Neil Blomkamp’s Sci-Fi Comedy ‘Chappie’ Gets a Synopsis; Production Begins This Fall

Published 2 years ago by

neil blomkamp elysium matt damon Neil Blomkamps Sci Fi Comedy Chappie Gets a Synopsis; Production Begins This Fall

Neil Blomkamp returned to theaters some four years after his feature-length directorial debut District 9 this month, with the bigger-budgeted sci-fi blockbuster Elysium. While the latter is nowhere near the same critical success as D9 (case in point, read our review), Elysium has done all right by itself at the U.S. box office – where it opened as the top choice for moviegoers this past weekend, thanks to the combination of Matt Damon’s star wattage and the public’s interest in Blokamp’s second helping of grisly sci-fi violence and allegory.

Regardless, Blomkamp already has his next project as director lined up and ready to begin shooting this year: Chappie, a new South Africa- based sci-project that – similar to District 9 – is based on one of Blomkamp’s short films, titled “Tetra Vaal.” Sony Pictures Entertainment and MRC are re-teaming to co-produce and finance the project, alongside producer Simon Kinberg (co-writer and producer on next year’s X-Men: Days of Future Past).

Here is the official plot summary and main cast for Chappie (via Sony’s press release):

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.  The film will star Sharlto Copley as the voice of Chappie, with Ninja and Yolandi Visser, voices of the South African Zef counter-culture movement and members of rap-rave duo Die Antwoord, as the two gangsters.

Copley – one of Blomkamp’s fellow South Africans and his frequent collaborator going back to the short film “Alive in Joburg” (which inspired District 9) – may well be playing the titular robot either via performance-capture or the similar “emotion-capture” approach (a technique used in recent tentpoles such as Oz the Great and Powerful). Sony’s press release doesn’t list Dev Patel as a cast member, so it’s possible that The Newsroom actor wasn’t able to work out a deal for him to play one of the human characters in Chappie after all.

sharlto copley elysium image Neil Blomkamps Sci Fi Comedy Chappie Gets a Synopsis; Production Begins This Fall

Sharlto Copley as Kruger in the film ‘Elysium’

Blomkamp is working on the script for Chappie with his wife and District 9 co-screenwriter, Terri Tatchell. As was discussed by our editors during the Elysium installment of the Screen Rant Underground Podcast, that’s good to know – seeing how Elysium illustrates that Blomkamp is talented and imaginative at sci-fi world building, but (in this writer’s opinion) the movie falls well short in the script department. On his own, Blomkamp’s struggles to tell a captivating and thought-provoking sci-fi story (one which examines relevant and modern concerns).

The setup for Chappie, by comparison, doesn’t read as being so much of a blatant attempt to address big social issues – though, no doubt, Blomkamp and Tatchell’s script will do that (to some degree). More interesting, perhaps, is the project’s description as a comedy – given that the few instances of humor found in District 9 and Elysium suggest that Blomkamp the filmmaker has something of a darkly-twisted funny bone. (My prediction: Chappie will be more of a satire than anything else.)


Chappie doesn’t have an official release date yet, but Blomkamp is slated to begin principal photography sometime in Fall 2013. As always, we’ll keep you posted as more information becomes available.

Source: Sony Pictures

Follow Sandy Schaefer on Twitter @feynmanguy
TAGS: Chappie
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  1. Looking forward to this. He seems to have a good eye for satirical jabs at social-political issues and the potential for Chappie is huge.

  2. I’m a bit nervous about this because production is already beginning this fall. Isn’t that (unless this is a low-budget film) rushing?

    • For certain directors, a low budget might be worrisome, but if you take a look at some of Blomkamp’s earlier works – short films, commercials and such, you’ll see that he’s a pro at producing spectacles with limited resources.

      • Well it’s just the fact that I don’t like it when sci-fi films get rushed into production quickly. I don’t want Blomkamp rushing this film just for a 2014 release date(I don’t think that will happen).

        • I hear you on that. I hope that’s not the case, but given the nature of non-sequels/non-reboots, there’s no motivation to carry the IP’s marketing momentum from a previous iteration. This movie is more likely to be delayed than rushed.

  3. This is a joke right? Die Antwoord? Guess I wont be seeing this movie

    • Die Antwoord is Awesome! See this movie! I personally can’t wait to see it.
      to the detractors: haters gunna hate

  4. The next Blomkamp film stars Die Antwoord??? Umm…what????? Excitement for this just plummeted.

  5. I’m guessing the above posters are South African?

    What’s wrong with Die Antwoord? Having never heard of them before, I’m curious. I mean, British rapper Plan B being in movies put me off seeing them but I finally saw Harry Brown a few months back and he wasn’t that bad.

    I might watch the movie version of The Sweeney that he starred in when it’s on TV because he surprised me.

    • Umm I’m white from Portland Oregon. But I’m aware of the world around me.

      • I’m confused.. What does Portland Oregon have to do with Die Antwoord? Who the heck are they?

        • They’re a satirical rap group from SA

    • Die Antwoord has a pretty eclectic image and sound, and they’re kinda infamous for their public disgust of mainstream music (mainstream anything, actually). Some would find their criticisms obnoxious, so maybe that’s where the animosity is coming from. Either that, or it’s just the general stigma that recording artists get when they try to cross over into acting gigs. As far as I know, they’re unproven in this media.

      I have pretty neutral feelings towards Die Antwoord, but I’m always interested in what Blomkamp has to offer. Something to keep an eye on for sure.

    • Die Antwoord is a music duo from SA. They’re not actors but they would portray gangsters well.

  6. “Chappie doen’t have an official release date yet,”

    You might want to fix that SR. Just fyi..

    • Yikes, my bad. It’s been corrected.

      Thanks for the catch!

  7. Id prefer he try something besides sci fi. But im always up for a pretty original idea

  8. I hope this comedy movie is rated R.

  9. “Baby’s On Fire”…….”Chappie” will be a cult hit Die Antwoord are imminently entertaining!

  10. Hold on, my psychic powers are tingling, I am thinking that this movie will have some kind of message about how rich people are bad and keeping the poor people down. I don’t know how I do it, it’s like a magical power. Let’s see when the movie comes out if this will be true, but I know it will be thanks to my psychic ability. :-)

  11. sharlto copleys voice – count me in..
    elysium took some short cuts, it wasn’t perfect- but the action was F*CKING AWESOME. to the point that nothing else mattered. it was kick ass and sharlto copley was one of my favorite antagonists of all time

  12. I hope this will be good, I really do. And I have both admire and have faith in Blomkamp and Copley, a couple of South Africans who are starting to make an impact outside our little country. But this new about Die Antwoord has my heart sinking into my shoes.

    • *news…. I have to learn to re-read my comments…. Also that first have shouldn’t be there…. That is all

  13. From what I get about Bloomkamp’s films is that South Africa sucks balls. Elysiums was cool visually but it was D9 slums again.. Tired of that asthetic honestly. That and two dimensional characterisations pushed to extremes of the spectrum to drive.. Nay, sledgehammer his views of perceived social inequality sub-text in your face.