Simon Kinberg Talks Producing ELYSIUM and Writing the X-MEN: FIRST CLASS Sequel at Comic-Con

     July 18, 2012


Over the last few weeks, Sony has finally started to reveal details about director Neill Blomkamp’s (District 9) sci-fi pic Elysium.  Just as District 9 tackled issues of segregation and xenophobia, the first synopsis for Elysium reveals that the sci-fi, future-set story will be delving into the immigration debate.  Set in 2159, two classes of people are roughly divided: the wealthy live on a man-made space station called Elysium, while the rest of the humans inhabit an overpopulated and ruined Earth.  For more on the film, here’s Matt’s recap of the Comic-Con panel, the viral campaign, and Comic-Con interviews with Blomkamp and Matt Damon, Jodie Foster and Sharlto Copley.

Shortly after the panel, I got to speak with producer Simon Kinberg.  We talked about how he got involved in the project, how they decided what footage to bring, the recent test screenings, why they didn’t do 3D, and more.  In addition, with Kinberg writing the X-Men: First Class sequel with Matthew Vaughn and Jane Goldman, we talked about how that’s been going and what fans can look forward to.  Hit the jump to watch.

As usual, I’ve time indexed the interview so you can watch the parts that interest you.

Elysium-poster-comic-conSimon Kinberg Time Index:

  • 0:20 – Kinberg talks about his plan for Comic-Con as it pertains to Elysium.  He says they’re seven or eight months away from revealing the film to the public.  He compares it to its predecessor, District 9, from director Neill Blomkamp.
  • 1:00 – In addition to the plan to reveal some footage of Elysium at Comic-Con, Kinberg talks about the discussion of how much to show.  The panel footage was a mixture of finished visual effects, pre-vis and “raw, rough” visuals.
  • 1:55 – Kinberg talks about how he became involved in the project, starting with his appreciation of District 9 and for science fiction with a social message.  He goes on to talk about the casting process.
  • 3:35 – Regarding a test screening, Kinberg says he was very happy and they received a very positive response from the audience.  The unfinished film still contains frames of cartoons and pre-vis, but they experienced a good reaction to the core emotions of the film.
  • 4:30 – Kinberg compares the performance strengths of Sharlto Copley in District 9 to that of Copley and Matt Damon in Elysium.
  • 4:55 – Kinberg talks about the lack of 3D for Elysium due to the gritty, realistic nature of the piece.  He also comments on the use of digital versus film and how the desired look of the film determined the nature of their shooting medium.
  • 5:50 – Blomkamp did some of the visual effects for District 9 on his own computer.  Kinberg goes on to say that Blomkamp is the only director he’s ever worked with that has that much understanding of the visual effects world.
  • 6:45 – Kinberg stays tight-lipped about details of the X-Men: First Class sequel, but provides updates on its progress.
  • 8:10 – Kinberg comments on whether or not they’ve incorporated previous ideas that Vaughn has suggested for the film, such as the JFK assassination and the “magic bullet” theory.
  • 9:00 – Since the first film was such a success, Kinberg fields the question of whether or not a bigger budget was available for the sequel to be able to write in bigger set pieces.

january-jones-x-men-first-class-movie-image-4X-Men: First Class Sequel quotes:

“I wish I could tell you about it, but literally, it’s like the most guarded state secret I’ve ever been around.  I can tell you that it’s going really well, and I can tell you that I’ve been working closely with Matthew Vaughn and Jane Goldman on the script of the movie and that we hope to be shooting in Spring of next year to come out in July of 2014 and that I’m really excited about it, because the only thing I can say, because I have to be extraordinarily vague about it, because the last time I talked to anybody about it, I got in trouble…big trouble…what I can tell you is [that] it’s extraordinarily ambitious.  It is unlike the other X-Men movies and yet very much a celebration of the X-Men movies.”

“I don’t know enough of what he [Vaughn] has or hasn’t talked about.  I can tell you it’s been a very fluid process in the sense of we really went into it, Matthew, Jane and myself, just wanting to create a movie that was as…I’m very proud of First Class…as dramatic as that movie, I think it is as dramatic as that movie, but more epic, mythic in a way as well.  So, there are ideas that we’ve started with that haven’t survived, there are ideas that we started with from conversations we had from making First Class that are going to be in the sequel.  So, it’s vague but…”

“It’s one of those movies that, because it’s such a big deal for the studio, they have some sense of what it is that we’re writing and they are ambitious about the movie, too.  I don’t know what the budget’s going to be, we’ve got to finish the script before we have a budget, but I would assume that it is a bigger movie than the last in physical scope, and that we have the license to do that because of the success of First Class. And because I think Fox has had success with interesting movies in the last couple of years in the genre, like Planet of the Apes was a really good movie, Chronicle was a cool movie, First Class, they’re just narratively or creatively a little bit more ambitious.  So they’ve encouraged us to do that with the sequel.”


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