Let's talk for a moment about the concept of a "sophomore slump"… you know, when a director makes a brilliant debut feature, earns boatloads of cash, receives gobs of praise, then with all the anticipation in the world he drops his second movie and it stinks up the joint?
It happened to Orson Welles ("Magnificent Ambersons"), Steven Soderbergh ("Kafka"), Kevin Smith ("Mallrats"), Kevin Costner ("The Postman"), Michael Mann ("The Keep"), John Singleton ("Poetic Justice"), Bryan Singer ("Apt Pupil")… so if it can happen to the best of 'em, what's to stop it from happening to Neill Blomkamp?
Deadline reports the 31-year-old wunderkind who gave us the dazzling sci-fi apartheid allegory/hit Best Picture nominee "District 9" is ramping up his futuristic follow-up, going under the moniker "Elysium," and shopping it around to all the studios for distribution. What it's about we haven't a clue, other than it will take place on another planet and have a similar sociopolitical bent to its predecessor.
Besides being a song by Portishead, the title "Elysium" is derived from a part of the Greek mythological underworld, as in the Elysian Fields, final resting place of heroes. If that means the film will feature some kind of space-age cemetery planet with a bunch of God-like creatures rising from the grave, count us in!
What creates a sophomore slump? Usually a first-time director is tempered by collaborators and a smallish budget, but when they get to their second turn at bat the hotshot maestro doesn't want to hear peep from people, just spend spend spend to get his certified genius vision up on the screen.
We know that Blomkamp will have at least one returning voice, fellow South African Sharlto Copley who played the lead role of alienated (pun intended) bureaucrat Wikus van de Merwe in "D9." The director has also said that while the budget will be bigger this time, it will not be a nine-digit bank breaker. Sounds like Blomkamp is aiming for a sophomore slam-dunk.