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Matt Damon's accessibility a big factor in 'Elysium' casting

August 5, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
A new sci-fi thriller starring Matt Damon enters the box office competition this weekend. "Elysium" is set 150 years in the future, and mankind is squarely divided between the "haves" and the "have-nots." Damon's character is definitely on the "have-not" side of things.

"Elysium" is set in the year 2154. But a lot of its futuristic themes mirror problems we see today.

"Great science fiction, really, they'll set it in the future, or they'll set it a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, but it really should be speaking to the world that we live in now, and I think this does," said Damon.

Earth has become a desperate, ruined, overpopulated planet for most people. There's also a wealthy class who have access to everything they want or need on their own pristine space station, called "Elysium."

Matt Damon plays a parolee who's desperate to get to this Nirvana in the sky, not only for himself, but to also try and save a friend's young daughter.

Tapping into the emotional side of the movie was not a challenge for Matt.

"I've found that since I've become a dad a lot of my job has become a lot easier, for that exact reason: There's just a more available wellspring of stuff, you know what I mean?" said Matt.

Matt's accessibility is one reason director Neill Blomkamp wanted to bring him into "Elysium."

"In the film, he's a little bit more of a thug, a little bit like from the other side of the railroad tracks, and I always wanted the audience to like the lead, and I thought, 'If you had an actor with a built-in history with the audience, right off the bat the audience knows how to feel about him,'" said Neill.

There were also physical challenges to face in the action-filled film. For instance there were times Matt also had to wear a high-tech sci-fi costume contraption.

With films like "The Bourne Identity" on his resume, Matt knows what it's like to commit to an intense workout regimen. But when "Elysium" was over, he headed straight for the carbs.

"Literally, pizza. Pizza, beer. All the things that I missed," said Matt.

We'll see Matt again before the end of the year. He's teamed up with his "Ocean's 11," "12," and "13" pal George Clooney for the World War II era drama "The Monuments Men." It's in theaters in December.

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