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Satire also allows you to make fun of every different aspect. It allows you to make fun of both sides. It allows you to make fun of everything, really, so you can do it in a harmless way.
Russian: Никанор Иванович налил лафитничек, выпил, налил второй, выпил, подхватил на вилку три куска селедки и в это время позвонили, а Пелагея Антоновна внесла дымящуюся кастрюлю, при одном взгляде на которую сразу можно было догадаться, что в ней, в гуще огненного борща, находится то, чего вкуснее нет в мире, – мозговая кость.
When any young director gets hired by a studio to do a $125 million film based on a preexisting piece of intellectual property, they're climbing into the meat grinder. And what you're coming out with on the other side is a generic, heavily studio-controlled pile of garbage that ends up on the side of Burger King wrappers.
'Chappie' would be like 'RoboCop,' but hilarious. If you mixed 'Robocop' with 'E.T.' and it was... funny, that's what it is.
I actually think Johannesburg represents the future. My version of what I think the world is going to become looks like Johannesburg.
I still really love the world and the universe and the mythology of 'Halo.' If I was given control, I would really like to do that film. But that's the problem. When something pre-exists, there's this idea of my own interpretation versus 150 other people involved with the film's interpretation of the same intellectual property.
Obviously I don't want to make a film that offends people, but the whole world is so politically correct - I'm not going to not do something because it may be politically incorrect. At some point, the metaphors and allegories break down. They disappear, and you just have science fiction.
There has to be the popcorn genre element, or I don't engage the same way. I like action and vehicle design and guns and computer graphics as much as I like allegory. It's a constant balancing game. I want audiences to be on this rollercoaster that fits the Hollywood mould, but I also want them to absorb my observations.
There is something fundamentally fascinating about the mechanics, I guess, of the human body and where consciousness and mind exist, and what you can do with the mechanics of the body while keeping those intact, and where those two cross over.
A lot of America is kind of done. People have been making films about it for 100 years. Everything to me feels used up. But Jo-Burg feels unbelievably inspirational to me.
A lot of parts of L.A. are interchangeable with suburbs in Joburg. Very big, ostentatious houses with palm trees and lawns. Lawns are very important. Never underestimate lawns.
'District 9', 'Elysium' and 'Chappie' were all born out of some visual concept first. 'Chappie' is the imagery, because I think I'm a visual person first, of this ridiculous robot character. It's much more comedy based and in an unusual setting.
High-level actors can be all about their close-ups and the size of their trailers. I'd heard these horror stories of how a really powerful actor can come in and change your script.
I think our problems are inherently unsolvable. We need to change our genetic make-up or create computers that will think us out of it. I don't think humans are able to deal with what we have.
I think that people who make films and think they're changing the world are sorely mistaken. If that really is your goal, there are far better ways to do it. I'm making politically observant films for audiences.
In a lot of the really impoverished areas of Johannesburg you see these packets of cheesy puffs which are like 6 feet long and the width of a basketball, and they're transparent and they have like 10,000 cheesy puffs in them, and you can buy that for like 50 cents. It's kind of a weird treat that you'd see people having in the townships.
Johannesburg is weird, because half of it is like Los Angeles. It feels like just wealthy parts of L.A. But half of it is severe slummy, something like Rio De Janiero or something. So it's kind of weird, because it's both happening at the same time.
What I do is spend too much time thinking. Most of the time I just walk around annoyed. Would I describe myself as relatively happy, I suppose, but society gets to me. And the people that have mastered life seem to not care, and then they die, and then the grenade goes off.
I don't put any pressure on myself in terms of what people or fans do or don't want. It really just doesn't occur to me. I honestly just want to make the films I want to see as a fan. The film will survive or fail in my mind by how much I like it. Having said that, everyone wants their films to do well and to be well-received.
I grew up as an artist. Science fiction allows for design and creatures and guns and all the stuff that I like as well. So I think most of the films I make, I'm sure, will be in that category. But I can also see myself making a film like 'Black Hawk Down,' and I could also totally do horror.
I have zero strategy for my career - like, zero. I could get as much satisfaction about doing a $20,000 shot film the same way I could do a $100 million film with a bunch of effects.
I just watch movies I like over and over. It seems to be a lot of sci-fi stuff. My favorites are probably - besides the first two 'Alien' films, I watch '2001', I watch 'Star Wars', the first ones, because those actually had a huge effect on me as well, 'Empire Strikes Back' especially.
I like where we're going with technology and global integration, but the fact that corporations and dollars rule everything in our lives, I don't like it. This isn't the Hollywood I wanted to be part of.
I think filmmakers in general are, as the tools become more and more advanced, you're able to tell stories in a way that I think is more realistic. The technology just wasn't there up until pretty recently, and it takes a bit of time for the normal artistic way of approaching something to become a mainstream thing.
I think growing up in South Africa, and then moving to Canada, I'm just genuinely interested in the difference between the First World and the Third World, immigration, and how the new, globalized world is beginning to operate. All of those things run through my mind a lot.
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