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Writer/director Neill Blomkamp is still very much at the start of his career, his second effort, Elysium, not due out until August, but already he's shown that he works at a fairly deliberate pace. It's been nearly a full four years since the release of District 9 in 2009, and Blomkamp has spent that time tending to the details of Elysium and getting it through production and ready for theaters. It's entirely possible that we won't be able to see his third feature, Chappie, until 2017, matching the time gap, but at the very least Blomkamp is starting to put the pieces for it together now.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, actor Dev Patel, best known for his starring roles in movies like Slumdog Millionaire and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, is now in early talks to join the cast of Chappie, which has been described as a sci-fi comedy. 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.
As we previously reported, the movie will once again unite Blomkamp with actor Sharlto Copley, who is set to play a police robot in the movie. THR says that should Patel sign on the dotted line he will be playing the film's "human lead, a young man in the impoverished town."
In addition to Patel's film work - which also includes M. Night Shyamalan's The Last Airbender - the young actor has actually had a great deal of success on the small screen. His career began playing Anwar in the UK series Skins, and can now be seen starring alongside the likes of Jeff Daniels and Emily Mortimer in Aaron Sorkin's HBO series The Newsroom. He recently starred in the porn drama About Cherry.
Elysium, which stars Matt Damon, Jodie Foster, and William Fichtner in addition to Copley, will be in theaters on August 9th. You can watch the most recent trailer for the film right here: