Sharlto Copley presented an American, an Eastern European, and a British "version" of Kruger to Neill Blomkamp before they agreed that Kruger would be from their home country, South Africa, and speak with the accent of "a very specific area in Johannesburg". Kruger and his men incorporate numerous Afrikaans slang words into their dialogue, e.g. "Boet," an informal derivative of "brother," "Boykie," meaning "little boy," and "lekker," a slang for approval.
The biography of John Carlyle displayed by the computer indicates that he was born in 2010, which makes him about 144 years old.
In 2015, director Neill Blomkamp expressed his dissatisfaction with this film in an interview shortly before the release of Chappie (2015). He claimed to have felt that he could've delved further into the film's story.
The line, "Don't breathe on me... Cover your mouth!" spoken by John Carlyle to the Plant Manager was ad-libbed by William Fichtner.
When Kruger retrieves the rocket launcher from his vehicle, the name of the agency he is working for is seen-- the "Civil Cooperation Bureau." The South African Civil Cooperation Bureau (CCB) was a government-sponsored, under cover, direct action intelligence agency during the apartheid era.
John Carlyle wrote the reboot sequence in assembly language. What he is writing is valid code and can work.
The main role was first offered to Ninja, a South African rapper, who despite being a fan of District 9 (2009) (he has a D9 tattoo on his inner lip) did not take the role. The role was then offered to rapper Eminem, who also turned it down. So Neill Blomkamp moved on to Matt Damon as his next choice.
Eager for the chance to work with director Neill Blomkamp, Diego Luna (Julio) signed on to star without reading the script. In an interview with NBCLatino, he says, "My agent told me to never do that again. It's a good idea to read the script before you say, 'yes,' but I am a huge fan of Neill's work, and the chance to work with a young guy who has so much to say and is so clear about his vision was amazing."
Sharlto Copley drew inspiration for the character of Agent Kruger from the famous "32 Battalion," an elite and highly effective South African fighting unit that gained fame in the South African/Namibian Border Wars, eventually earning the nickname "The Terrible Ones."
To prepare for the role, Matt Damon had a daily 4-hour workout in the gym. Neill Blomkamp was specific of the character's physical look - he had a mugshot of Damon tacked on to the body of a model on the poster as a reference for the trainer.
Eminem was offered the lead role in "Elysium," but he turned it down because director Neill Blomkamp would not change its location from Los Angeles to Detroit.
The design reference for the Elysium central server reboot screen is an Award BIOS from a Gigabyte motherboard with an AMD processor. The years and brand names have been changed but not the layout, and the "Wyrd" and "Oracle" drives still connect with an IDE interface.
When Max (Matt Damon) is offered a pill from his robotic parole officer the warning under the lid of the pill container reads, "Warning: Side effects may include vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, dizziness, constipation, blurry vision, dry mouth, rash, increase heart palpitations, high blood pressure, violent seizures and sudden death."
The code on screen during the space station reboot has been directly copied from sections of Example 8-1. STARTUP.ASM in the Intel Architecture Software Developer's Manual (Volume 3: System programming).
This has overtones of the Star Trek episode Star Trek: The Original Series: The Cloud Minders (1969). The plot is different but the idea of a city in the sky (Stratus) where everything is perfect and the planet below where is everything is grim. It is also highly reminiscent of the divided culture in Fritz Lang's classic Sci-fi film Metropolis.
Brazilians Alice Braga and Wagner Moura dubbed themselves in the Portuguese version of the film.
Carlyle's shuttle bears the stylized "EB" logo of Bugatti Automobiles S.A.S. Founded by Ettore Bugatti in 1909, it is now Volkswagen Group's ultra-high performance supercar marque.
The car that Matt Damon and Diego Luna drive is a modified Nissan GT-R. The car was previously owned by director Neill Blomkamp.
Sharlto Copley's character Kruger is clearly South African, which is obvious from his accent, the various slang he uses, and several images of the South African flag on his ship and clothing. The name Kruger is significant in South African history and culture: Paul Kruger (Stephanus Johannes Paulus Kruger) was a four-term State President of the South African Republic in the late 1800s. The Krugerrand is a 1 troy ounce South African gold coin; it is named for Paul Kruger and for the rand, the official South African unit of currency.
The track playing in Spider's club is called 'Loner' by UK electronic artist Burial.
As of March 6, 2015, this is the only feature-length Neill Blomkamp film that does not take place one year after it is released. It is set 151 years after its release date.
Wagner Moura contracted pneumonia while filming so the production was stopped for a few days to allow him to recover.
The configuration of the space station Elysium is a pentagram, a 5-pointed star in a circle. To Neo-Platonists it meant "health" (with healing a key theme in the movie); to early Christians it represented the 5 wounds of Jesus (if one point is going up); to satanists it represented the great goat Satan (if two points are going up).
This makes the second time Jodie Foster and William Fichtner have appeared together in a science fiction vehicle, the other being Contact (1997)
Sharlto Copley and William Fichtner, who played the main antagonists of this movie, share the same birthday, with Fichtner 17 years older.
Max and Frey grow up together but in reality, Matt Damon is twelve and a half years older than Alice Braga.
Wagner Moura and Diego Luna both star as drug lords Pablo Escobar and Miguel Ángel Félix Gallardo respectively in 2018 Netflix series Narcos: Mexico.
President Patel has a very common Indian surname that originated in the state of Gujarat and means "leader", "chief", "headman". (Dev Patel, of Gujarati origin, starred in Neill Blomkamp's next feature Chappie (2015).) Delacourt has a French surname meaning "of the court".
Kruger, Sharlto Copley's South-African character sings the song 'Jan Pierewiet'. The original is a Dutch song about a "smerige soldaat". A dirty soldier. In the late 30s Jan Pierewiet was a collection of folkish children's songs. For a long time South Africa was a Dutch colony, that's why this songs are still famous children's songs.