Before Directing ‘District 9,’ Neill Blomkamp Illustrated For Popular Science

We've rounded up some of Blomkamp's work here, and get some advice on moviemaking from the director himself.
As part of that same issue, Blomkamp illustrated this taxi of the future, which promised (and is still promising, presumably) helicopter-like, airplane-speed flight by 2018. Neill Blomkamp/The Embassy

Now, Neill Blomkamp is the acclaimed director of sci-fi flick District 9 and the upcoming Elysium. But not so long ago he was also an artist at visual effects firm The Embassy, which contributed illustrations to Popular Science articles. We’ve got those here, and also caught up with Blomkamp to get these two pieces of advice on making great science fiction.


“When I design something, whether it’s for a movie or PopSci, I need to believe it can work. If I don’t believe it, the audience won’t either. What leads to a unified vision is when the director has all those visuals in his head.”


“Science fiction is just a filter to look at real life. I’m not trying to tell a story that takes place in 2154. Elysium is a rich-and-poor film. A hundred fifty years from now, Earth will probably look a lot like the film: mass poverty, plagues, disease, too many people, and too few resources. And all the crazy life-changing technology will be in concentrated areas of wealth, with armed guards at the gate. What happens then?”