Slumdog Millionaire’s Dev Patel In Talks To Lead Neill Blomkamp’s Sci-Fi Comedy Chappie

By Nick Venable | Published

patel There are two solid reasons why I can’t wait for Neill Blomkamp’s uptopian/dystopian action drama Elysium to hurry up and hit theaters, which it will on August 9. One, it looks like a no-bullshit battering ram of science fiction excitement, and will possibly be the best sci-fi film of the year. (To be fair, I say this about many films each year.) And the second reason? I really want Blomkamp to get to work on his next feature, the sci-fi comedy Chappie. Yeah, they’re both selfish reasons. Yeah, I’m a selfish movie fan.

I take much comfort in the fact that he’s been gearing up for it by casting District 9 star Sharlto Copley and members of the music duo Die Antwoord. And I’m happy to report Blomkamp is keeping it interesting, as actor Dev Patel is in talks to join the film as the co-lead.

We’re not all that aware of what Chappie is actually about — thus making my initial anticipation rather baseless — but it’s based on a short film, Tetra Vaal, that Blomkamp made back in 2004. The short was essentially a fake advert for the promotion of robot cops keeping the peace in the slums of South Africa. Copley will be playing the role of the police bot working the shanty-town beat. Should Patel definitely join the cast, he’d be playing the lead human role, which is only described as “a young man in the impoverished town.” Check out Tetra Vaal below, and the more rebellious of you can start thinking about ways to evolve the “pig” slur once robots take over the police force. (Ex. Robo-Sir.)

Patel is most commonly known for his award-friendly role in Danny Boyle’s 2009 dramatic thriller Slumdog Millionaire, as well as his participation in M. Night Shyamalan’s godawful 2010 adventurous adpatation The Last Airbender. But I’ll probably always remember him best as the foul-mouthed Anwar on the BBC’s sleazy teen drama Skins, although he’s definitely been one of the enjoyable aspects of HBO’s The Newsroom as well. He last starred in the equally sleazy Stephen Elliott film About Cherry, and is next supposed to portray genius Indian mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan in the biopic The Man Who Knew Infinity.

I have no idea what the tone of the film will be exactly, but I think Patel and Copley would make a pretty great film duo. Sucks that I’ll probably have to wait until the end of next year to find out.

And because I can’t stop ogling it, here’s the full-length trailer for Elysium.