After starring in big-budget action franchises, Matt Damon finally stars in his first live-action, full-on science fiction blockbuster with “Elysium.”
Damon’s leading-man looks get covered by a thick coat of grime and grit in the film, courtesy of a post-apocalyptic Earth where the entire human race lives in slums and works in factories. Well, not all of the human race; the elite few rich enough and powerful enough to make their way to the space station Elysium live in the lap of luxury, free of poverty, war, and disease.
While it lacks the new film’s overt social commentary, the original “Star Wars” broke new ground in 1977 by presenting a run-down scifi universe, with a level of wear and tear that seems to have inspired at least half of “Elysium’s” aesthetic. With a new “Star Wars” movie on the way, MTV News’ Josh Horowitz had to ask Damon about his thoughts on returning to a galaxy far, far away.
“I’m happy that [director] J.J. [Abrams] is doing it,” answered Damon. “I remember when they made the second batch [starting in 1999], and I was so kind of nervous about it. Ultimately I think that the first three — they exist and nothing can affect them, so why not? If you can get a J.J. Abrams to — if you can get buy-in from him, then that’s the best shot of [getting the film on the right path].”
Damon wouldn’t reveal if he’s pursuing a role in the film, but at this point every A-list Hollywood star has been rumored to be involved. Starring in the film wouldn’t be a stretch for Damon, who recently revealed to MTV that he’s a lifelong sci-fi fan.
” ‘Blade Runner’ and ‘Alien,’ and ‘Star Wars,’” said Damon, listing some of his favorite sci-fi films from his youth. “So yeah, I’m a big fan.”
With “Elysium,” Damon could find himself at the center of his own “Star Wars”-esque franchise. Director Neill Blomkamp turned heads with his 2009 directorial debut, “District 9,” which became one of a select few science fiction films to receive a Best Picture nomination at the Academy Awards. Damon previously said that Blomkamp’s world building for “Elysium” was massive in scope, with the director pulling out graphic novels and books filled with weapon systems and vehicles for the harsh future world — most of which reside solely in the background of the film they created.
But before he furthers his possibly expanding career as a sci-fi star, Damon has a few other projects to pay attention to: playing the lead in a biopic about mob boss Whitey Bulger, and being a father.
“I think Ben [Affleck] and I just figured out our kind of angle of attack on the movie,” Damon said when asked if Bulger’s recent trial has had any effect on the biopic’s progress. “It’s a tough one. We don’t want to make something that’s been made before. We’ve got some work to do, but I think we cracked it conceptually.”
Any plans for the actor to get behind the camera like his buddy Ben Affleck have also been put on hold. “I’m probably not going to direct in the short term. Right now, this fall, we’re going to L.A. and we gotta be around to make sure the kids like school and all that stuff. So I’m going to be a dad in the short term.”
“Elysium” opens in theaters on August 9.