Posted : 2013-08-14 17:15
Updated : 2013-08-14 17:15

'Elysium' stars visit Seoul

This publicity image released by Columbia Pictures shows Matt Damon, left, and Sharlto Copley in a scene from “Elysium.” / AP-Yonhap

By Yun Suh-young

Hollywood star Matt Damon visited Korea for the first time in his career Wednesday to promote the U.S. box office hit “Elysium,” which will hit local theaters at the end of the month.

The film is about a class struggle between the wealthy who live in a space station, and the poor who live on a ruined Earth in the year 2154. The movie is scheduled for release on Aug. 29 in Korea.

Damon appeared at a press conference Wednesday in downtown Seoul with co-star Sharlto Copley for the promotion of the upcoming sci-fi film. When asked why he thought Seoul was chosen as the only Asian venue to promote the film, Damon said, “Everyone in America knows it’s a huge market and a growing market. I wasn’t surprised when I was told by the studio that I was coming here. I hope next time I can bring my family here.”

The 42-year-old actor is the latest Hollywood stalwart to visit Seoul this summer, after Brad Pitt and Hugh Jackman.

Damon added that “Gangnam Style,” Korean rapper Psy’s global hit, was very popular in the United States.

“Everybody knows Gangnam Style. I have four kids so believe me, we all know Gangnam Style. There are Psy impersonators running around in Los Angeles and New York who dress up as Psy and pretend to be him, taking pictures with people. So he’s very big in America.”

Matt Damon, right, takes a photo of his “Elysium” co-star Sharlto Copley during a press conference held in Yeouido, Seoul, Wednesday, as part of a promotion tour for the upcoming sci-fi film. / Yonhap

On discussing the film, Damon and Copley both presented what they thought the message of the film was.

“I think very much like ‘District 9,’ people are able to enjoy (it) at very different levels  - you could enjoy it as entertainment or thematically, focusing on the theme,” said Damon.

“It’s an allegory about the haves and the have-nots. It sets a dystopian future but it resonates with the world we live in today. But at the same time, Neil doesn’t want the audience to do any work but just enjoy the movie.”

Neil Blomkamp who directed the movie is also the director of the 2009 film “District 9,” with which he made his directing debut.

Copley, who has worked with Blomkamp in both films and has known him since Blomkamp was 15 years old, added that the director loves satire.

“Neil loves satire. There’s a satirical element, (a) dramatized metaphor of the world we live in right now. There isn’t a specific message the director is trying to convey. He’s more presenting interesting issues,” Copley said.

“It was interesting to see in America, some people would say this is an advertisement for ObamaCare. We should have free healthcare and we should open the borders, they say. On the other side, they say this is showing what happens if you do open the nation’s borders. So for great satirical work, people tend to take from the narrative the message that they want.”

When asked about a memorable episode while filming, the two said shooting at the world’s second largest garbage dump was very memorable. Copley said it was fun to watch Damon be hit by dust.

“I wanted to see what Matt would do when we shot the sequence because he was so down to earth and normal. So I wanted to see him go all Hollywood and say, ‘the smell is killing me, bring me some fake dust!’ But I was surprised to learn that he was just up for it. I knew from that moment that there was going to be no Hollywood star element. I was very proud and honored to work with Damon.”

Damon will play pianist Liberace’s gay lover Scott Thorson in his next movie. He also said he would love to direct a movie although he gave up doing one last year due to personal matters.

Copley is set to appear in “Old Boy” by Spike Lee, an American remake of the 2003 South Korean film of the same name by director Park Chan-wook. The movie will be released in November in the U.S.

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