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The Real Reason District 9's Aliens Were Addicted To Cat Food

Though it was released in 2009, "District 9" remains one of the most talked-about science fiction films released in the last 20 years. Fans still clamor for a sequel from director Neill Blomkamp and producer Peter Jackson, but one has yet to be produced. There is still plenty for fans to dissect from the first movie, which follows a government agent (Sharlto Copley) dealing with a mysterious illness after interacting with an alien race that crash-landed on Earth, and has since taken to living in slums and being treated like second-class citizens. 

Blomkamp filled his movie to the brim with odd details that made it stand out and feel more realistic, from the found footage style, to Copley's everyman protagonist, to the fact that the aliens in the film are obsessed with eating cat food. While the cat food detail seems like it may have been a random shot at humor, there is a specific story behind its use, and it even played a part in an important aspect of the movie. 

Cat food was not Neill Blomkamp's idea

Director Neill Blomkamp credits co-writer Terri Tatchell with picking cat food as the dish of choice for the alien creatures in the film, and said it actually led to the derogatory name used by characters in the movie to describe the aliens: prawns. 

Tatchell had grown up using cat food as bait when her family would go fishing for prawns, and when Blomkamp heard this, the nickname for the creatures came to light (via Movie Web).

"I knew that I wanted something that they were addicted to that was a common Earth-based thing," Blomkamp said. Pulling from Tatchell's childhood was fitting for the production, as Blomkamp has spoken about how his own upbringing in South Africa and seeing the effects of apartheid partly inspired the class structure and prejudices between the humans and aliens in his feature length film debut (per MTV).

Blomkamp and Tatchell have continued their partnership, too, with Tatchell co-writing "Chappie" and the short film "Zygote," both directed by Blomkamp (via IMDb). Tatchell is also writing the long-awaited "District 10" with Blomkamp and Copley, though there is no confirmation yet on how much cat food will be involved (per Blomkamp's Twitter).