This week's cover: Why 'District 9' will blow your mind

EW-cover-1060_lThis week’s Entertainment Weekly names District 9, a sci-fi thriller with no big stars and a small budget, the must-see movie of the summer. While those who missed last month’s Comic-Con probably have yet to hear of it, by next week it may be all moviegoers are talking about.

Made for only $30 million by a 29-year-old South African-born director, Neill Blomkamp, the action-packed movie is tinged with a surprising moral intelligence — it’s also an allegory about apartheid — and may become the most unlikely sci-fi blockbuster of the season. Says District 9’s single A-list name, producer Peter Jackson (Lord of the Rings), “In an industry that’s looking to make movies out of every obscure TV show, District 9 is unlike anything you’ve ever seen.”

District 9 wasn’t the movie Blomkamp first set out to make with Jackson. In 2006, Jackson and his partner, Fran Walsh, hired Blomkamp to shoot a $145 million big-screen adaptation of the videogame Halo, which ultimately fell apart. When he was hired, Blomkamp’s resume consisted largely of visually stunning ads and sci-fi shorts. “I went from zero to a hundred in a few weeks,” says Blomkamp. “It was insane.”

After the jump: An exclusive clip of ‘District 9′

The film’s star, 35-year-old newcomer Sharlto Copley (who plays a corporate emissary sent to evict alien refugees), believed in Blomkamp from the start. The very start. When Copley was a 20-year-old TV producer, he hired a 14-year-old Blomkamp as a computer graphics designer. “I gave Neill his first job,” Copley says. “And he’s certainly returned the favor.” Copley found his first feature-film experience to be unromantic. “Scrounging through real trash to find a prop sandwich strategically placed in the middle of the stuff – it was brutal,” says the star. “They’d have to comb the area before shooting just to pull the nails out.”

Awareness of the film has increased dramatically since Comic-Con. There’s even talk of a sequel. Jackson isn’t counting out the possibility. “Although,” he notes, “if I’ve done my job properly, Neill won’t need me anymore.” Blomkamp is clearly game. “I would do anything to go back to the world of District 9 again,” he says. “Or District 10.”

For more on District 9, including a profile of its star, Sharlto Copley—and a survey of other alien invaders (and their dubious intentions)—check out the latest issue of Entertainment Weekly, on stands Aug 8. To see an exclusive clip from the film, click below.

Comments (35 total) Add your comment
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  • KOZ

    I can’t wait for this movie and for this issue to be in my mail box today!!!

  • harry

    WHEN IS THIS MOVIE DUE OUT?

    • Jake

      It comes out in theaters on the 14th

    • Eric

      it comes out august 14.

  • crispy

    Wow, I have to say I am shocked Entertainment Weekly is giving District 9 the cover treatment. Just when one more Edward Cullen cover would have sent me scrambling to cancel, you surprise me. On the other hand, that is one ugly cover. Why no aliens? They show them in the trailer; it’s not like they’re a secret.

  • Vicky

    So looking forward to this movie! Very smart marketing by putting it in the middle of August, far, far away from the big noisy summer blockbusters. It’s only competition, as far as actiony-sci fi movies go, is GI Joe. I expect GI Joe to drop more than 50% after it’s first weekend, leaving District 9 to swoop in and become an unexpected hit.

  • bill wisel

    This movie looks unbelievable! The marketing is killer with no alien signs everywhere they even had one of the MNU alien sniper trucks at Comic Con this year!

  • Anna

    This movie is going to be AWESOME! I’m not usually into this genre, but WOW!

  • Josh

    That has got to be one of the worst magazine covers I have ever seen. All this buzz around the movie has definitely pushed me towards seeing it, but that cover just looks downright stupid.

    • crispy

      Totally agree. At first I thought it was Michael Bay.

      • mscisluv

        I thought it was Michael Bay too! Actually, the last several EW covers have been really poorly designed.

  • Me

    Yikes!! What is this movie about?

    • you

      an allegory about good versus evil versu peanuts.

    • foolishmandestroyer

      Something you can easily look up on google.

  • Skeletor P. Funk

    I’m a huge fan of sci-fi, but have yet to be drawn in to the hype for this film. The trailer looks odd and the overripe music cues are borderline farcical and off-putting. Still, advance word is strong, so I’m hoping it turns out to be something special.

  • JJJ

    I am SO looking forward to this movie, but I hate to say it, I doubt this movie will do well in the states. If no one has noticed, the average American moviegoer isn’t really too keen on complexity in movies. The simple fact that Michael Bay keeps raking in hundreds of millions for his movies proves that point right there.

    • crispy

      It seems like every year there’s a fantastic sci-fi movie that doesn’t do well at the box office, but becomes a cult classic. Gattaca, Dark City, Pitch Black, Sunshine, etc. I think District 9 is going to be this year’s overlooked flick. And I’m ok with that.

      • mscisluv

        Three cheers for Gattaca! Fantastic movie. As a high school science teacher, I even showed it in genetics class!

  • Stacy

    So, of course I will be forced to watch this movie by my boyfriend, but it actually looks interesting. On a side note, Is Halo not happening then? when we first saw this trailer he thought it was Halo, kinda similar

    • Danno

      Actually Peter Jackson has an amazing looking movie coming out on 12/11 called “The Lovely Bones” that based on the trailer may get quite a bit of Oscar Buzz.

  • ann

    Watch EW make nice-nice to Peter Jackson’s pet project so he’ll be nice to them and grant them some exclusives for his next actually successful work – no, not Tintin – The Hobbit.

  • Bobby

    The movie looks cool but that is one horrible cover.

  • Mike

    when do EW issues hit the streets? i always get mine the following Monday.

  • stella

    yeah, i wish there was an alien on front, instead of that possum-eyed guy…he looks creepy. anyhoo im so glad we have an actually exciting movie on the cover, instead of edward cullen/minor celebrity/list.

    • glass houses

      hey, don’t be hatin’ on possum-eyed mutants. how would you like it if he called you an overrated beer?

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