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Sony Pictures Entertainment and MRC are getting back in the Neill Blomkamp business.
The studio and the financier behind Blomkamp’s Elysium have agreed to co-produce and co-finance Chappie, the next film from the writer-director .
Chappie tells the story of a robot with artificial intelligence that 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. Ninja and Yolandi Visser, best known as members of rap-rave duo Die Antwoord and for spawning the South African Zef counter-culture movement and, will play the two gangsters. Dev Patel is in talks for a role in the film.
The film will be marketed and distributed worldwide by Sony Pictures.
Blomkamp will direct the film from a screenplay he has written with Terri Tatchell. He will also produce the film with Simon Kinberg. Production is expected to begin in the fall.
“We’re huge fans of Neill Blomkamp — it’s a real thrill to be continuing our relationship with such a visionary and important filmmaker,” Columbia Pictures president Doug Belgrad said. “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.”
Added MRC co-CEO Modi Wiczyk: “Neill is an incredibly talented and bold artist and we are proud to continue to support his work. We are looking forward to partnering with the team at Sony on Chappie.“
The move comes on the heels of Sony Pictures and MRC’s debut of Elysium, Blomkamp’s second feature, which stars Matt Damon and Jodie Foster. Elysium opened at No. 1 in the U.S. this past weekend and also held the top spot in Russia, Sweden, Taiwan and Ukraine. Blomkamp wrote, directed and produced Elysium.
Sony Pictures also released Blomkamp’s first feature film, District 9, which took in more than $200 million worldwide and earned four Oscar nominations, including best picture.
Hannah Minghella and Rachel O’Connor will oversee Elysium for Sony Pictures, while Brye Adler will shepherd for MRC.
Blomkamp is repped by WME.
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