The “Elysium” story Part 4 “Guns, Guns, Guns……continued”

So in the earlier article this week we covered the hand pistol and the SMG…..time for bigger artillery!

First up Weta built the giant rocket launcher used by Kruger in the Mexican desert scenes and this was never sold during the VIP auctions.


Courtesy of Christian Pearce


This rocket launcher was probably custom made by Weta and not a found item.

The next weapon is Krugers throwing star seen here in the Pittsburghprops collection on yourprops.

8(2)This was the only one sold by VIP with the working light that blinks and graphics attached. Interestingly enough the light is actually the same “unit” inside the ear pieces worn by the citizens of “Elysium” painted black. This was thrown at Rico during the fight on the space-station causing him to be wounded and then blown up.

Kruger uses a similar device on his wrist that he can Laser point at a target and launch smart bombs towards. These are what brings Sandro to an untimely end when he explodes.

Kruger also favours blades, the first being his knife with the Asgari weapons corporation logo on the hilt. This is an example of a rubber and working blade, used on Matt Damon when he is stabbed in the stomach.

Krugers sword is an important prop in the film and carries the Samurai motif. Watch in the next installments of “The Elysium story” for that particular items history.

So…..onto grenades. Kruger meets an untimely end, or so we think by the hands of the grenade held by Max on the Raven aircraft. During the VIP auctions around about 4 lots of grenades were sold, and in the end I think myself and my co-buyer bought most of them in the hunt for the elusive screenmatch. It also helped that the very first lot had extra handles that could be placed on the grenades that were missing them later on. The first bunch of grenades sold in late August were rubber, but later the resin ones started showing up, which were much nicer and less paint damaged.

                                    Grenade from the RKPETERSEN collection

These props are beautiful examples of Weta’s work. The pin can be pulled, the handle flips up and off and the device is armed. For these two sell in the $200 range originally was a steal. Em not sure if people didn’t know what they were and how they featured in the film but to me they are a must have prop.

The other versions of the grenades were a different shape in gray, green and black. The best of them the HRX version that hung from Drake’s belt is here. The original artists rendering is on the right.

The version thrown under the car by an android is in fact unpainted as my brother pointed out. No decals on it either.

We will feature the Ak-47 sight in more detail later next week, but the ammunition that gun uses is very cool. Made of resin the VIP auction saw 3 sets, and a couple of unpainted versions.

The first week of the auction saw this larger version of the stun gun used only as a CGI prop go for some $1500.

The smaller handheld versions used by both Drake, Crowe and the Homeland defence team sold between $500-1300. Four resin and one rubber. Here is the rubber one from my collection in its actual holster.

I know it was scene in the B-roll footage on you-tube early on, but this gun when it came up for auction did stump quite a few people.

Originally made for Crowe, the mercenary the gun was meant to plug into the vest that he wears to power it. A scene from the script changed near filming had Crowe grab the gun when Max and Frey run from the ship only to be fired on with the giant gun, and Max using a shield like Kruger did earlier to deflect the bullets.

Crowe_railgun_02_ABThe original art for the scene is below.

E_forcefield2d_BM_905It is also positioned on the weapons rack in the armory scene.

Which brings us neatly to the main gun in the above image. The Chem-rail. Guess what….

new_railgun_02More on that tomorrow!




The “Elysium” story part 3: Designing robots

One of the real joys of the film is the realistic and thoughtful design process that the props and vehicles went thru, and perhaps one of the best examples of this is the robots.

Originally as we discussed in part 2 of this series the “Elysium” film was going to be made on a smaller budget using humans in costumes to portray the robot guards and sentry’s. Here is an early example of this.

which later on became this:

before becoming the final version that was used in the film:

Elysium_Droid2_PEARCEBut, even then this version was subtley tweaked when the original puppet versions, and static robots used in the Armadyne factory had to be changed when the design was altered again after the footage had been shot. This meant CGI changes were overlaid over the top of the original filmed robots.

A good example of this is the gold robot that Max attacks in the desert. Originally the robot was one of the 19 made for production by Weta of New Zealand and had arms that could be removed, along with a specially made head that turned 90 degrees and then pulled away with fake sparking cables, oil pouring from leads and other physical effects built into it like working fans that spun. Of the other 18 robots, 10 were background robots, 7 were hero for Max to work on in the factory with removable chestplates etc, and one was a “Homeland” variant in red.

The gold version see with its head being removed by Matt Damon was made in New Zealand, transported to Mexico and then altered with CGI in Vancouver.

