Neill Blomkamp Reiterates His Stance On Star Wars And Recounts His Horrible HALO Experiences
Director Neill Blomkamp‘s new sci-fi epic, Elysium, opens this weekend. The director that blew moviegoers away with District 9 has become a rising star in the world of film. He has been vocal about not wanting to direct a giant franchise film because all he wants as a director is to be left alone to make the films he wants to make and present to audiences. Before JJ Abrams was hired to direct the new Star Wars, a lot of people were throwing out Blomkamp‘s name for Episode VII or one of the various spinoff films that are on the way. The director took his self out of the running. In a recent interview with Collider, Blomkamp still doesn’t want to do a Star Wars film but he isn’t as adamantly opposed as before.
Speaking at length about Elysium, the director was eventually asked about stepping into an entirely different realm and taking on a huge blockbuster franchise like a Marvel film or Star Wars. He is still cold to the idea, but he doesn’t rule it out entirely this time:
I don’t see myself taking on- I mean, maybe! This is my thought process. My thought process is, it’s exactly what I was just saying, I just want to be an artist that’s just left alone. That’s really what I want. I want to make stuff that just…films are the only art form that require commerce so desperately. Any other artist needs a few dollars for a paint brush, really if you think about it, like musicians or authors. They can be as free as they want. This is the one thing that just needs copious amounts of money. If you imagine a filmmaker trying to just be left alone as much as possible and make Star Wars how does that work?
This is the thing. Let’s say the contract says, “Leave Neill alone, you’ll get sued if you don’t.” Even if you do that, you’ll still have people- You’ll have so much static noise of, “We know you don’t have to do this, but we really think Darth Vader in this film should be green and not black.” You know what I mean? I don’t even want to hear that. I just want to hear nothing. So this is my thought process. The process is to have other brains that have thought of and come up with this cannon and literature that is stacked this high of this mythology that’s like very cool and super interesting, and I can draw from thousands of other minds that have thought this stuff up. That’s a hyper appealing thing. Because it’s actually, in a way, more creative. You can already envision everything. It’s been done before you. That is very tempting, but I know the expense that comes with it. Currently at this point I’m not willing to do that. But that doesn’t mean I’m unbelievably yearning to work with some of those franchises, even the ones that affected me as a kid. It would be so cool to do them.
So Blomkamp thinks it would be “cool to do them,” but he would have to be left alone for the most part. I’m sure if he keeps astounding people with his original films someone will offer him a franchise with free reign. Marvel seems to be giving Edgar Wright a lot of control on Ant-Man, so Marvel Studios could well be a contender in the future for Blomkamp.
One of the things that soured him on big blockbuster films was his time working on the HALO film. Peter Jackson recruited the young filmmaker back in the early 200s, but the director eventually backed out due to a lot of interference with the version of the film he wanted to make. Blomkamp paints a bleak picture of his brief time on the project:
Imagine someone just getting flogged, like some kind of Singapore corporal punishment thing like that would be me directing Halo. The only thing that made a huge difference to the situation would’ve been Peter Jackson. PJ could’ve been some sort of some interference shield that may have made some quite radical difference to the way that I would’ve gone through that particular meat grinder. That is just literally a different scenario. I am just a different filmmaker now. I cannot imagine the shit that would’ve gone down if that production had actually been made. But Peter may have been able to shield me from it…possibly. The world of Halo and the mythology of Halo, tough is still something that I find- it’s like Star Wars, it’s so appealing to me because it’s cool and it’s there and I can imagine it. But you have to do it in a way you can do it yourself.
Elysium has a slight HALO vibe to it, but the director said there was no conscious effort to adapt some of his ideas for the failed video game adaptation into the big sci-fi film starring Matt Damon.
Consciously nothing, subconsciously it’s impossible to know, but consciously it wasn’t meant to be anything, even the ring. But one thing about Halo that I always wanted was like I always felt like the ring was incomprehensibly…it was too big, and it didn’t have any buildings on it which drove me insane. It was just nature. The only way that you could see something cool was you had to get in the sub-structure of it, and that always used to irk me when I was working on the film. It was like it’s too…it’s just nature, it’s like a bunch of dudes in nature the whole time. So yeah, maybe there was a subconscious thing with fleshing out a ring that actually has suburbia on it. But no, consciously not much. Also the version that we were making was it hadn’t gone far enough down the road that I could pull ideas like that with. More what I had done were things like fleshing out what all the different creatures looked like and the planets and the tone and the vibe of it, more the conceptual ideas.
The director covers a lot more ground about his career, his future, and of course Elysium. You can read the full interview with Blomkamp by clicking here. I’m one of the people that hopes Blomkamp takes on a franchise film sometime in the future. The director was able to pull of stunning visuals on District 9, which was a relatively small budget film. The idea of seeing him play in another person’s sandbox and getting a huge budget is an intriguing thought. HALO really turned him off of doing anything he doesn’t come up with himself, but hopefully he’ll come around and someone will offer him the chance to do his own thing with a well-known property. What do you think? Do you hope Blomkamp changes his mind in the future or do you want him to stick with his own movies?
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Source : Collider