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Saturday August 17, 2013 MYT 7:29:00 AM
Saturday August 17, 2013 MYT 7:30:25 AM
by ann marie chandy
The tough get going: Max DeCosta (Matt Damon) does the right thing and protects his childhood sweetheart Frey (Alice Braga) and her child Matilda (Emma Tremblay) when the going gets tough on Elysium. - AFP/Columbia Pictures
Neill Blomkamp on creative juices flowing before and after shooting a movie.
South African director Neill Blomkamp, whose sleeper hit District 9 surprised the world and earned an Oscar nomination for best picture in 2009 is all set to release his sophomore effort, Elysium, starring Matt Damon, Jodie Foster, William Fitchner, Diego Luna and Wagner Moura. The movie opens in local cinemas on Aug 22.
While Elysium is being heavily critiqued as another one of this summer’s big budget duds, it also went straight to the top of the box office on its opening weekend (Aug 10) thanks to its spectacular action scenes and some really neat conceptual ideas brought to life by Blomkamp.
When The Star bumped into him in Los Angeles at the hoity toity Four Seasons Hotel, the director shared where he thinks his forte lies – whether in conceptualising the movie, during the actual film shoot or in post production.
“I think it probably would be in conceptualising and in post production more than production itself,” he offered. “Weirdly, on Elysium I liked production. It was sort of fun but that’s from a day to day perspective. But from a filmmaking perspective, filming is sort of torture. Because in conceptualising or even in post, you have time to refine things. Whereas when you are shooting – that’s most of your expenditure, 60% of your budget or more in that period of time. Which means out of an 80-day schedule, if you don’t make one day, your budget is off and you now have to go into contingency. Every day that you fall short of schedule feels like a torture chamber and you end up just compromising all the time.
“Plus I get more feedback from the creation of images and I can do that more effectively before and after.”
Citing filmmakers James Cameron (Aliens is his favourite film) and Stanley Kubrick, music video director Chris Cunningham, futurist/artist Syd Mead and renowned architect Richard Meier as some of his wide and varied influences, Blomkamp said that it wasn’t hard settling on a follow up project to his 2009 surprise hit District 9.
“Luckily at the moment in my career, I don’t seem to be looking back. You know what I mean? In fact, I have a very small low budget comedy that I want to make which could potentially ruin me,” he noted, tongue very much in cheek. “What came before doesn’t really matter in that sense. The connection between District 9 and Elysium, I will say, is that my mind was so much in the realm of these two films, and right when I finished District 9 I started writing Elysium. So much so that even though they are different, they have the same DNA. You know it’s not xenophobia and race in this film, but there are dark themes in Elysium that are similar and that would be the genetic link between the two.”
As for the question of the decade... what about District 10? Blomkamp offered, without skipping beat: “I want to make District 10. I just don’t know when. I have a treatment but I don’t have a script ... yet.”
Read all about Elysium and Blomkamp’s visual expertise in The Star tomorrow (Aug 18) or at thestar.com.my/entertainment
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