Making Elysium, writer/director Neill Blomkamp cast Matt Damon in his first live-action science-fiction role, but for the filmmaker's next project he is turning to not only a sci-fi pro, but a sci-fi legend. Blomkamp's Chappie has just added Ellen Ripley herself, Sigourney Weaver to the cast, the actress joining an ensemble that includes Hugh Jackman, Dev Patel and Sharlto Copley.
He even gives a time window on when the film will start up. “I am doing a role in Neill’s new film,” Jackman confirmed, “which we shoot in Johannesburg. I’m there for a couple of weeks at the beginning of next year.” No word on what his role will be, and “doing a role” downplays the part, but whatever.
Described as a science fiction comedy, Chappie is based on an original concept thought up by Blomkamp and his wife, District 9 co-writer Terri Tatchell. Its story centers on an artificial intelligence-equipped robot used by the Johannesburg police force that is kidnapped by a crew of criminals who plot to use the self-aware machine in their evil schemes
Neill Blomkamp may still have the power to save science fiction, but he's going to have to continue working to prove it. The District 9 director's new film Elysium is a modest hit, but failed to live up to the expectations from Blomkamp's directorial debut-- no easy feat, of course, since District 9 was a massively profitable Best Picture nominee
Chappie will once again reteam the director with star Sharlto Copley, who will voice Chappie, an artificially intelligent robotic member of the Johannesburg police force. Chappie falls into the hands of two local gangsters, played by Ninja and Yolandi Visser of the South African rap-rave duo Die Antwoord, who want to use the robot for their own unlawful reasons.
Set to be both directed and co-written (with Terri Tatchell) by Blomkamp, the movie is based on a short film that the filmmaker made called Tetra Vaal. While it's unclear at this point how the idea will be stretched into a feature length story, the short was a fake commercial for a highly-advanced robot that could be used during police exercises in the slums of South Africa. You can watch the short below.
Unlike their previous collaborations, this new film will apparently be much lighter, with the star describing it as "a science-fiction comedy." Plot details about the film are being kept under wraps at the moment, but Copley teased the magazine saying that it has "an unusual setting."
With only one four-year-old feature film behind him, you’d think filmmaker Neil Blomkamp would be a small blip on pop culture’s radar instead of the secret-shrouded spotlight nabber he’s continued to be for the past few years.