Most directors would kill to have the kind of support (personally backed by Peter Jackson) and success ($210 million worldwide, Best Picture nomination) Neill Blomkamp did on this feature debut, “District 9.” And some filmmakers might have felt pressured to keep Hollywood in their favor, and undoubtedly, Blomkamp has been asked numerous times since 2009 about making a sequel, “District 10.” But he’s largely deflected the question, and been reticent about the enterprise, telling us in 2012, “I’m not sure I’m making that film. It would be cool, but these films take two or three years to make, and the investments are so extreme, you can’t accurately predict where you’ll be a few years from now, I believe. If you’re not creatively invested in it, you’re making a mistake, and that creative investment happens day to day. So I don’t know when that feeling for a ‘District Whatever’ film happens.” But it seems he’s at least drafted an idea.
Wired has a nice profile piece on the director, and within it, they reveal Blomkamp has teamed with partner Terri Tatchell and “written an 18-page treatment for ‘District 10. ‘ ” Of course, he won’t spill any details about it except to say it’s “really fucking cool” nor is he committed to putting on his schedule. He essentially wants to keep the door open in case he dreams up any other concepts he wants to pursue instead, but for fans holding out hope he’ll return to that world, it at least appears he’s not only given it real thought, but laid some kind of foundation.
But up next for the helmer, after “Elysium” opens next month, is “Chappie,” set to film this fall and another movie he’s keeping under wraps for now. Set to feature South African rapper duo Die Antwoord—Ninja and Yolandi Visser—as themselves, Sharlto Copley and Dev Patel, all Blomkamp will say is that the movie is about sentience. “If something is as smart as you, do you treat it differently if it isn’t a human?” he says, adding that it’s an action comedy, essentially… but with heart? “It’s fairly touching,” the director notes. “But, you know, fraught with gunfire.”
Another project he’s working on? “Mild Oats.” Described as “somewhere between John Waters and Jackass,” Blomkamp showed the magazine a character prop from the developing movie and we’ll just their explanation speak for itself: “a 3-foot-tall, photo-realistic silicone puppet [named Marvin] rocking a mullet and jailhouse tattoos. The deranged redneck stands completely naked, revealing six nipples and a prodigious, uncircumcised penis.” Um, yeah….
Basically, the Wired profile confirms Blomkamp prefers to march to his own beat, and remember last month when the director said he wasn’t the right guy for a “Star Wars” sequel? It turns out the series did sort of cross his desk. Both “Star Wars 7” and “Elysium” share a producer in Simon Kinberg, and according to the magazine, he went to Blomkamp to talk about the possibility working on a movie in the George Lucas franchise (it’s not clear if it was specifically “Star Wars 7” or a later sequel), but the director turned it down. It seems Blomkamp is happy to tinker with his own concepts, and try whatever wild idea comes to him. Case in point…
Before “Elysium” landed Matt Damon, Blomkamp was considering a smaller budgeted version of the movie and thought of Die Antwoord’s Ninja for the lead. When the rapper declined (he would’ve had to use an American accent), Blomkamp then went to Eminem, who would only do it if the movie shot in Detroit. Of course, Blomkamp got the megabucks he wanted to make the movie that’s hitting theaters soon, but it speaks to his resourcefulness that he’s willing to retool as the situation allows.
And yet, for all the moves that make him seem somewhat anti-establishment, you might be surprised to learn that he’s a big fan of Michael Bay. “It’s not just blowing stuff up,” he said of the director’s work. “I like the way he composes scenes and action. He’s inspiring.” Just don’t expect him to direct a “Transformers” movie….
“Elysium” opens on August 9th and you can check out a featurette, extended TV spot and motion poster below (via Moviefone and SuperHeroHype). And check out the Wired piece—it’s a great read.