While most productions have been at the center of industry news as they try to adjust to new COVID-19 safety protocols, director Neill Blomkamp has managed to make a secret horror movie in the middle of the global pandemic.
The untitled film, which is being backed by AGC Studios, was shot in British Columbia over the summer. This is very telling because this was a time when the shooting of any production was limited at best. Depending on when shooting started during the summer, the film would join the Michael Bay-produced Songbird, which commenced principal photography on July 8, 2020, as one of the first productions to get back to work during the pandemic.
The new project came about when another Blomkamp project backed by AGC Studios was knocked to 2021. They were set to begin shooting the Taylor Kitsch action-thriller The Inferno but the pandemic hit and plans had to change. This led to Blomkamp and AGC hatching a plan to make a more feasible production, by COVID-19 standards, in Canada. Plot details are scarce at the moment but “Deadline” reports that it is something Blomkamp has always wanted to make and everything should be all wrapped up around spring of 2021.
What we do know is that the cast is largely made up of Canadian actors, which was likely easier to arrange since travel restrictions have been in place there due to the pandemic, and the film will have a strong sci-fi and VFX component that will be in line with Blomkamp’s previous three movies. It’s also being reported that on-set COVID protocols were in place and it was a safe shoot all things considered.
Blomkamp made a name for himself as the co-writer and director of 2009’s DISTRICT 9. The film was a box office hit, grossing $210 million at the global box office, and it went on to be nominated for four Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay. Blomkamp followed District 9 up with 2013’s Elysium, which grossed $286.1 million at the worldwide box office. It wasn’t as well-received by critics as its predecessor but it still managed a fresh Rotten Tomatoes score of 65%. Blomkamp’s last film, 2015’s Chappie, ended his winning streak a bit as the film wasn’t well-liked by critics (32% rotten rating on Rotten Tomatoes) and the film only managed to gross $31.6 million domestically and $102.1 million worldwide. Since then, Blomkamp has been attached to high-profile projects that ultimately didn’t move forward. He was attached to an Alien project but it seemed contingent on how well Ridley Scott’s Alien: Covenant fared at the box office. By May 2017, it appeared that Blomkamp’s Alien film was shelved. In July of 2018, the director announced he was directing a new entry in the RoboCop franchise but by August of 2019, he took to Twitter to announce that he was no longer directing that project.
I’m pretty interested in what Blomkamp does next. Minus Chappie, his films have been pretty solid and a smaller scale film may be the project he needs to get back on track.
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