‘Elysium’ director: ‘Chappie’ will be ‘like RoboCop but hilarious’
“Blue Jasmine”: 77-year-old Brooklynite and immigrants’ son Woody Allen now lives in New York’s wealthy enclave, the Upper East Side.
(Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times, Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times)
“Elysium”: 33-year-old South African child of apartheid Neill Blomkamp now lives in Canada’s wealthy West Coast enclave, Vancouver.
“Blue Jasmine”: In 2013, elegant New York socialite Jasmine, played by Chanel-clad Oscar winner Cate Blanchett, struggles to hold herself together with the help of vodka and pills.
(Jessica Miglio / Sony Pictures Classics, TriStar, Columbia Pictures - Sony / Kimberley French)
“Elysium”: In 2154, elegant French politician Secretary Delacort, played by Armani-clad Oscar winner Jodie Foster, struggles to hold her colony together with the help of spaceships and mercenaries.
“Blue Jasmine”: Andrew Dice Clay’s Augie gets taken in by a financial scam thanks to rich jerk Hal (Alec Baldwin).
(Jessica Miglio / Sony Pictures Classics, TriStar, Columbia Pictures - Sony / Stephanie Blomkamp.)
“Elysium”: Matt Damon’s Max gets radiated in an industrial accident thanks to rich jerk John Carlyle (William Fichtner).
“Blue Jasmine”: Jasmine’s sweet brunet sister, grocery clerk Ginger (British actress Sally Hawkins), gets busy with a sketchy dude in a van (Louis C.K.).
(Sony Pictures Classics, Tristar, Columbia Pictures - Sony / Kimberley French)
“Elysium”: Max’s sweet childhood friend, hospital worker Frey (Brazilian actress Alice Braga), gets kidnapped by a sketchy dude in a van (Sharlto Copley).
“Blue Jasmine”: In a cluttered San Francisco walkup, with dignity and a little help from charismatic ethnic guy Chili (Bobby Canavale).
(Merrick Morton / Sony Pictures Classics, TriStar, Columbia Pictures - Sony / Kimberley French)
“Elysium”: In a trash-strewn Los Angeles barrio, with dignity and a little help from charismatic ethnic guy Julio (Diego Luna).
Four days after “Elysium” hit theaters, the science fiction movie’s backers announced Tuesday that they have greenlighted director Neill Blomkamp’s next film, “Chappie.”
Sony Pictures Entertainment and MRC will once again co-produce and co-finance the Blomkamp project, this one from a script the 33-year-old director wrote with his wife, “District 9" screenwriter Terri Tatchell.
According to a press release issued by Sony and MRC, “Chappie” “tells the story of a robot imbued with artificial intelligence who is stolen by two local gangsters who want to use him for their own nefarious purposes.”
“‘Chappie’ would be like ‘RoboCop,’ but hilarious,” Blomkamp said in an interview in July, referencing Paul Verhoeven’s 1987 sci-fi film about a cyborg police officer. “If you mixed ‘Robocop’ with ‘E.T.’ and it was... funny, that’s what it is.”
Like Blomkamp’s first feature, “District 9,” “Chappie” will be set in his home city of Johannesburg, South Africa, and star his longtime friend and frequent collaborator, South African actor Sharlto Copley, as the voice of Chappie the robot. Ninja and Yolandi Visser, the flamboyant members of South African rap-rave duo Die Antwoord play the two gangsters.
“District 9,” an Apartheid allegory, and “Elysium,” which deals with income disparity, both earned Blomkamp a reputation as a filmmaker with a political voice. “Chappie,” Blomkamp said, will tackle different thematic terrain.
“‘Chappie’ is a little bit outside the realm of those films in that there’s no sociopolitical element to it at all,” Blomkamp said in an interview in July. “It’s about another topic that is pretty cool -- sentience.”
After Blomkamp’s $30-million debut, “District 9,” became a sleeper hit and collected a surprise best picture nomination, “Elysium,” which cost $115 million and stars Matt Damon and Jodie Foster, was his first experience with bigger-budget Hollywood filmmaking. The movie got a tepid response from critics but opened No. 1 at the box office, making $30.5 million last weekend.
With “Chappie,” Blomkamp will return to a filmmaking style that is more modest in scope, according to Copley.
“He’s back to a smaller budget level,” Copley said in an interview in May. “Creatively it’s a better fit for him.”
He’ll also be back on his home soil, which Blomkamp has said he finds fertile ground for ideas.
“A lot of America is kind of done,” Blomkamp said. “People have been making films about it for 100 years. Everything to me feels used up. But Jo-Burg feels unbelievably inspirational to me. It has all of the first world elements -- there are places where it feels like you could be in Detroit or Minneapolis mixed with, on the horizon is basically complete chaos and societal collapse.”
“Chappie” will begin filming in Johannesburg in September. A release date has not yet been set.
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