Neill Blomkamp‘s sci-fi Chappie has added Sigourney Weaver as filming gets underway in Johannesburg. The Sony/MRC production written by Blomkamp and Terri Tatchell follows the preternaturally gifted robot Chappie, who’s kidnapped by two criminals during birth. Weaver joins an eclectic cast that includes Hugh Jackman, Sharlto Copley voicing the eponymous Chappie, Dev Patel, Jose Pablo Cantillo, Brandon Auret, and Ninja and Yolandi Visser of the South African rap duo Die Antwoord. Sony is distributing the pic, which is being produced by Blomkamp and his Elysium producer Simon Kinberg. Sony’s Hannah Minghella and Rachel O’Connor are overseeing with Brye Adler of MRC. Weaver is repped by UTA.
Hugh Jackman is joining the cast of Chappie, from District 9 and Elysium helmer Neill Blomkamp. He’s attached to play the rival of Dev Patel’s character in the South Africa-set sci-fi pic about an android cop (mo-capped by Sharlto Copley) who’s kidnapped by gangsters (Yo-Landi Visser and Ninja of the rap duo Die Antwoord). Sony and MRC are co-producing the pic.
Fresh off the director’s futuristic actioner Elysium, Sony Pictures has pegged Neill Blomkamp‘s follow-up for March 27, 2015. Chappie is the story of the titular robot with artificial intelligence that is stolen by a pair of gangsters (Ninja and Yolandi Visser of South African rap-rave act Die Antwoord) who want to use the robot for their evil-doing. Sharlto Copley, the villain from Elysium who also starred in Blomkamp’s District 9, will voice Chappie. Blomkamp co-wrote the script with Terri Tatchell and is producing with Simon Kinberg. Sony Pictures and Media Rights Capital are co-producing the film, which begins production in the fall.
Sony has kept Neill Blomkamp in the fold, making a deal with Media Rights Capital to co-produce, co-finance and distribute his next film, called Chappie. Blomkamp will direct the script he wrote with Terri Tatchell. He will also produce the film with Simon Kinberg. Production begins this fall. 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. Sharlto Copley, star of Blomkamp’s District 9 and Elysium, will voice the robot. Ninja and Yolandi Visser, voices of the South African Zef counter-culture movement and members of rap-rave duo Die Antwoord, will play the gangsters.
Said production president Doug Belgrad: “We’re huge fans of Neill Blomkamp – it’s a real thrill to be continuing our relationship with such a visionary and important filmmaker. Neill has proven that he is a true original voice and we expect that Chappie will strike a chord with worldwide audiences in the same way that District 9 and Elysium have. We love the script he and Terri have written and we’re looking forward to working again with our friends at MRC.”
It’s 2154, and a new caste system is in place. Earth is populated by the have-nots, while the privileged live in a veritable utopia aboard a massive spaceship. Earth-bound ne’er-do-well Max Da Costa (Matt Damon) gets some souped-up surgery and invades the ship monitored by Secretary of Defense Delacourt (Jodie Foster). Much battling ensues. Elysium is the second feature from writer-director Neill Blomkamp, who scored an Adapted Screenplay Oscar nom for his 2009 debut, District 9. Sharlto Copley, Alice Braga, Diego Luna, Wagner Moura and Faran Tahir co-star in the sci-fi actioner produced by Blomkamp, Bill Block and Simon Kinberg. Sue Bader-Powell exec produces. Check out the extended second trailer for the pic from Media Rights Capital and TriStar Pictures, which Sony releases August 9:
3RD UPDATE: Sony Pictures Snaps Up Neill Blomkamp’s ‘Elysium’; Matt Damon And Jodie Foster Set To Star
3RD UPDATE: Sony Pictures has now decided to go it alone on Neill Blomkamp’s new scifi pic Elysium for worldwide distribution. So there is no Universal Pictures’ involvement, as the studio declined to take part. MRC put the deal together.
2ND UPDATE: Director Neill Blomkamp issued this statement: “I literally could not be happier. I have a brilliant relationship with Sony. I loved them during District 9, they 100% get this film and they get me. Elysium is in very good hands.”
