Quotes by: Neill Blomkamp
Blomkamp at the 2009 San Diego Comic-Con International
17 September 1979 |
Johannesburg, South Africa
||Film director, film producer, screenwriter, animator
A lot of parts of L.A. are interchangeable with suburbs in Joburg. Very big, ostentatious houses with palm trees and lawns. Lawns are very important. Never underestimate lawns.
'Chappie' would be like 'RoboCop,' but hilarious. If you mixed 'Robocop' with 'E.T.' and it was... funny, that's what it is.
There has to be the popcorn genre element, or I don't engage the same way. I like action and vehicle design and guns and computer graphics as much as I like allegory. It's a constant balancing game. I want audiences to be on this rollercoaster that fits the Hollywood mould, but I also want them to absorb my observations.
I have zero strategy for my career - like, zero. I could get as much satisfaction about doing a $20,000 shot film the same way I could do a $100 million film with a bunch of effects.
I think filmmakers in general are, as the tools become more and more advanced, you're able to tell stories in a way that I think is more realistic. The technology just wasn't there up until pretty recently, and it takes a bit of time for the normal artistic way of approaching something to become a mainstream thing.
A lot of America is kind of done. People have been making films about it for 100 years. Everything to me feels used up. But Jo-Burg feels unbelievably inspirational to me.
I don't want egos and personalities on the set that make it more difficult to make the film. I don't want people who take the focus away from the movie and the ideas behind the movie.
Obviously I don't want to make a film that offends people, but the whole world is so politically correct - I'm not going to not do something because it may be politically incorrect. At some point, the metaphors and allegories break down. They disappear, and you just have science fiction.
'District 9' was a singular anti-Apartheid metaphor, and 'Elysium' is a more general metaphor about immigration and how the First World and Third World meet. But the thing that I like the most about the metaphor is that it can be scaled to suit almost any scenario.
Johannesburg is weird, because half of it is like Los Angeles. It feels like just wealthy parts of L.A. But half of it is severe slummy, something like Rio De Janiero or something. So it's kind of weird, because it's both happening at the same time.
'District 9', 'Elysium' and 'Chappie' were all born out of some visual concept first. 'Chappie' is the imagery, because I think I'm a visual person first, of this ridiculous robot character. It's much more comedy based and in an unusual setting.
I don't put any pressure on myself in terms of what people or fans do or don't want. It really just doesn't occur to me. I honestly just want to make the films I want to see as a fan. The film will survive or fail in my mind by how much I like it. Having said that, everyone wants their films to do well and to be well-received.
I want to make a film that is commercially successful because that means that the larger cinema-going audience around the world like the movie, which is my goal. That's my job, to make films that people respond to.
There are loads of sociopolitical, racial, class and future-planet situations that really interest me, but I'm not really interested in making a film about them in a film that feels like reality because people view that in a different way. I like using science fiction to talk about subjects through the veneer of science fiction.
I still really love the world and the universe and the mythology of 'Halo.' If I was given control, I would really like to do that film. But that's the problem. When something pre-exists, there's this idea of my own interpretation versus 150 other people involved with the film's interpretation of the same intellectual property.
I think naturally I'm a very visual kind of person. If I wasn't in filmmaking, I'd be in something related to visuals. And I used to actually work as a visual-effects artist.
I think our problems are inherently unsolvable. We need to change our genetic make-up or create computers that will think us out of it. I don't think humans are able to deal with what we have.
On one hand, I think people are destined for something incredible if we don't wipe ourselves out, but I think we're going to wipe 90 percent of ourselves out.
I actually think Johannesburg represents the future. My version of what I think the world is going to become looks like Johannesburg.
I never really think of something in terms of what not to do. It's always what's appealing or what's cool.
If you don't have something that glues the audience to the screen, you're in trouble.
The only genre of movie that I could see making that doesn't have anything magical or otherworldly about it would be a war film. I'm very interested in history, and a war film could be something that would lure me in.
There's no question that how Johannesburg operates is what made me interested in the idea of wealth discrepancy. 'Elysium' could be a metaphor for just Jo'burg, but it's also a metaphor for the Third World and the First World. And in science fiction, separation of wealth is a really interesting idea to mess with.
I think growing up in South Africa, and then moving to Canada, I'm just genuinely interested in the difference between the First World and the Third World, immigration, and how the new, globalized world is beginning to operate. All of those things run through my mind a lot.