Exclusive Video Interview: Director Neill Blomkamp Enters District 9
Neill Blomkamp could be any other first-time filmmaker, turning his short film into a feature, getting studio distribution and hoping for the best. He's a young guy and friendly, blending in nicely with the Comic Con crowd outside the room where we chatted. But Blomkamp has what everyone else in there would kill for-- a personal relationship with Peter Jackson, and a new sci-fi film that's rumored to be one of the best in years.
Blomkamp's District 9 has been the subject of an epic viral marketing campaign that kicked off a year ago at Comic Con, and it all paid off on Thursday, when District 9 screened for an ecstatic crowd. The film, which opens wide on August 7, is set in an alternate version of Johannesburg, South Africa, where aliens have landed on the planet and live in a separate ghetto known as District 9. Blomkamp recognizes that the film is a clear allegory for the apartheid of his home country, but he promises it's nothing preachy. "I was 100% aware of the fact that if I made my first film be this really preachy, depressing, bleeding heart kind of film, it just wouldn't be a good way to start. It didn't need to be that either. I thought I'd make something that felt like more of a compelling story, but that's placed in the setting that I grew up in, which naturally has these really delicate, racially charged items. The framework the film is set against is a very serious one. but it's distant."
Below you can watch my 10-minute interview with Blomkamp, in which we talk about the challenges of adapting his short, "Alive in Joburg," into District 9, and how much people can learn about the new film by watching the earlier one. We also talked about the man himself, Peter Jackson, who had picked Blomkamp to direct a Halo movie that then fell apart, clearing the way to make District 9.
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