After a burst of grim dystopia and shiny, hollow utopia in Elysium, Neill Blomkamp will be lightening up for his next film, Chappie. In development since before Elysium even happened along, it now has the backing of Sony (clearly happy to be back in business with the writer-director despite Elysium opening to a decent but hardly outstanding first weekend in the US) and Media Rights Capital.
Loosely adapted from his short Tetra Vaal (see below) by Blomkamp and his wife Terri Tatchell (who the director admits likes writing a lot more than he does), Chappie chronicles what happens when two gangsters steal an artificially-intelligent robot and tinker with his brains to their own criminal ends. We doubt the results will be quite as gentle as last year's Robot & Frank, however.
Blomkamp’s regular collaborator Sharlto Copley is on to voice the ‘bot with Ninja and Yolandi Visser, better known as rap-ravers Die Antwoord, as the criminals (their casting was originally discovered by the Playlist). Dev Patel’s name has also been linked with the film, but he’s not mentioned by the press release picked up by Collider.
“We’re huge fans of Neill Blomkamp – it’s a real thrill to be continuing our relationship with such a visionary and important filmmaker,” says Sony president Doug Belgrad. “Neill has proven that he is a true original voice and we expect that Chappie will strike a chord with worldwide audiences in the same way that District 9 and Elysium have.”
Chappie should begin filming later this year.