Director: Neill Blomkamp
Stars: Sharlto Copley, David James, Jason Cope
Plot: In 1982, a massive star ship bearing a bedraggled alien population, nicknamed "The Prawns," appeared over Johannesburg, South Africa. Twenty-eight years later, the initial welcome by the human population has faded. The refugee camp where the aliens were located has deteriorated into a militarized ghetto called District 9, where they are confined and exploited in squalor. They find a kindred spirit in a government agent who is exposed to their biotechnology.
All of the aliens in the film are CGI except the ones on operating tables in the medical lab. All of the speaking aliens were performed by one actor, Jason Cope, who also played the role of the lead alien Christopher Johnson and narrator Grey Bradnam. The dialogue for the speaking aliens was ad-libbed by Cope, and dubbed over in post production.
The idea of the prawns being obsessed with cat food came from two inspirations. In impoverished areas of Johannesburg, director Neill Blomkamp would see people selling cheese poofs and other snack foods out of large three-foot tall bags and wanted the aliens to have a similar cheap food. The decision to make them cat food came from one of the producers who used canned cat food to bait traps when fishing for prawns in Vancouver.
The mutilated animal carcasses in the background of many scenes were real and, with only a few exceptions, were already in the real slums and shacks used for the filming.
Sharlto Copley ad-libbed all his lines during the "documentary" sequences.
District 9 (2009) is adapted from Neill Blomkamp's earlier short movie, Alive in Joburg (2005). It was inspired by director Neill Blomkamp's childhood in South Africa during apartheid.
When Kobus is tracking Wikus' location, Neill Blomkamp is seen briefly saying Wikus' coordinates.
When Wikus cuts the cake shaped like the MNU Headquarters at his party, he cuts out the same spot that he and Christopher Johnson blow up in order to enter the building later on in the film.
Near the end of the movie, when Wikus' wife Tania is talking to the camera and holding the flower made of metal, several ultrasound images can be seen on the mirror behind her, suggesting that she may be pregnant.
The film is banned in Nigeria because the government felt the film portrayed Nigerians as gangsters and cannibals.
Around six different endings were created during filming.
After the feature film based on the Halo (2001) video game series (which was to be directed by Neill Blomkamp) fell through, producer Peter Jackson went to Blomkamp and offered him $30 million to make whatever he wanted. The result was District 9 (2009).
The language used by the aliens (clicking sounds) was created by rubbing a pumpkin.
The title is a nod to a real place and a real incident. District 6 was a mixed race neighborhood of Cape Town which the apartheid government demolished in 1966 to make room for whites.
Star Sharlto Copley had not acted before and had no intention of pursuing an acting career. He stumbled into the leading role as director Neill Blomkamp placed him on-camera during the short film.
All the shacks in District 9 were actual shacks that exist in a section of Johannesburg which were to be evacuated and the residents moved to better government housing, paralleling the events in the film. Also paralleling, the residents had not actually been moved out before filming began.