Matt Damon in "Elysium" Photo: TriStar Pictures
It may look like some hardcore heavy metal, but it's really not too heavy at all.
The mad engineers at Weta Workshop conjured some real movie magic with the metal exoskeleton that Matt Damon wears in "Elysium," director Neil Blomkamp's highly anticipated follow-up to his startling 2009 sleeper hit, "District 9." The "third generation exo suit," as one character calls it, hooks right into its wearer's nervous system and makes one "as strong as a droid" — which is really, really strong.
The suit, which Damon himself affectionately calls 'the HULC suit' — short for Human Universal Load Carrier — isn't as far-fetched a concept as you might think. In fact, it might one day soon become an everyday accessory in the U.S. military.
"The whole suit is just an extrapolation on current-day technology that the military is looking into," says Blomkamp in our exclusive featurette. "It's like a 'power assist' suit that helps you lift heavier objects or jump higher or run quicker."
The thing looks creepy, painful and, most of all, extremely cumbersome to wear, but Damon found it fit him like a glove — and only added a few pounds to his total weight.
"I had 100 percent mobility," marvels Damon. "They made all the pistons that look metal, they were super-lightweight and the whole thing when they were done was 25 pounds — 25 pounds that were distributed all over my body, which was fine, I could stay in it all day."
Mobility and being relatively lightweight were essential elements, as Damon does a lot of "running and jumping and climbing and fighting" in the film as a blue collar worker on near-future Earth whose exposure to radiation prompts a desperate plan to utilize the healing technology on Elysium, an off-world colony reserved for the rich and famous. It's a quest chock full of challenges and obstacles, though luckily Damon's character is equipped with "major HULC strength."
"Elysium" hits theaters on August 9.
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