Idris Elba On the Politics of Guillermo Del Toro’s ‘Pacific Rim’

Idris Elba talked to Vulture about Pacific Rim, the monster movie by Guillermo Del Toro he’s starring in, and wow does it sound incredible:

He’s yet another man of authority, but this time much higher up. He’s the head of the army and the army is the essential fighting force against these monsters. The world is crumbled and this alien lived underneath the surface of the Earth for a long time. Our only defense has been these massive robots that fight back — they’re basically tanks that are put together to look like men and can walk. I play the leader of that sort of movement. Then we lose our funding, basically, and the world decides to build walls around countries, which basically means the rich can get in and the poor can’t. So our characters go, “No. We’re going to fight this our way.” It could be a box-standard, fight-against-the-aliens sort of film, but not with Guillermo.

It sounds like it’s almost a commentary on class and immigration.

Well, it’s certainly a commentary on if the world were under attack who would survive and who wouldn’t. Interestingly enough, the poor would probably more survive than the rich.

Why is that?

Because they have less and are used to less; therefore, more resilient and more tough. If an alien attacks a big skyscraper, people in the skyscraper are going to die. The people on the floor may not.

It’s often splashier and scarier to pit humans against aliens in science fiction, and to portray alien invasion as an engineer of a new, happy, human solidarity. But we’re a lot likely to get fierce international and inter-class struggle and competition before we end up in a fight with spacemen. That Del Toro is acknowledging that and giving us his signature awesome monster design has me very, very excited indeed.