'District 9' Pits Aliens Against South Africans

Copley said Blomkamp made the experience easy for him as a director.

"District 9" was born from the demise of "Halo," which was based on a sci-fi futuristic video game published by Microsoft Game Studios. Renowned "Lord of the Rings" director Peter Jackson asked Blomkamp to direct Halo for him. But the project collapsed because of fights between Universal and Fox.

"It wasn't Microsoft's fault," Blomkamp said.

He was devastated by the film's collapse, but rallied when Jackson told him to "take all the momentum of this and make 'District 9,'" which Jackson would then produce. "It worked well for me," Copley said.

"District 9" was the hit of Comic-Con, to the relief of Blomkamp. "I went straight from making the film to Comic-Con," he said of the annual pop culture convention in San Diego. "You reach a point when you have no context. You don't know if it's good or not. Going to Comic-Con and being received well was a giant sign of relief because they're the most important audience. I felt good."

Copley agreed. "It was the first time I watched the whole film together with fans who would kill you if it's wrong. I survived the experience. People went crazy. You knew they were liking it. We kind of got swamped by people who wanted autographs."

This was particularly gratifying for Copley, who had to endure exhausting and gross scenes while filming the movie. "As I was lying in a sewer with real feces, I asked Neill 'when does the fame part start?" Copley said.

The fame part begins now. "District 9" opens today in theaters nationwide.

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