“Elysium,” Sony‘s heady sci-fi film directed by “District 9” helmer Neill Blomkamp is finally unveiling itself. Just last week, we called the film “cagey” and said it might have kept itself under wraps for almost too long. Evidently we were right and this was by design. Today, the studio unveiled the trailer and 10 minutes of footage to journalists in Los Angeles (a full report later), trotted out Blomkamp and stars Matt Damon and Sharlto Copley to speak to press and released a new poster as well (see below).
Suffice to say the marketing of the film has finally begun, but Blomkamp admitted the whole process is a neccesary evil and it’s his least favorite element of filmmaking. “I realize you have to get it out there, but I tried to limit this as much as I could, and I didn’t win completely,” he laughed.
Set in the year 2159, two classes of people exist in the movie: the very wealthy who live on a pristine man-made space station called Elysium, and the rest, who live on an overpopulated, ruined Earth. Secretary Rhodes (Jodie Foster), a government official, will stop at nothing to enforce anti-immigration laws and preserve the luxurious lifestyle of the citizens of Elysium. That doesn’t stop the people of Earth from trying to get in, by any means they can. When unlucky Max (Matt Damon) is backed into a corner, he agrees to take on a daunting mission that, if successful, will not only save his life, but could bring equality to these polarized worlds.
So a sci-fi movie for the 99%? Sort of, Blomkamp said when he was writing the film he realized it was resonating with what was going on in the world, but it wasn’t a conscious response. “On Elysium the idea is – it’s a mirror of how the West is now with immigration,” he said. “A lot of people want to help out the rest of the world and take that wealth and pour the glass half out and balance it in the rest of the planet. Other people want to close the borders. So the people that run Elysium fit into those two camps.”
The film, much like “District 9,” has a lot of social commentary, but genre filmmaking isn’t his way of sneaking in the fabric of a story that he actually really wants to tell. First and foremost he is a proud genre director.
“I like film in genre,” he said. “My all time favorite film is James Cameron’s ‘Aliens.’ Done. And there has to be – what ‘Elysium’ doesn’t have and I’d like to put into the next film is slime and eggs.” he said. “That’s missing, but it’s got like copious amount of robotics so that’s cool, that’s covered. For me to make a film that doesn’t include any of those elements and action? To me that would be boring. For me personally to get invested in something it has to have crazy amounts of genre stuff in it.”
Conversely, Blomkamp doesn’t want to make just bland, straight forward action movies. “I also want elements of – issues is the wrong word – but things that interest me and things that I want to explore and want to talk about. Not just the guy has to shoot the other guy.”
“Elysium” hits theaters on August 9th. — Reporting by Charlie Schmidlin