Chap­pie Child’s Play

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Red Alert -

Af­ter his blis­ter­ing, multi- Os­car nom­i­nated de­but Dis­trict 9, direc­tor Neill Blomkamp’s 2013 fol­low- up Ely­sium suf­fered from a clas­sic case of dif­fi­cult sec­ond al­bum syn­drome. With his new film Chap­pie, the story of a sen­tient robot who learns about life in the real world, Blomkamp is re­turn­ing to early prin­ci­ples – co- writ­ing with his wife Terri Tatchell ( Ely­sium was scripted by Blomkamp solo), film­ing in Jo­han­nes­burg and tak­ing in­spi­ra­tion from one of his own shorts, “Te­tra Vaal”. Though as Tatchell ex­plains, Chap­pie is more than a sim­ple adap­ta­tion.

“‘ Te­tra Vaal’ isn’t re­ally a short film, it’s an ad­vert, there’s no story in it re­ally,” she tells Red Alert. “I al­most buckle at the fact Neill’s idea is con­sid­ered an adap­ta­tion be­cause I feel Chap­pie is an orig­i­nal film.”

The pair found the ex­pe­ri­ence of writ­ing Dis­trict 9 so all- con­sum­ing that work­ing to­gether again was al­most off the cards for good. “When he pitched Chap­pie to me at that point we said we’d never work to­gether again, but I lit­er­ally fell to my knees and said, ‘ Please let me write this with you. I love this idea.’

“Writ­ing Chap­pie was no prob­lem at all, but I was so pas­sion­ate about Dis­trict 9. It changed and evolved so much that I would wake up in the mid­dle of night, shake him awake and say,

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