Blomkamp Discusses Creative Process For New Alien Film. Chappie director Neill Blomkamp conducted a podcast with Empire Magazine, revealing some exclusive details about his upcoming Alien movie. During the interview Blomkamp discusses mental roadblocks, his anxiety about each film that he creates potentially being his last and how working with Sigourney Weaver contributed to getting the Alien franchise job.
Transcribed from the Empire Online Podcast,
2014 was a really weird year for me because I usually know quite decisively what I want to do, and in the process of post-production on Chappie, I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do. I had a bunch of different ideas for different films. My favourite, on a gut instinct, artistic level, was Alien, by a long way.
But I had this inhibiting mental roadblock about wanting to work on my own stuff – and not being held accountable, whether it’s by a studio or by fans, or whoever, I just wanted to be left alone to do my stuff. That’s kind of a big deal for me.
If you go back even three or four years, I’ve wanted to make a film in that genre, in that franchise. I’d come up with an idea, and when I met Sigourney (Weaver) on the set of Chappie, I presumed that she would never want to play Ripley again. Rightly or wrongly, I had that in my head. I also didn’t know where you could go with her, given Alien 3 and 4.
“So when I started speaking to her, I just wanted to know more about the process of making the first two films. The first two are the ones that I care about. Then I started to realise there was a whole film – at least a film, if not more – that still contained Ripley, which I was really surprised by.
So when I went back to Vancouver for 2014 unclear of what I wanted to make, I knew that my artistic compass kept driving me to Alien. Whenever I wasn’t needed on Chappie, I spent time on Alien, to the point where I hired my own concept artist and fleshed the entire movie out, basically. Even then, I still didn’t know if I wanted to do it.
Every film I do, I genuinely believe it’s the last I’ll do. I didn’t think I’d make another film, let alone a big studio one. But it came from a place of love, and I was like, ‘If I’m a fan, then other fans should see the stuff.’ Here’s one person’s take on it, you know? So Fox didn’t know.
I saw Sigourney again, and her enthusiasm in it, and me still not knowing what I was doing… Well, the thing that actually made it really clear was that we have xenomorphs all over the house [including drinking glasses depicting graphic scenes from the films]. No bullshit, that actually is what made me realise that there’s a massive portion of my brain that’s taken up by the world of the xenomorph. And I’m like, ‘Hmm. Valid point.
Unfortunately, Blomkamp’s latest film Chappie is indicative of his career trajectory heading in the wrong direction. Blomkamp’s two film successors to his highly regarded District 9 are unequivocal disappointments. With the film industry inundated with prequels, sequels and reboots, sci-fi fans viewed Blomkamps work on original IPs as a much needed breath of fresh air. Chappie is a technical masterpiece, but much like the director’s last movie Elysium, the film’s issues are rooted in the problematic script.
At this point pairing Blomkamp’s technical prowess with an established film franchise and adept screen writer would be the best move for his career. In Hollywood, filmmakers are valued based on the success of their latest work and with two poorly received films in a row, Blomkamp has to avoid becoming the M. Night Shyamalan of sci-fi. Let’s all hope that working on an all-time classic film franchise like Alien is the shot of inspiration that Blomkamp needs to get is creative juices back to where they were when he created District 9.
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Source: Empire Online