Sunday, April 1, 2018

Neill Blomkamp used time travel technology to make Elysium

As I was watching Elysium for the second time last night, it occurred to me that the actor playing a young version of the main character, credited as Maxwell Perry Cotton, looked almost exactly like the actor playing an older version of the main character, credited as Matt Damon.

It turns out they should have both been credited as Matt Damon.

In looking up this uncanny similarity after the movie ended, I discovered that director Neill Blomkamp recently released a bombshell: both actors are Matt Damon.

No, he didn't do some kind of Boyhood-type project of filming over many years, starting with Damon when he was about ten, then waiting for Damon to reach his early 40s before filming the lion's share of Elysium.

In fact, what actually happened is probably more incredible. While experimenting with his cyberpunk visual effects and the various machines that are featured in Elysium, Blomkamp inadvertently cracked the long-sought formula for time travel. Instead of publicizing his discovery, he kept it a secret in order to make Elysium the best and truest feeling version of itself.

He needed help from someone else, though: Matt Damon.

Blomkamp discussed his idea with Damon of traveling back to 1980 to talk the ten-year-old version of himself into appearing in a film 33 years in the future. Damon, ever committed to his roles, slept on it for a night and agreed. He first asked Blomkamp if it would cause any rips in the space-time continuum, and Blomkamp assured him that as far as he understood, it would not.

So Damon found his younger self in the greater Cambridge, Massachusetts area in a local Baskin Robbins eating bubble gum ice cream. At first the younger Damon didn't believe him, but he'd just seen The Empire Strikes Back and had decided that he wanted to be like Han Solo someday. Or really, the guy who played Han Solo. Older Damon happened to catch younger Damon just after he'd decided to pursue his career as an actor. He was overjoyed to learn that he had succeeded in his goal, and after being assured that it would not cause any rips in the space-time continuum, agreed to accompany older Damon back to the present of 2013.

Young Damon shot his scenes in only three days, and as they had a time machine, they got him back to that Baskin Robbins only a few minutes after he'd told his parents he had to go to the bathroom. Someone was actually in the bathroom at the time young Damon materialized there again, but he was a man in his late 80s and suffering the beginning stages of dementia, so no one believed him.

Blomkamp had to bring the young Damon back one more time when he realized that the young actor would be expected to appear on the red carpet before the premiere of the movie. Hence the picture you see above. When it came time to return him, they used that moment in the Baskin Robbins again, but this time brought him back just before the old man began doing his business.

Because Blomkamp could not reveal to the world that Matt Damon had been the world's first time traveler, and thereby lose control of his invention, which he planned to use again in future films, he came up with the name "Maxwell Perry Cotton" for the young Damon.

However, after a recent viewing of Black Panther, Blomkamp came to the realization that technology that can help the world must not be hoarded and kept secret. So Blomkamp came forward to tell his story, in the hopes that maybe his time machine could next be used to, I don't know, go back and kill Hitler or something.

He said he'd be a fool not to share this gift with the world.

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