Witnessing Blomkamp’s rise to prominence has been nothing short of astonishing. Despite having only directed a series of low budget shorts, his first feature film, District 9, was nominated for four Academy Awards. Although the subsequent release of Elysium was received less enthusiastically by the critics, it still managed to smash the box office and seal Blomkamp as a director whose career was worth following.
Much like District 9, Chappie started life as a short film entitled Tetra Vaal. In-keeping with his trademark futuristic settings, the movie tells the story of an artificially intelligent robot who is captured by two unsavoury criminals. Their plan is to adopt the robot and use it for their own nefarious purposes.
Sharlto Copley, a Blomkamp favourite, is set to play the title role. Copley’s turns in both District 9 and Elysium enlightened critics to the remarkable talents of this hitherto unknown screen actor. And it isn’t just Copley’s voice that marks the robot as his role; Blomkamp is using performance-capture (sometimes known as ‘emotion-capture’) technology to ensure that Chappie will have both the voice and the facial expressions of Copley’s performance. 'The amount of me that is in the character is incredible', says Copley, 'they’re using absolutely everything I do'.
Adding Hollywood glitz to Blomkamp’s cast is Hugh Jackman (X-Men, Les Miserables) and Sigourney Weaver (Alien, Avatar), while Dev Patel (Slumdog Millionaire, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel) will be playing Chappie’s arch-rival.
Word is that the tone of Chappie will be more comic than Blomkamp’s previous credits although the director has insisted the humour will be dark and twisted as opposed to frothy. Both District 9 and Elysium attacked serious global issues in the form of allegory, the former being a metaphor for South African apartheid, while the latter was a social critique of global inequality. It is unclear whether Chappie will likewise have a hidden political agenda, fans will have to wait until March to find out.
|Where||Various Locations | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Leicester Square (underground)|
27 Mar 15 – 27 Jun 15, 12:00 AM
|Website||Booking dates on imdb's website|