Matt Damon takes on the lead role of Max in TriStar Pictures' futuristic action thriller “Elysium” whose socio-political message underneath the gripping action scenes isn't lost on the actor.
“I like to think it’s a hopeful message,” Damon says. “Even in a future where it’s every man for himself, it’ll be possible for a human being to hold on to his humanity.”
In the year 2154, two classes of people exist: the very wealthy, who live on a pristine man-made space station called Elysium, and the rest, who live on an overpopulated, ruined planet. The people of Earth are desperate to escape the crime and poverty that is now rampant throughout the land. The only man with the chance to bring equality to these worlds is Max, an ordinary guy in desperate need to get to Elysium. With his life hanging in the balance, he reluctantly takes on a dangerous mission – one that pits him against Elysium’s Secretary Delacourt (Jodie Foster) and her hard-line forces – but if he succeeds, he could save not only his own life, but millions of people on Earth as well.
At the center of the chaos on Earth, between the two worlds, is Max. “Max needs to get to Elysium to save himself, but in his desperation, he gets involved in a plot that makes him realize that the problem is much bigger than him,” says director Neill Blomkamp. “And he ends up fighting for something more than himself, fighting to save other people on Earth.”
“Max, like a lot of people on Earth, has always aspired to get to Elysium,” says Damon. “That was his dream. But he grew up. You get the idea that he’s been a petty criminal, but on an Earth where resources are so scarce that everybody’s hustling in some way, he’s just doing what he’s got to do to get by. He’s been beaten up by life and now, he’s resigned to his life on Earth. He doesn’t dream about Elysium anymore. But in the movie, he’s put in a position to become the only person who can change things.”
Max is an entirely different look for Damon – shaven, tattooed, muscle-bound. “Neill was very specific about every detail and how he wanted the character to look,” says Damon. “He provided us all with pictures of the characters. I don’t think anybody had ever done that for me before – literally handed me a picture of the character with his shirt off. So I went to my trainer and I said, ‘Make me look like that,’ and a great trainer can do that.”
Damon says that he was inspired to join the project by the chance to work with Blomkamp. “Like everybody, I saw `District 9,' and like everybody, I freaked out,” he says. “Neill jumped to the top of the list of people that I wanted to work with. So when I heard that he wanted to meet with me about his next movie, I met him for coffee. He pulled out a kind of graphic novel that he had designed himself that explained the whole world of Elysium. He’d designed it all, built it all already. He just needed us to help him bring it to life. And that was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up.”
Matt Damon has been honored for his work on both sides of the camera, most recently earning Academy Award®, Screen Actors Guild Award® and Critics’ Choice Award nominations for Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal of South African rugby hero Francois Pienaar in Clint Eastwood’s true-life drama “Invictus.” In addition, he also garnered dual Golden Globe Award nominations that year: one for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in “Invictus” and one for Best Actor for his starring role in Steven Soderbergh’s “The Informant!” Earlier in his career, Damon won an Academy Award® for Best Screenplay and received an Oscar® nomination for Best Actor, both for his breakthrough feature “Good Will Hunting.”
Opening across the Philippines on Sept. 04, “Elysium” is distributed by Columbia Pictures, local office of Sony Pictures Releasing International. Visit www.columbiapictures.com.ph to see the latest trailers, get free downloads and play free movie games.