One of the best films of last year was "District 9," a Peter Jackson-produced twist on the traditional "alien invasion" story from newcomer director Neill Blomkamp. It's an exceptional example of filmmaking, mixing equals parts mockumentary and traditional narrative to tell the story of a government drone who ends up defending the very aliens he previously helped subjugate.
As we learned in October, Blomkamp intends to stick with the sci-fi for his next effort, which he confirmed is not a "District 9" sequel. That's all he would say at the time however, leaving fans to speculate and dream. Well now we have a little bit more meat to pin those dreams to, thanks to a new interview with Blomkamp on the Los Angeles Times' Hero Complex blog.
"It is science fiction and it has many sociopolitical ideas that interest me. Those ideas are wrapped up inside something that is like a Hollywood action film," he said. Not exactly an outpouring of information, but some additional clues surface later in the interview.
"I just want to make films that have enough of a budget to pull off high-level imagery but also have a budget that is low enough that I can do what I want," Blomkamp explained. "This next movie will cost more than 'District 9' but it will cost much, much less than the big summer films."
Then there's this bit, in which Blomkamp speaks more generally about what interests him as a filmmaker, what genres he likes or would like to work with, etc...
"Science fiction interests me massively. There are two reasons for that. 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. The other reason is I’m like a total visual kid. I grew up as an artist. Science fiction allows for design and creatures and guns and all the stuff that I like as well. So I think most of the films I make, I’m sure, will be in that category. But I can also see myself making a film like 'Black Hawk Down' and I could also totally do horror. Science fiction and horror, that right there is my optimum. I can see myself doing out-there comedy like Monty Python, absolutely, I would love that. Seriously."
When you get right down to it, there are very few details given but a lot to be read between the lines. As a South Africa native -- and as we saw clear evidence of in "District 9" -- Blomkamp is clearly aware of racial tensions and socio-political boundaries. And while there's a clear message in humanity's treatment of the Prawns, it is very much relegated to subtext.
That said, I wouldn't read too deeply into Blomkamp's comments about the next project containing the "many sociopolitical ideas" that interest him. As he says in an earlier part of the interview, "The topics in the film are on my mind all the time and they’re very interesting to me. The bottom line is “District 9” touches on 1% of those topics in terms of how severe they could be portrayed, and I knew that when I made it. But people got the messages."
And they'll get them again I am sure. I just can't wait to find out what those messages are.
What do you want to see Blomkamp do next? Would you prefer to see a "District 9" sequel? Which issues would you like to see him tackle?