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Elysium’s ready as director Blomkamp looks ahead to next project


Elysium, the long-awaited follow-up to Vancouver director Neill Blomkamp’s District 9, is all but done now, awaiting a theatrical release in August.

“It’s kind of weird that it sits on a shelf and doesn’t come out until August 9th but I think a summer release is fantastic for the film,” says Blomkamp in an e-mail.

The new movie stars Matt Damon and Jodie Foster in a sci-fi story about a future where humanity’s elite have fled the ruined Earth for orbiting space stations while the planet’s poor struggle to survive.

The 33-year-old Blomkamp moved to Vancouver as a teen with his family from South Africa, and quickly earned a reputation as a digital effects prodigy in Vancouver’s busy effects scene.

His debut feature, 2009’s District 9, catapulted him to the front ranks of feature directors, a box-office and critical hit that also earned Oscar nominations for best picture, best screenplay (for Blomkamp and Terri Tatchell, his wife and writing partner), best editing for Vancouver’s Julian Clarke and best visual effects for a team based out of Vancouver’s Image Engine.

The movie about an alien ghetto was filmed in Johannesburg, but extensive post-production was handled in Vancouver.

All eyes were on Blomkamp in the summer of 2011 when filming started here on Elysium. Many of the same collaborators were back– though Blomkamp wrote this screenplay on his own.

Filming continued under tight secrecy until that September, when the show moved to Mexico City.

Then came more than a year of post-production work in Vancouver, just finishing now.

“Elysium is basically done at the end of February,” Blomkamp says. “I have some straggling VFX shots that go into April but it’s almost done. The stuff looks absolutely amazing.”

The director has already begun prep work on a third sci-fi feature that will take him back to Johannesburg for principal photography. He reteamed with his screenwriter wife Tatchell to co-write that film, a sci-fi comedy called Chappie. But as with the previous two movies, post-production and visual effects will happen in Vancouver.

And the Vancouver team that rose to prominence with District 9 and Elysium have become in-demand players in their own right. Editor Clarke has since worked on The Whistleblower and The Thing, while Vancouver-based cinematographer Trent Opaloch will be behind the camera for the mega-budget superhero sequel Captain America: The Winter Soldier, due in theatres in 2014.

As for Blomkamp’s co-writer and spouse Tatchell, she’s carving out a career as a writer and producer in her own right. She optioned a trilogy of paranormal teen novels by U.S. writer Amanda Hocking, and has written the screenplay adaptation for the first of those books.

I don't care if this post only get 2 comments, the team from District 9 is fabulous (I also love the fact that a woman co-wrote the screenplay especially on a movie that tackles on heavy subjects and gore), Also looking forward to him making a movie in the comedy genre.

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