Oh, what an actor wouldn’t do for a movie, right? Well, Matt Damon went to Mexico City’s largest garbage dump, Bordo de Xochiaca, for his film. And he’s got something to say about it. Read on see what else he has to tell us about Neill Blomkamp‘s exciting upcoming smart sci-fi film, Elysium:
The concept of the movie is that Earth has been ravaged and Elysium is an orbital habitat, 120 kilometers up, where all the rich people have gone.
We shot in that human-waste dump for two weeks. What you see on-screen is supposed to look futuristic, but it was actually just helicopters flying over us, kicking up dust that coats you and that you know is fecal matter. We were very careful, but it was unbelievably toxic. It’s the worst location I’ve ever heard of and could have been worse only if we’d filmed in the world’s largest waste dump, in South Korea. What was unbelievable and really sad was the giant community of people who are born, raised, live and die in that dump. They just pick through the trash.
Shooting a big action set piece in a third-world dump was a great idea, visually and dramatically. We did it toward the end of the schedule, and everybody bought in knowing it would be tough but also knowing we would be happy we did it.
On Matt’s thoughts about the story and the director:
Between the concept and the script, it’s going to be really good. I genuinely believe the director, Neill Blomkamp, is the next guy—our generation’s James Cameron. I hope I can work with him a lot more.
On the social commentary for ‘Elysium,’ particularly pollution:
Yeah, future generations will not look kindly on us. Our grandkids and great-grandkids are going to have to live here. With the “greatest generation,” the attitude wasn’t “Well, I’m not going to be around, so fuck the rest of you,” it was “Well, this is our problem, so let’s work on it together.” It’s like we have this weird block when it comes to projecting beyond ourselves, as though we’ve become selfish on some very deep level.
On preparing physically for the role:
The script wasn’t just run, run, run. It has real characters, so that was great. I worked with an NFL trainer who said, “I’m going to make you stronger and faster. As a by-product, you’ll look the way you want to.” It wasn’t a Hollywood vanity workout.
Seeing how much I loved District 9, I’m very much looking forward to this film. There’s a decent message integrated in the film, but Blomkamp doesn’t really skimp on the action/sci-fi parts, either, and with Bourne- er, Damon involved, I’m sure it’ll be one crazy adventure.