'Elysium' takes Comic-Con to space for 7 minutes
Actor Matt Damon, from the upcoming film "Elysium", poses for a portrait during Comic-Con, Friday, July 13, 2012, in San Diego. (Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision/AP)
SAN DIEGO - Little more than a century from now, the Earth is diseased, polluted and overpopulated, so the wealthiest citizens have built a utopic environment in space where there's no poverty, no illness, no war.
This is the world of "Elysium," and about 6,000 fans were the first on Earth to see the follow-up from "District 9" writer-director Neill Blomkamp Friday at Comic-Con.
The film stars Matt Damon as an Earth resident determined to infiltrate the secure space paradise, and Jodie Foster plays an Elysium leader determined to stop him. "District 9" star Sharlto Copley returns, this time as a villain.
The seven-minute clip shows Damon working to escape the filthy planet, enduring a mysterious mechanical brain-implant procedure that leaves him with machinery protruding from the back of his head and encasing his arms.
Blomkamp, who debuted "District 9" at Comic-Con in 2009, said he was excited to bring his new footage back to the fan convention.
"There's an element of salesmanship about films that sometimes makes me feel a bit distant as a fan," he said. "But launching footage at Comic-Con is ... actually a true, honest thing. There's no lies about it. It's just completely fans wanting cool footage, so I'm OK with it."
He said he felt he belonged with the fans who filled the San Diego Convention Center's largest hall.
Damon and Foster are fans, too: Both wanted to work with Blomkamp after seeing "District 9." Foster called it "a perfect film."
"I wish I had directed the damn movie," she said.
Damon said Blomkamp is what drew him to the film: "After I saw 'District 9,' if Neill had called me out of the blue and said, 'This is Neill Blomkamp, will you be in my next movie?' I would have said yes."
Copley said he was thrilled to work with his friend Blomkamp again, and to be back at Comic-Con, where "District 9" first built buzz.
"It was a defining moment of my life when I came here in 2009," Copley said. "But I'm not going to cry because my character needs to look tough."
"Elysium" is set for release next year. Comic-Con continues through Sunday.
AP Entertainment Writer Sandy Cohen is posting about Comic-Con on Twitter. Follow her at www.twitter.com/APSandy .