Neill Blomkamp Talks Chappie

Sci-fi comedy about a 'ridiculous' robot

Neill Blomkamp popped in to Comic-Con today to unveil Elysium, his next trick following District 9. But while the panel, featuring Matt Damon, Jodie Foster, Sharlto Copley and seven minutes of hugely impressive footage (Fichtner! Robot bodyguards! Violence! Copley with a force-field!), went down a storm (look out for a full report on that panel soon), Empire's ears pricked up when Blomkamp started filling us in on his Chappie.

Stop sniggering, you mucky-minded lot. Chappie is a film that was first announced back in January 2011, while Blomkamp was prepping Elysium. Since then, not much has been known. That changed slightly today.

"I was writing Elysium and I had this idea for this film and so I wrote it with Terri [Tatchell], who wrote District 9 with me," said Blomkamp. "I came up with the original idea and within three weeks, it was done. I would write that with her and then write Elysium on my own. It was a fairly fully-formed idea. It’s much more simplistic than Elysium in terms of overall concept. It’s a much more simple thing."

And what is that thing? The assembled journalists held their breath as we waited to see if Blomkamp would enlarge his Chappie. "It’s a science-fiction comedy thing, that’s as far as I can go with that." But, as it turns out, it wasn't as far as he could go with that. Once a fellow starts waxing lyrical about his Chappie, it's hard to stop, so Blomkamp gave us an insight into how the idea came about.

"District 9, Elysium and Chappie were all born out of some visual concept first," he explained. "Chappie is the imagery, because I think I’m a visual person first, of this ridiculous robot character. It’s much more comedy based, and in an unusual setting."

And with that, he did indeed keep schtum. Heaven knows when Blomkamp will show the world his Chappie, but it's likely to be his next film, once Elysium is released next March, and the prospect of a sci-fi comedy is intriguing, to say the least. It's also good to see him sticking to his guns with the title, despite the vast potential for a bombardment of lewd innuendos from dirty old websites with nothing better to do but think about sex.