Neill Blomkamp sci-fi thriller They Found Us was in pre-production in Saudi Arabia, but has now been shut down, its studio has announced.
Having finished work on the racy videogame adaptation Gran Turismo, Neill Blomkamp turned his attention to his next project, the alien abduction thriller They Found Us, in April this year. According to a report at Deadline, however, pre-production has now shut down “as it reworks its finance structure.”
They Found Us is being backed by AGC Studios, which produced Blomkamp’s sci-fi horror effort, Demonic, while the production itself was taking place at Neom, a production hub in Saudi Arabia. Filming was reportedly about to get underway, with star Joel Kinnaman and the rest of the cast due to travel to the region “in coming weeks,” according to Deadline.
In a statement to the outlet, an AGC Studios spokesperson said, “We’ve taken the reluctant decision with our valued partners at Neom to pause pre-production on the film while we further explore a cross border legal and funding structure that makes all stakeholders comfortable. In deciding when to resume pre-production we’ll obviously assess what impact macro events in the region may have on obtaining production insurances and travel plans. Our friends at Neom and Yellow Camel have been nothing but collaborative and reliable partners at every stage of the journey thus far and we look forward to returning to prep on the film with them at the earliest sensible opportunity.”
Presumably, the term ‘macro events’ is a reference to the tragic Israel-Hamas conflict unfolding in the region. Deadline adds that, while there isn’t a firm restart date for They Found Us as yet, it’s expected that production will resume “in coming months.”
If and when it does, we should be in for an intense sci-fi thriller in which Kinnaman plays a father who, while on a camping trip with his daughter, encounters a “hostile extra-terrestrial life-form” in the Utah wilderness. Given Blomkamp’s penchant for gnarly alien designs and gritty, on-location filming (see District 9, Elysium and his Oats Studios short films) it sounds like a return to familiar territory after the high-gloss motorsport of Gran Turismo.