The sci-fi thriller, from Oscar-nominated ‘District 9’ director Neill Blomkamp, was partly shot in the world’s second-largest garbage dump in Mexico City.
Damon told the Daily Telegraph that his other crew members protected themselves with gas masks. The 42-year-old actor said that it was explained to them that like any dump anywhere in the world, the dust is actually comprised largely of fecal matter.
“After they tell you that the dust is all fecal matter, then they see what you''re doing (on set), they go, ‘You know, not YOUR dust … all the OTHER dust!” he said.
He said that at the end of every day they would wipe that stuff off and would be basically throwing those s---ty towels at each other.
Damon transforms into a buff, head-shaven, tattooed ex-con for the film, which is about a future world where the rich elite live in paradise on a giant space station called Elysium and the poor are left in poverty and squalor on Earth.
Damon said that one of the locations was called Poo River, which was literally like ‘OK, can we get everybody down to Poo River for scene 36?’
He said that working in the Mexican rubbish tip made for “the toughest two weeks of shooting he had ever had”, but that the end result was worth it.
He said that director Neill Blomkamp told them that ‘Look, I know I can do a lot with a green screen … but I’ve never seen a giant set-piece in a sci-fi film in a setting like that’.
Damon said that everybody on the crew recognized that it was a really good idea and it was going to be worth it. He added that it’s really one of the best sequences in the movie and he is really proud of it.
Elysium, which also stars Jodie Foster, opens on August 15.