully realized this world (and how he would ask him all kinds of questions about Elysium to see if Blomkamp had answers), it sounds as if Blomkamp has done it again as far as creating a rich world. Screen Rant even went so far as to compare the visuals to the Halo game series, which is how Blomkamp got his start as a filmmaker.

The film has two locales: Earth (shot in Mexico City) and Elysium (shot entirely on green screen). There was some odd joking and storytelling pertaining to scene work in Mexico City shot in a giant dump in which most of the air particles were fecal matter. Damon and Copley would be covered in crud by the end of the day, but Blomkamp would tell them (with his respirator attached) that the footage looked awesome. Apparently that's a fair assessment.

Damon said that the script required he had to hide under pigs to avoid being seen by a helicopter, and at one point the pigs were so riled up that they peed on him. He called it his hardest stunt work ever. Hard to argue with swine urination.

Copley was particular humble and humorous on the panel, joking about the fans asking Blomkamp and Peter Jackson to make a District 9 sequel because he needs the work. He was asked about being a big star now, and mentioned how his friends didn't believe that he was cast as Angelina Jolie's lover in Disney's upcoming film Maleficent because he always plays nerds.

Most were curious about Blomkamp's sophomore effort, but it's safe to be pumped for it now. I certainly am. Elysium arrives in theaters on March 1, 2013.


Meet the Author

Follow Us