Chappie (2015)

Like your kid’s so normal.

Every child comes into the world full of promise, and none more so than Chappie: he is gifted, special, a prodigy. Like any child, Chappie will come under the influence of his surroundings – some good, some bad – and he will rely on his heart and soul to find his way in the world and become his own man. But there’s one thing that makes Chappie different from anyone else: he is a robot. The first robot with the ability to think and feel for himself. His life, his story, will change the way the world looks at robots and humans forever.

Information

Dev as: Deon Wilson
Directed by: Neill Blomkamp
Written by: Neill Blomkamp & Terri Tatchell
Other cast: Sharlto Copley (Chappie), Ninja (Nina), Yo-Landi Vi$$er (Yo-Landi), Jose Pablo Cantillo (Yankie), Sigourney Weaver (Michelle Bradley), & Hugh Jackman (Vincent Moore)
Release Date: March 6, 2015 (UK & USA)
Runtime: 120 min
Boxoffice: $102,069,268 (Worldwide)
Critical Acclaim: 32% Rotten Tomatoes | 41 Meta Critics Score

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Production Notes

Patel says that the character changed between the time he first read the script and shooting the scenes. “When I first read him, I completely related to his heart. I knew he was intensely passionate about artificial intelligence, but I was worried he might be too passive in some scenes. Then, I got to the set and I met Sharlto and NINJA and YO-LANDI. After meeting them, it was a natural reaction to give the character more of a backbone, to be more defensive and aggressive about his work.”

What was it about NINJA and YO-LANDI? “I didn’t really know of them before we started shooting; I’d heard whisperings about this crazy band from South Africa, Die Antwoord,” he recalls. “They’re absolutely fascinating; they play a version of themselves, which is great, because it’s just truth. It’s as raw and organic as possible. They bring themselves to this movie, and create this wild juxtaposition.”

Acting opposite Copley, Patel watched as Copley created a wholly original character. “Sharlto is kind of like Deon – he’s so crazy passionate that you get a bit overwhelmed when you meet him,” he says. “Even though he was going to be a CG character, he was so expressive. His diction, his tone of voice, the character choices he made. Acting opposite him was quite easy. Sharlto is a lot older than me, but I was playing a father figure to him, which was strange. I think Deon genuinely cares about this robot; he wants it to succeed, and that’s why he keeps going into Ninja and Yo-Landi’s den.”

Kinberg says that Patel was the first and, ultimately, only choice to play the role. “The reality of the world is that right now, a bunch of kids in garages are making the technology that will transform our world. So, when we started talking about casting Deon, everyone we even discussed was under the age of 30 – and for Neill, his first choice was Dev. Dev feels intelligent, but he also feels very sweet and human, open-faced, a little wounded. The audience can identify with that – not as a nerdy scientist, but what it’s like to be lonely, to want a friend, to want to be acknowledged. In the end, I talked to Dev’s agent, and I said, ‘This is a call that very few agents get, but he’s the only option for the part so he has to do it.’”

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