At the start of this pandemic, before all the apocalyptic stress became a reality, there was an annoying trend of all these internet “life coaches” telling folks to take this “downtime” as an opportunity to do something new and challenging. While most sensible folks soon realized that for them this advice was hot garbage (when you’re barely keeping a roof over your family’s head, you don’t care about learning a new language or finally mastering needlepoint), some took it to heart. Some, apparently, like Neill Blomkamp, as the District 9 filmmaker went and made a secret horror movie in Canada during the pandemic.
According to Deadline, the South African-born filmmaker was supposed to start shooting The Inferno, an action thriller starring Taylor Kitsch, when the COVID-19 pandemic struck. As a result, that film was pushed back to 2021 as Blomkamp found himself stuck in his ex-pat home country of Canada. Blomkamp was still in touch though with AGC Studios, the production company that was bankrolling The Inferno, and the two parties covertly hatched a plan to put together a “more nimble production in the meantime in the wilds of Canada’s most westernmost province” of British Columbia.
Blomkamp rounded up a group of local Canadian actors and with on-set COVID protocols in place, proceeded to shoot the entire production in the middle months of this year. We don’t have a title for the movie yet though, and details of the script penned by Blomkamp himself is still being kept under wraps. The only thing we know so far is that the film will have sci-fi elements and be VFX-heavy just like all his previous productions and that it’s something that he had “always wanted to make”. While principal photography wrapped months ago, there was apparently still a lot of post-production work to do, but Blomkamp is hoping to have it all finished in the first quarter of 2021. This will then be the filmmaker’s first feature film released in six years.
Blomkamp exploded onto the scene in 2009 with the brilliant SA-set District 9, before following that up in 2013 with the Matt Damon-starring Elysium. While not as critically-lauded or profitable as his debut effort (District 9 made $210 million off a $30 million budget), Elysium was received solidly. The same can’t be said for Chappie, Blomkamp’s divisive 2015 offering featuring Die Antwoord though, which drew poor reviews and only just about broke even at the box office. Since then, Blomkamp had an incredibly promising Alien reboot as well as a Robocop sequel both shut down and has only really been tinkering away at some fantastic short films through his personal production company Oats Studios.
While I was not a fan of Chappie’s writing, I think Blomkamp still directed the hell out of it. He’s a fantastic talent behind the camera, with nobody else out there really doing gritty R-rated sci-fi action as well as he does. If this new film is a return to those down-and-dirty roots that gave us District 9, then I’m super excited to see what he cooked up.
Last Updated: December 10, 2020