Neill Blomkamp wasn’t kidding when he told “District 9” fans in February that a sequel to his 2009 box office hit and Academy Award nominee was on the way. All the filmmaker confirmed at the time was “it’s coming” and would be co-written with screenwriter Terri Tatchell and “District 9” star Sharlto Copley. In a new interview with NME ahead of Blomkamp’s latest directorial effort “Demonic,” the director had a more detailed update on the status of the “District 9” sequel.
“It’s far into the writing stage now, and it’s going pretty well, but I’m just super creatively into what we’ve come up with and I just want to throw everything into it,” Blomkamp said.
“For a decade there never really seemed to be a good reason to make a sequel,” the director added. “It just didn’t feel like there was a justifiable reason to go back to that world in a way where there was something to actually say. All of the experience of my adolescence growing up in South Africa was defined by what ‘District 9’ said, and that was the end of it.”
What changed Blomkamp’s mind? “I saw a documentary about a well-known sociopolitical topic two years ago and that had a massive effect on me,” the filmmaker said. “It made me understand how this sequel could have a real reason for existing. The second that clicked, I just began working.”
Blomkamp co-wrote the original “District 9” with Tatchell. Both writers went on to receive an Academy Award nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay (the film marked Blomkamp’s feature directorial debut and was an adaptation of his short film). “District 9” was a breakthrough for Blomkamp, as it earned $210 million worldwide and four Oscar nominations: Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Visual Effects, and Best Film Editing.
While Blomkamp followed “District 9” with more divisive science-fiction efforts “Elysium” and “Chappie,” he has long discussed wanting to return for a “District 9” sequel. Addressing fans during a 2017 Reddit AMA, the filmmaker said he was committed to making a “District 9” sequel but was waiting for the right time to start working on it.
“Ok, so with ‘District 10’ the basic answer is yes,” he replied to fans. “I want to go back to that world and tell rest of the story with Wikus and Christopher. The issue right now is that I have many other projects and ideas that I also want to work on and complete…and most importantly, the exact right REASON to make District 10 needs be very clear. The first film was based so explicitly on real themes and topics from South Africa that effected [sic] me greatly growing up there, that we need to make sure the next film does not forget that.”
It sounds like Blomkamp has found the right reason and is well underway on the sequel. The director’s new film, horror offering “Demonic,” opens in theaters on August 20 and VOD on August 27 from IFC Films.