Actor Sharlto Copley (center) as Agent Kruger in “Elysium.” Photo credit: Sony Pictures.

“Elysium” Costume Designer April Ferry with Agent Kruger’s henchman. Photo courtesy of the designer.


August 9, 2013

“Elysium,” the sophomore sci-fi feature from “District 9” Director Neill Blomkamp, is set in the year 2159 and based on the clash of two worlds that are steeped in the metaphorical conflicts of today: Elysium, a pristine man-made space habitat that only the very wealthy call home, and Earth – an overpopulated wasteland that is home to. . .everyone else.

Secretary Rhodes, played by Jodi Foster, is a government official who will do just about anything to protect the luxuries afforded to the people in Elysium, and keep immigrants from Earth out of sight and out of mind. Max, played by Matt Damon, is the protagonist who has been infected with a cancer virus and has five days to get from Los Angeles to Elysium in order to be cured. He takes on the harrowing, life threatening mission to not only save his own life, but also bring equality to the battling worlds. Sharlto Copley (who also starred in “District 9”) plays Agent Kruger, the villainous leader of Rhodes’ secret police forces, and the most powerful man standing in Max’s way.

Costume Designer April Ferry’s biggest challenge when working on the film was creating the uniforms worn by Copley and his henchmen. The film’s South African-Canadian director insisted on an authentic South African camo for the uniforms, which Ferry knew nothing about. A greater problem, however, was that once she learned what South African camo looked like, she discovered that there was absolutely no way for them to buy it.

“I even asked [the Costume Designer] from ‘District 9’ and she tried to get us the fabric directly from South Africa, but she wasn’t able to,” says Ferry. “So we made it.”

And they made a lot of it.

“We had the print made and then we bought yards and yards and yards of it,” she says of the green and brown cotton-poly blend, recalling the number of replicas required and that in most action movies, you need four or five multiples per person. “Those uniforms were a much bigger deal than we expected and it was a big challenge. . .a very interesting part of doing the movie.”

“Elysium” hits theaters nationwide today.

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