If there's one thing Peter Jackson seems to be proud of as far as "District 9" is concerned, it's that the film is an original work. As producer of the much-buzzed-about science-fiction flick, he credits writer/director Neill Blomkamp with bringing something personal to the story that most action movies today lack.
"It's fiercely original, which is what I really like about it," Jackson told MTV News. "And I like the fact that it's based on the life experience of Neill, growing up in a society that was different to anything we've experienced."
Of course, he didn't mean to say that Blomkamp grew up living among alien refugees who've been forced to live in ghettos as marginalized non-citizens. But the film is clearly an allegory for the racial segregation of South Africa's past.
Jackson went on about the rookie filmmaker's upbringing in South Africa and how his witnessing of the end of the apartheid era was instrumental to the creation of "District 9," which he said is a little sci-fi spin on the history. The parallel Blomkamp draws helps to convey the humanity of the film's aliens, which, similar to black Africans during apartheid, are put into Soweto-style townships and treated badly by the local population.
"It was interesting and much more complex than the usual sort of science-fiction film," Jackson said of the script. "And it's not based on a comic; it's not based on a remake or a TV show. It's very original, which today is rare. For some reason we've all forgotten how to be original."
The irony is that Jackson and Blomkamp first got together to collaborate on a very unoriginal project, an adaptation of the video game "Halo." Jackson spoke to MTV News about this first failed pairing, which lasted six months before studio politics killed the production. He confessed to being very disappointed with the turn of events, but he loved working with Blomkamp, who he had taken under his wing.
So they quickly came up with an original story that could be produced independently of a studio. And Jackson is happy with the idea that something like "District 9" was born from the ashes of "Halo." He even claims it was fate that intervened and gave us this other film.
As much as Jackson celebrates the fresh and inventive plot of "District 9," though, if pressed he can come up with comparisons for those audiences who fear something completely new.
"It's a little bit of 'Cloverfield' and it's a little bit of 'The Constant Gardener,' " he said, adding, "If such a thing is possible."
Check out everything we've got on "District 9."
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