Neill Blomkamp’s follow-up to Elysium will see the science fiction director returning to his South African roots. The film Chappie will take place in Johannesburg and feature a predominantly South African cast along with a few sci-fi genre favorites. Chappie will also be Blomkamp’s first attempt at a sci-fi comedy, but according to one of the film’s stars, it will still feel familiar to fans of the 33-year-old director’s previous work.
In an interview with Screen Crush, Sharlto Copley talks about how Chappie will feel closer to District 9 than Blomkamp’s last effort, Elysium. Copley will play the titular role in the new sci-fi comedy, a robot at the center of a kidnapping. Here’s Copley discussing the film’s tone:
I think it’s an extremely original combination of elements that is perhaps a little bit closer to the vein of District 9 in terms of, you know, things that are familiar to you, in some ways, in a very unfamiliar setting, situation. So, I’m very excited about it; I’m having a lot of fun playing this role — again, something very, very different for me.
While Sharlto Copley will be voicing a robot in the sci-fi comedy, it appears he will also help bring the role to life via motion capture. The actor continues:
What we’re doing is basically a motion capture, sort of like a poor man’s motion-capture version. So it’s very much that I play the character, that I play the robot, and the animators use everything that I’m doing in the same way that motion capture would work.
Sharlto Copley is already an amazing actor! One of the best things about the film Elysium was Copley’s bounty hunter villain, Kruger. Too bad the film didn’t live up to that performance. Chappie will mark Copley’s third film with Neill Blomkamp, beginning with District 9 in 2009, so it’s good to see the pair working together again.
Chappie is currently in production in South Africa with rap-rave duo Die Antwoord, Ninja and Yo-Landi Vi$$er, playing two gangsters who kidnap a resilient robot for their own nefarious purposes. Hugh Jackman will also star in the film, as a “resourceful” CEO who has a bone to pick with the two gangsters, while British actor Dev Patel will play Deon, Chappie’s owner. Sigourney Weaver has been added to the cast as well, but there are no details about her role yet.
Blomkamp describes Chappie as a “simple story, a comedy, a heartfelt story, in a science fiction setting. And it’s fucking hilarious; it’s a really cool film. I can say that with confidence… It’s a smaller film, a more esoteric one.” He also described the new film as a mix between RoboCop and E.T., which is a very interesting combination, to say the least. Blomkamp co-wrote the script with his writing partner and wife, Terri Tatchell. She also co-wrote District 9.
Chappie hits theaters everywhere on March 27, 2015. You can watch Neill Blomkamp’s short film that served as the genesis of Chappie below.