Director Neill Blomkamp was an exciting science fiction and visual effects director even before his landmark film District 9 blew the minds of genre fans in 2009. His second movie, Elysium, is set to open in August and (despite its secretive production) is already one of the most anticipated films of 2013.
This week, fans of Blomkamp's work received a double dose of good news: Not only is Elysium all but finished (save some lingering effects touch-up work), it looks as if Blomkamp has already started to grease the rails for his third feature film, Chappie.
Vancouver news outlet The Province reports that Elysium is more or less finished, ready for all but a few fill-in FX shots scheduled for the spring. More interestingly, Neill Blomkamp has apparently begun to prepare for the production of his next feature film, Chappie.
Chappie is set to be a science fiction comedy co-written by Blomkamp and his District 9 collaborator/wife Terri Tatchell. The movie will be principally shot in Blomkamp's native Johannesburg.
Nothing is known about the content of Chappie other than the fact that it's a hybrid comedy. The lack of information isn't very surprising, as both of Blomkamp's previous films have played it close to the vest before release. Indeed, outside of a few promotional images and a plot synopsis, not much of Elysium has been shown to the public.
As ever, speculation about a film so far from production is fruitless, yet enjoyable. One possibility for the film stems from the effects-heavy short films that originally brought Blomkamp to the attention of Peter Jackson. For instance, District 9 is basically a heavily expanded and enhanced version of 2006's Alive in Joburg. Thus, could Chappie be an adaptation of the workplace-comedy Tempbot?
Then again, Chappie could be something entirely new, a la Elysium. "Chappies" are a popular brand of South African bubble gum – suggesting that the film has nothing to do with an overworked and underpaid office robot. "Chappie" is also South African English slang for "young man," which could swing things either way. Of course, though interesting, this information brings us no closer to divining the exact content of this far-off film.
In any event, the announcement of Elysium's completion and Chappie's beginnings will please many a science fiction fan. Now we only need to wait until August to find out whether the clamor for more Blomkamp-directed material is justified – or if District 9 was just a flash in the pan.
[Thanks to commenters Blixempie, The Avenger, and StikiT for their pointers on Afrikaans and general South African slang.]
While Chappie is still an unspecified amount of time away, Elysium will crash into theaters on August 9th, 2013.