Although Elysium was released about a month ago, director Neill Blomkamp is jumping right into production of his next film, Chappie, as soon as possible. Columbia Pictures/Sony gave Blomkamp’s science fiction comedy the green light and penciled the film in for a release date in Spring 2015. While Chappie is going to be a smaller film than Elysium, the new movie recently added some big time star power.
In an interview with Screen Daily, Hugh Jackman revealed that he will appear in Chappie. The movie is set to start shooting at the beginning of 2014 in Johannesburg, South Africa. “I’m there for a couple of weeks at the beginning of next year,” said Jackman. It’s good to see the hunky Australian actor team up with one of the brightest directors in the science fiction genre.
Jackman is currently in Denis Villeneuve’s new thriller Prisoners with Jake Gyllenhaal, Viola Davis, and Maria Bello, and reprised his role as the sharp-clawed, self-healing mutant Logan, AKA Wolverine, this past summer. He’ll also appear in next year’s X-Men: Days of Future Past. Recently nominated for an Academy award for his role as Jean Valjean in Tom Hooper’s musical Les Misérables, this isn’t Jackman’s first sci-fi rodeo. He starred in Darren Aronofsky’s under-appreciated The Fountain in 2006.
The cast of Chappie is coming together nicely. South African Zef counterculture movement and members of rap-rave duo Die Antwoord—Ninja and Yo-Landi Vi$$er—play two gangsters who kidnap a resilient robot for their own nefarious purposes. Blomkamp will also reteam with frequent collaborator Sharlto Copley, who will play the titular robot. While it’s unclear whom Jackman will play, Bleeding Cool believes that he could be a “resourceful” CEO who has a bone to pick with the two gangsters. British actor Dev Petal was rumored to be up for the role of the robot’s owner, but there has been no word whether or not he’s still in the running.
Blomkamp described Chappie as, “a fundamentally more 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 called his film a mix between RoboCop and E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, so that seems like an interesting blend.
Blomkamp co-wrote the script with his writing partner, and wife, Terri Tatchell. She also co-wrote District 9. Maybe the pairing can re-capture some of the magic and imagination from District 9, considering that Elysium, which Blomkamp wrote on his own, was a less than stellar outing for the South African director.
Based on a short film, Chappie hits theaters everywhere on March 27, 2015.