Matt Damon on set with director of the film

                                         Matt Damon on set with Joe Dunckley of Weta

One of the main things to look for is the shoulder graphics and slightly different head design. The orange cross made of tape on the arm socket was for CGI placement of the arms. This variant also had a metal backplate that was designed to bear the stress of being laid on the back of the pickup truck for the sequence.

Matt Damon stars as Max in TriStar Pictures' ELYSIUM.In the end the physical props were used in quite a few shots but were never mechanized. Any movement as such was done with CGI.

Robots being built at Weta Workshop

                                           Robots being built at Weta Workshop

The robots were made using cad files and the parts 3d printed and molded. The entire list of parts came to over 700 and they simply snapped together or bolted like a giant lego set. These are the 7 hero factory models produced.

WetaProps10Below is the hero red “Homeland” variant that was taken on display Summer 2013 to Comicon.

Red Hero "Homeland" robot

                                                 Red Hero “Homeland” robot

Watch more of various sequences from the film here.


The “Elysium” story part 2: The script & studio intervention

One of the reasons that the movie has in some way “failed” fans of the directors first film “District 9″ is a belief that the production is flawed for a number of reasons.

Reading various comments on the forums it seems that people didn’t like the story, more than the look of the film which has been universally praised. Of the story elements people have complained about the “political” nature of the film being too shallow and an obvious riff on todays politicians, that the characters are one dimensional, and that it suffered from a lack of subtlety and convenient plot details. Whilst these perceptions may be true the script as it originally stood was probably much better in the beginning. This is typically changed as the demands of time and budget can change a production at its very core. As is the case with “Elysium”.

Neill Blomkamp’s original script which may or may not have been stolen in part or wholly from another writer certainly packs in the conventions of previous sci-fi films. Thanks to the artists who worked with him on the movie we can easily get a better idea of the scenes that are missing from the film.

Originally Max was far more evil having a curve that took him from being hated by the audience to the point where he sacrifices himself for Frey and humanity. This was removed by MRC, the company who put money into the film to make Matt Damon’s character more likeable. This is one of many changes made to the film against I presume the directors wishes to make the film more commercially viable. Im guessing that the test audience figures didn’t come back too well on this originally.

Is this an early image of “unlikeable” Max. I think so.

Kruger was also meant to have many sides of him until he was made almost completely evil in the film as shown. He had a love for the way of the Samurai even going as far to own a sword and have a costume that echoed his “way of the sword” which included a stealth cloak, and not the nubby cape he has now, claw boots for climbing up the sides of buildings and other cool gadgets, most of which was made by WETA.

Original Kruger costume from early first Max meeting sequence.

The three pairs of claw boots sold in the Ebay auctions were from this suit.

Original art showing the Ninja costume being worn on the Raven heading to “Elysium”. Crowe or Drake original costume design is in the background. The whole tone is more sic-fi than military.

Several props were designed, made by Weta and then didn’t make it into the film either. Here are some examples.

smg 1

Smg with no forward handle for Crowe. Unused.

                                         Original early Chemrail design

Originally Crowe, the mercenary of Kruger had a railgun mounted onto his costume. This is why there are giant batteries mounted onto his vest. The test version of this was sold for $2,000 on ebay even though never used in the film.

When Max was on Elysium he would be kept in a holding cell with other inmates that had implants grafted into their body that had been deactivated.

                                                Deleted scene in prison with Max

Another HUGE idea for the movie was Max would fatally injure Kruger, only for him to be brought back with his brain inside a giant military robot, a complete rip-off of course from “Robocop 2″.

                                                             Kruger and Max face off.

The giant robot, 3 times as tall as Max would then fight the Homeland security and tearup part of Elysium before Max finished it off.

Originally the budget being lower, the idea was to put men in robot suits, or partial costumes and this was the result. I’m very glad that didn’t happen.

                              Original robot design for a “man in suit” approach.

Here is an example of a gun that was omitted from the film. Sold during the VIP auctions on ebay this gun was to be used by Carlyle, even a special pocket was built into his suit jacket for it to be kept, but sadly it wasn’t used and hit the cutting room floor.

This was Carlyle’s customised gold-plated, ivory gripped personal weapon that was filmed but didn’t survive the edit. On the right is some of the patternwork I drew for the engraving, I referenced currency iconography and poison ivy cos he is rich and bad. Deep!

Another item just sold on ebay was “projector Pal”. This was made by WETA for Frey’s daughter but again never seen on screen.

projector palSo, the end of the film comes with the hospital ships landing on Earth. Again this was a late entry to the film requested by MRC.

With so many changes both big and small its pretty evident that the film was a struggle to edit all the way down the line. Perhaps then its not hard to see where the problems are at the end of the day. The elements presented here just reinforce what a well designed film “Elysium” is…and how it really should have been left alone, the directors vision ultimately tampered with too many times.

