I can get behind that. However, Matt Damon was not the first choice for the role.
You'd think that Blomkamp would have looked for other action stars, but as we saw in his erratic progression from District 9 to Chappie, Blomkamp is not a man who indulges in the obvious. He leaves all the obvious stuff to the themes of his films, which characters inevitably recite as if they've had their scripts replaced with the movie's Cliff's Notes.
So, instead of another big-name action star, he originally wanted Ninja from Die Antwoord to take part in Elysium, but he'd have to wait through two years and at least a dozen human-shaped robots to get a variation of that wish. After he couldn't get the people behind "I Fink U Freeky," he went for the next least obvious choice -- Eminem.
Yeah, I was surprised too, Marshall.
It's one of cinema's great losses that Eminem declined to be in Elysium, but not because he would've been a better fit than Matt Damon or even that it would have been a better movie. The only way the script for Elysium could have been saved would be by finding literally any other script and turning that into a movie instead. It was going to be disappointing no matter who played "bald man who sort of becomes a robot man," because Blomkamp approaches important ideas in the same way that Eminem raps about anything. They both follow a "Speak Super Loud And Carry A Big Stick" policy, which makes maintaining subtlety a laughable pipe dream.
And, usually, when you see a rapper's name somewhere in the credits, you look out for them, because it's exciting to await Pitbull or Redman's awkward, scripted cameos opposite people who pretend to be other people professionally. An Elysium with Eminem would've maintained a kind of wonderful anxiety throughout the movie's entire running time, and we could have seen it, had Blomkamp bowed to Eminem's one simple demand: He wanted the film to be set in Detroit.
Wait, so that's not Detroit?
That's the kind of requirement I'd have Eminem request if I was writing a parody of an interaction between the director of District 9 and the star of 8 Mile, along with, "I'll only star in this movie if I'm allowed to look directly into the camera and say, 'Fuck my ex-wife,' at least three times."