Neill Blomkamp talks District 9 - RT Interview
The director on sequels and the Halo movie that never was.
District 9 heralds the arrival of 29-year-old South African-born director Neill Blomkamp as a major new voice in science-fiction. Infused with gritty, hand-held authenticity, blistering intelligence and dazzling action sequences, Blomkamp's alien-apartheid thriller recently snatched the No. 1 spot at the US box office, an impressive achievement for a film set in Johannesburg and populated with South African accents. Raised in South Africa until his family moved to Vancouver when he was 17, Blomkamp was a talented effects whiz with some visually stunning short films and ads under his belt when Peter Jackson handpicked him to oversee the screen version of Halo. When the $145m videogame adaptation went down in studio flames, Jackson stuck by Blomkamp's side and shepherded District 9, an expansion of his 2005 short Alive in Jo'burg, to the big screen. RT sits down to chat with a filmmaker whose career is about to go stratospheric...
District 9's success should allow for a follow-up. Is that what you're hoping for?
Neill Blomkamp: Totally. I haven't thought of a story yet but if people want to see another one, I'd love to do it.
Would you go for a sequel or prequel?
NB: Both would be interesting.
You left things deliberately open-ended...
NB: Hollywood likes to simplify real life and it likes to tie everything up neatly at the end which isn't how life plays out. The cool thing is that it's unresolved with Wickus at the end and to a certain extent it's unresolved with all the aliens.
What's the back story you had in your mind for how the aliens arrived on Earth?
NB: The thing that really appealed to me was this idea that they're a hive. They are worker drones so they don't have the direction that they need. I don't think anything's wrong with their planet. They've got their planet and they have all of these ships, like the one that you see, that leave their planet and go and get resources from other planets. Each ship has some kind of alien that we've never seen, like an elite queen or whatever, that they take direction from, and there's some virus or bacteria that they picked up on another planet that affected the upper echelons of their society and left all of them. The ship auto-piloted them to the closest planet that would sustain life.
Do you know what you are doing next?
NB: Yeah, I think so. I've got another science fiction film I want to write, which will probably be my next film. I think I'll stay in Vancouver, like I have always been, for this next one. I feel really good, I feel very creatively energised.
How far have you got with that story?
NB: I have a very loose treatment that needs to be refined so it's extremely early.
Will you continue working with Peter Jackson?
NB: Not on this next one but I'd love to work with him again. I've had a great experience working with him. What I'm hoping for is that District 9 is received well because that means that people will be open to a sequel. I'd love to team up with Peter again. And Fran. They're awesome people; in the world of sharks that Hollywood is, they're rare people.