March 06, 2015 | 5:00 a.m.
Neill Blomkamp is a young filmmaker comfortable with risk. For his third feature, “Chappie,” in which gangsters gain custody of a robot endowed with artificial intelligence, the writer-director set out to craft a violent fairy tale about the very meaning of consciousness. And to anchor his South African-set tale, he cast the elaborately tattooed cult rappers Die Antwoord, a duo long on underground credibility but short on mainstream visibility. “You’ve got to run equations in your head, not financial equations, but equations of accessibility — at what degree do you think it’s too far or it isn’t too far,” Blomkamp said in Santa Monica late last year. “The idea of Die Antwoord in a movie, you’re on the outer peripheral edge there. To set it in South Africa, also, you’re pushing it. But I felt that the core story was […]
Jan. 09, 2015 | 5:00 a.m.
South African actor Sharlto Copley has starred in each of Neill Blomkamp’s features, first as a xenophobic bureaucrat in the director’s debut, the sci-fi parable “District 9,” nominated for an Academy Award for best picture, then as a vicious mercenary in another dystopian tale, 2013’s “Elysium.” For Blomkamp’s latest, the futuristic fable “Chappie,” due March 6, he again takes a lead role, but this time the actor’s face won’t appear in the final film. Copley’s movements, however, give physical life to the title character, a childlike robot bestowed with an unusual kind of artificial intelligence who must find his way in a hostile world. FULL COVERAGE: Winter Sneaks 2015 “The [primary] reason it feels real is Sharlto was there,” Blomkamp said last month. “The actor was physically interacting with other actors. There’s no tennis ball situation where they’re acting off […]
Nov. 04, 2014 | 12:56 p.m.
The first trailer is out for “Chappie,” the next science-fiction undertaking by South African filmmaker Neill Blomkamp. “Chappie,” due in theaters March 6, 2015, is Blomkamp’s third feature film, following the Oscar-nominated “District 9” in 2009 and last year’s “Elysium.” The film is a sort of coming-of-age story about an artificially intelligent robot who is kidnapped by two gangsters. Played by Blomkamp’s longtime collaborator Sharlto Copley through performance-capture technology, Chappie is a childlike character who is still learning about the world and his potential place in it. “I brought you into this world. A machine that can think and feel,” says Chappie’s creator Deon, a scientist played by Dev Patel (“Slumdog Millionaire”), in the trailer. “Anything you want to do in your life, you can do. Write poetry, have original ideas.” Chappie paints, explores and learns from television, watching He-Man in “Masters […]
Aug. 07, 2013 | 12:21 p.m.
Tim Burton has Johnny Depp. Martin Scorsese has Leonardo DiCaprio. And Neill Blomkamp has Sharlto Copley. The “District 9” writer-director and his leading man might not be as well known as others in Hollywood, but Blomkamp and Copley are emerging as one of science fiction’s most loyal and potent actor-director partnerships. Copley played a mild-mannered bureaucrat charged with relocating some aliens in Blomkamp’s Oscar-nominated 2009 sleeper hit, and now the “District 9” duo is working together again on two more movies, a sci-fi comedy called “Chappie” and Friday’s future-set drama “Elysium.” “There’s an intangible creative chemistry when I work with Neill,” Copley said of the friend he met when he was 22 and Blomkamp was 16. “We have common tastes and styles of what we like in film and characters.” In Blomkamp’s latest, Earth is crime-ridden and overpopulated, and the […]
Aug. 03, 2013 | 6:00 a.m.
“Elysium,” Neill’s Bloomkamp’s new politically minded sci-fi thriller, opens Friday, marking the second film from the talented South African writer-director who won an ardent following with his groundbreaking, Oscar-nominated debut, “District 9.” The story, set in the year 2154, sees Earth ravaged by drought and poverty; the wealthy have abandoned the planet for a blissful life on a beautiful space station called Elysium, a paradise where any illness can be cured and interlopers are kept out at extreme cost. After a workplace accident leaves him facing death, Matt Damon’s troubled, tattooed Max Da Costa finds himself in desperate need to reach Elysium and willing to embark on a wild scheme in order to save his own life. But his plans bring him into direct conflict with Jodie Foster’s officious Secretary Delacourt and a black-ops thug known as Kruger, played by […]