I love watching a long-term artistic collaboration come into focus. When Neill Blomkamp released “District 9,” one thing that was obvious was that Blomkamp and his star Sharlto Copley had a great chemistry, and that they were both equally important to the way that film worked.
A few weeks ago, when I went to the special event for “Elysium,” both Copley and Blomkamp were present and they were talking about how they adjusted their method of collaboration for this new film. What was evident was the kinship they feel and the connection they have. They have that thing you need in a constant collaborator, that ability to not only know what the other guy is thinking but to throw things at him that he might not expect. There is a trust that is inherent to the way they communicate, and as a result, I hope they continue making films together for as long as they’re both interested.
They’re definitely looking at a third collaboration, and sooner rather than later. Blomkamp had mentioned a project called “Chappie” last year, and now it looks like Sharlto Copley is officially joining the cast. Even crazier, it looks like Ninja and Yo-landie Vi$$er are going to be playing the leads in what Blomkamp described as a comedy about “a ridiculous robot.”
If you’re not familiar with them, they are two of the members of Die Antwoord, a South African band that specializes in a crazy aggressive assult-like style of rap. They are visually striking, to say the least. I have no idea how they are on camera, but I doubt Blomkamp would cast them without having some faith that they can carry a film.
There is a lot about “District 9” that I consider funny, and when Blomkamp says he’s making a comedy, I don’t think that automatically means there won’t be anything else going on in the film. He’s very good at taking some overt big ideas and then building a world and a story around those ideas, and he’s working with Terri Tatchell, who co-wrote “District 9” with him. Evidently, this was a very quick sort of side project that Blomkamp had the idea for while he was neck-deep in “Elysium,” and he wrote it fast to get it out of his system. He must have really enjoyed it, because he’s set to make the film towards the end of this year.
Right now, the casting news about Ninja and Yo-landie is coming from them and has not been officially reported, and Entertainment Weekly is reporting that Copley is onboard for “Chappie” as well.
“Elysium” will be in theaters August 9, 2013.