1ST UPDATE: EXCLUSIVE: Sony Pictures has won the right to distribute District 9 filmmaker Neill Blomkamp’s next project titled Elysium. The producers are currently in negotiation with Universal Pictures to co-finance the film. Meetings with several other studios were cancelled as this scenario took shape. Matt Damon and Jodie Foster are set already to star along with District 9 star Sharlto Copley. Sony clearly values the relationship it built with Blomkamp after his $30 million low-budget first film became a sleeper hit that was nominated for Best Picture and grossed $210 million worldwide. That, too, was a distribution deal.
At the same time, MRC has signed an overall deal with Blomkamp, and has given a green light to a second movie. Titled Chappie, the film will go into production immediately after Blomkamp completes Elysium, which is now scheduled for a late 2012 …
EXCLUSIVE: Though it hasn’t yet been shopped to studios by Media Rights Capital, Neill Blomkamp’s District 9 followup Elysium is looking better and better. He’s just gotten Jodie Foster to commit and join Matt Damon and District 9‘s Sharlto Copley to the sci-fi film he wrote and will direct as his next project. Simon Kinberg is producing. Plot is being kept under wraps. Foster most recently completed directing and starring alongside Mel Gibson in The Beaver, which Summit Entertainment will release April 11. Foster is also starring alongside Kate Winslet, Christoph Waltz and John C. Reilly in God of Carnage, the Roman Polanski-directed adaptation of Yasmina Reza’s Tony-winning play. Foster’s repped by ICM.
EXCLUSIVE: Matt Damon is in early negotiations to star in Neill Blomkamp’s scifi film Elysium for Media Rights Capital. Damon will join District 9‘s Sharlto Copley in a film that is shrouded in secrecy. While a Damon commitment–they’re in the early stages of deal making right now–will make Elysium a more enticing piece of business, MRC won’t take it out to distributors until next year. It will come to the market when it has its major cast.
This will be the second MRC project for Damon, who stars with Emily Blunt in the George Nolfi-directed The Adjustment Bureau. That film, which is based on a Philip K. Dick short story, will be released by Universal in March. Damon, who starred for Clint Eastwood in Hereafter for Warner Bros, next stars in the Coen Brothers drama True Grit. He’s repped by WME.
EXCLUSIVE I’ve just learned that Neill Blomkamp is reteaming with his District 9 star Sharlto Copley on his second sci-fi feature Elysium. Copley played Wikus van de Merwe in District 9 as well as HM Murdock in this summer’s The A-Team reboot. Meanwhile, director Blomkamp and Media Rights Capital now need to choose a distributor. “Neil is taking meetings all over town. There is a lot of interest from every studio,” an insider tells me. I hear Blomkamp is including a graphic novel in his presentation. Elysium is Blomkamp’s long-awaited story set in the far future on another planet and, like District 9, is filled with many sociopolitical ideas wrapped up inside a Hollywood action film. So far no one else has been cast. ”They have been working out budget and are now meeting with actor reps,” the insider tells me. Universal and MRC have a deal, but I hear this sweepstakes to distribute Elysium is wide open. Remember when Universal and Fox would have had to gamble on the then unknown filmmaker to make the videogame Halo into a big budget film but couldn’t get it together even though Blomkamp was to be backstopped by Peter Jackson and his WETA facilities? Morons!) Instead, Blomkamp and Jackson made District 9 which went on to gross $211M at the worldwide box office but the indieprod only had a negative cost of $30M. The alien apartheid film also snagged one of last year’s 10 Best Picture Oscar nominations. Sony Pictures is still pushing for a sequel, which Elysium is not. The secret …
Studios brought stars and film clips to Comic-Con, seeking geek love for all of its superhero and fantasy projects. While they’re paying attention, how about some of the more ambitious films these die-hards have waited years to see? After numerous conversations with agents, writers and studio execs who orbit the geek periphery, I’ve culled the 15 that came up most often. Some of these will happen soon, others might never emerge from development hell, a few might be just too tough to crack in a two-hour time frame. Given the glut of Comic-Con superhero projects, there’s a refreshing lack of capes. Here they are, in no particular order.