By Lucas Shaw
NEW YORK (TheWrap.com) - Sony is staying in the Neill Blomkamp business, agreeing to co-finance, co-produce and distribute "Chappie," the next movie from the director of "District 9" and "Elysium." Sony was involved in both of those films, which were distributed by its subsidiary TriStar Pictures.
"Elysium," a science fiction film with a social advocacy bent, opened atop the domestic box office this past weekend. Media Rights Captial and Sony were partners on that one, just as they will be on "Chappie."
Blomkamp will direct the film from a script he co-wrote with Terri Tatchell. It chronicles a robot that gets stolen by two local gangsters who want to employ him for criminal purposes. Sharlto Copley, who starred in both of Blomkamp's prior films, will star in this one as the voice of the eponymous robot.
Ninja and Yolandi Visser, better known as the iconoclastic musical duo Die Antwood, wil play the two gangsters.
"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 told TheWrap. "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."
Blomkamp will produce "Chappie" with Simon Kinberg, who produced "Elysium" and is aiding on the upcoming "Star Wars" films. Hannah Minghella and Rachel O'Connor will oversee the movie for Sony while Brye Adler will oversee for Media Rights Capital.