With thanks to Aaron Beck, Christian Pearce, TyRuben Ellingson, Ben Mauro and all the creative forces behind “Elysium”.

Drakes (Brandon Auret) costume from “Elysium” display


Im extremely proud to be able to show off this almost complete Drake costume ensemble worn by Brandon Auret who confirmed on twitter a number of interesting facts about it.

First up that there were 3 vests (2 hero/1 stunt), and according to the auction about 7 costumes,  most of which were damaged with blood and tears during production. The stunt vest was sold during the MRC/VIP auctions. It appears one was kept by the Director of the film.There were 3 sets of leg and shoulder armor, two of which were sold as being “generic” pieces.

The full breakdown is hero #1 costume, hero armor, hero #2 vest, hero boots, hero non firing Chemrail, stunt taser in hero holster. The only thing missing is the helmet…..which to be honest I never liked that look. The completist in me wonders where it went….but it seems to have disappeared probably with vest #1.

I should also mention the camo was made especially for the film and is not off the peg per the costume designer.

Anyway. Thanks to Brandon for the information. Hope you enjoy the picture.


Bonhams/Turner Classic movies Entertainment auction November 2013

Things started off very slow with quite a few items not meeting reserve including the Laurel and Hardy Bowler hats. The vintage stuff just didn’t seem to bring the interest….unless it was attached to a real star name. In the case of the hats I can only guess it was overvalued or the provenance wasn’t good.

Shirley temples jacket went for $21,250 including premium. from the movie Poor little rich girl generating alot of interest.

A pair of western costume replica ruby slippers sold for an astonishing $35,000.

The Annie clapperboard (Lot 72) sold for a surprising $2000, compared to the $500 expected, showing the revised interest these past few years in production used items from behind the scenes.

Lot 88 the costume worn by Bette Davis in “The Private lives of Elisabeth and Essex” failed to sell despite “lots of interest”.

Vivien Leigh’s nighty from “Gone with the wind” sells for $45,000 to bidder 4029.

The car from “Casablanca” sells for $461,000 including premium.

Robert Shaw’s costume from the Sting, a truly beautiful piece goes for $3800.

The new auctioneer definitely has a bit more energy than the younger chap.

Two beautiful costumes from Shakespeare in Love are wedged in the auction here. Kind of expected them later on. The lots 130-131 expect to bring in $5,000…exactly what they went for years ago in the Premiereprops sale. Alot of interest by internet, phone and room bids on the dresses. Lucy is name dropped, one of the entertainment departments officials. Sold for $7500 to bidder 5600.$8500 for the second to the same bidder in the room with a paddle.

A hat from “Funny face” worn by Audrey Hepburn sells for 3-4 times its estimate at $87,500 with buyers premium.

It blows my bidder that 5600 keeps scooping up stuff. Remember the golden rule. It only needs two bidders to make an auction.

Charlton Hestons cloak from Ben Hur takes 4 minutes to sell..but still goes to bidder 5600. This seems like a very one note auction bidder wise…..shakes head.

Slowly but surely moving towards modern times. Auction has been running 3 hours and we are at lot 209. If it was Premiereprops it would be lot 60….sigh. Bonhams reports that no online bidding for the “Maltese Falcon” will be alowed. Telephone, bid on the books or in the room only!

Lot 213…beautiful production art from “Blazing Saddles” busts its reserve of $200 and rockets to 4 times that.

Kevin Costners saddle for $3500 to…you guessed it. 5600.

Beautiful shirt from “Easy Rider” at $11,000…and sells to bidder 4984.

Susan Sarandon “Thelma and Louise” hat at $2800 and is passed.

The Falcon is coming up……Sells for $3,500,000

Nautilus helmet from “20,000 Leagues” sells for 65k.

Mia farrow nightgown from “Rosemarys” baby fails to sell.

Devils tower from “Close Encounters” fails to sell.

“Dune” costume worn by Paul Atredies sells for $3,000.

The more modern stuff isnt doing the business I thought. Both Batman and the joker fail to sell. The riddlers cane for $9375 with BP,a Gotham taxi plate for $1500, Robins suit from “Batman” tanks as does “Forrest Gump”.  Only the Indy whip makes a splash at $10,000 including Buyers premium.

Well my wrap up is pretty much simple. It seems the auction was geared very much to sell the “Maltese Falcon”. The other items were part of the train but most failed to garner the attention the dingus did. This really made the modern pieces suffer and quite a few of the non star pieces. Artwork surprisingly held well.

Well thats about it. Hope you enjoyed this quick check in with the event.