Why is Matt Damon bald? Why is Sharlto Copley's character so insane? Why does everyone on the awesome high tech space station for rich people still use paper 150 years into the future? We rounded up the cast of Neill Blomkamp's new class warfare action movie Elysium and got answers, on camera.
Why are you bald in this movie?
Matt Damon: It was all kind of a look that Neill knew that he wanted. There was a graphic novel that he gave me in the very beginning with the character of Max. And that's how Max looked, tattoos on his neck, really muscular bald dude. I don't know that was his thing.
What is your character's motivation for getting into Elysium?
Matt Damon: He's gonna die in five days unless he gets to Elysium. So that's his motivation. Because in Elysium they have these medbays, and if you lie in them you it kind of eradicates any disease that you have.
What is that weapon that you're wearing?
Matt Damon: It basically just makes him a lot stronger, it's like an exoskeleton. Because he's very weak, he's been irradiated so he's very weak. They put him in this exoskeleton but it fuses with his nervous system operates like an extra strong skeleton... you basically control it the same way you control your hands.
Producer Simon Kinberg elaborated on the bigger themes in Blomkamp's movie, and explained how Copley's villain is a classic scifi baddie.
How much of this movie is an action film, and how much of this movie is a commentary on class warfare?
Simon Kinberg: I think the experience of the movie is that it's an action film. In the plot of the film, submerged hopefully, is political commentary [and] social commentary. But it's baked into the concept of the film. There's no people sitting around talking about politics, in the way that [in] District 9, people weren't ever talking about race, but it's cooked into the concept of the film. In the film it's about class, immigration, and health care. But those are all plot points to the film. It's just inherent to the film, it's not people debating it. The movie doesn't even necessarily (I hope) have like a didactic or pedantic point of view. It's just wanting people to think about these issues as they are experiencing a fun, crazy, relentless action film.
A lot of science fiction films today try and ground their technology in reality. Did you guys spend a lot of time researching?
Neill knows a ton about new technology so a lot of the design of the aircraft or spacecraft in the movie is based on new technology or things NASA working on. Neill actually, when he was a kid I think 20 years old, he designed concept planes for Popular Mechanics Magazine so that obsession and interest has continued, and is manifest in the film — because the spacecrafts look and feel quite real. But at the same time, we weren't too painstaking with all the reality in the movie. We wanted it to feel like it was connected to today, there are certain choices like on the space station Elysium, where the richest people of Earth go to live, they use paper still. We would all assume that they wouldn't use paper in 150 years time. But we didn't want it to feel so foreign to today that you would feel almost an arm's length from the film. So there were certain things that felt like they were technologically hopefully maybe true for 100 plus years, and there were things that we just wanted to still be grounded in today's world.
Here's the villain District 9's Sharlto Copley who plays crazy Krueger.
The producer told us that your character is crazy, deranged and a bit insane. How did he get that way?
Sharlto Copley: He's a person who has the right to be living on Elysium, because he is one of them. But he's a special forces soldier, sort of a black ops guy who has to spend most of his time living on Earth. [And] Earth is a very unpleasant place for somebody who should be living in Elysium to live in. He gets to deal with the real issues, the real problems. He's not a guy who talks and plays political games, he has to go and deal with people who do bad things to each other. It's a rough place, sometimes you have to do rough things to survive in rough places. It might make you a little bit unstable from time to time.
Does he twitch or talk to himself?
Sharlto Copley: No, no, no not that kind of crazy just willing to do things that other people wouldn't.