Evo­lu­tion The­ory

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Un­less you grew up in or around South Africa, there’s a pretty good chance you won’t know the story be­hind the film’s un­usual ti­tle. “Chap­pie is a type of child­hood South African bub­blegum that Neill grew up with,” says Terri Tatchell. “Yo- Landi, when we first told her about the film, got the im­age of Chap­pie – the lit­tle chip­munk that they have on the chew­ing gum – tat­tooed onto her­self. So there was a lit­tle bit of pres­sure to ac­tu­ally get the film green­lit! I don’t know whether that gum still ex­ists or not.”


Bring­ing the bot to life

In com­par­i­son to Dis­trict 9’ s year- long scriptwrit­ing stage, pen­ning Chap­pie was a dod­dle. “The first draft only took three weeks,” Tatchell says. “That was Chap­pie writ­ten for South Africa. Then there was a pe­riod where we thought it was go­ing to have to shoot in LA. So we rewrote it for LA, and that took about two months, I think. And then we com­bined the two scripts to go back to Jo­han­nes­burg again. If we were or­gan­ised enough and still had that first script to look at, it would prob­a­bly be very, very close to what was ul­ti­mately shot.”


Fans might be sur­prised to see that Hugh Jackman’s char­ac­ter Vin­cent sports a du­bi­ous mul­let in Chap­pie, a do Tatchell says was in the script from the start. “It was def­i­nitely in the script, but I can’t take credit for it, Neill de­signed that char­ac­ter. I don’t know if I would dare do that to any­body! It makes me smile just think­ing about it. It’s pretty funny. He was such a good sport about it. He In­sta­grammed a pic­ture of him­self the day he got it. He’s such an amazingly good sport, he’s ready to throw him­self into any­thing.”


Be­ing a film­mak­ing fam­ily means Blomkamp and Tatchell’s home is filled with me­mora­bilia. “Th­ese things just come home. Our house is filled. We have a droid from Ely­sium that greets peo­ple at our front door. He ac­tu­ally had a cow­boy hat on last time I looked. We have a life- sized model of Lit­tle CJ, the lit­tle alien from Dis­trict 9, he’s on our man­tel. At the head of our dining room ta­ble we also have the pro­ba­tion of­fi­cer that in­ter­viewed Matt Da­mon in Ely­sium. So I’d be a fool to think a few Chap­pies weren’t go­ing to show up.”


Hugh Jackman sports a very non- Wolver­ine hairdo for the film.

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