By Ray Pride Pride@moviecitynews.com

SONY PICTURES ENTERTAINMENT AND MRC TO PARTNER ON “CHAPPIE,” THE NEXT FILM FROM NEILL BLOMKAMP

 Director of “District 9” and “Elysium” to Begin Production This Fall

CULVER CITY, Calif., August 13, 2013 – Sony Pictures Entertainment and MRC have agreed to co-produce and co-finance Chappie, the next film from writer-director Neill Blomkamp, it was announced today by Doug Belgrad, president of Columbia Pictures and Hannah Minghella, president of Production for the studio, and MRC.  The film will be marketed and distributed worldwide by Sony Pictures.

Blomkamp will direct the film from a screenplay he has written with Terri Tatchell.  He will also produce the film with Simon Kinberg.  Production is expected to begin this fall.

Chappie tells the story of a robot imbued with artificial intelligence who is stolen by two local gangsters who want to use him for their own nefarious purposes.  The film will star Sharlto Copley as the voice of Chappie, with Ninja and Yolandi Visser, voices of the South African Zef counter-culture movement and members of rap-rave duo Die Antwoord, as the two gangsters.

Commenting on the announcement, Belgrad said, “We’re huge fans of Neill Blomkamp – it’s a real thrill to be continuing our relationship with such a visionary and important filmmaker.  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.  We love the script he and Terri have written and we’re looking forward to working again with our friends at MRC.”

“Neill is an incredibly talented and bold artist and we are proud to continue to support his work.  We are looking forward to partnering with the team at Sony on Chappie,” said Modi Wiczyk, co-CEO of MRC.

The announcement comes as Sony Pictures and MRC released Elysium, Blomkamp’s second feature, starring Matt Damon and Jodie Foster, which Blomkamp wrote and directed and also produced with Bill Block and Simon Kinberg.  Elysium opened at #1 in the U.S. this weekend, and was also #1 in Russia, Sweden, Taiwan and Ukraine. Sony Pictures also released Blomkamp’s first feature film, District 9, which took in over $200 million worldwide and earned four Oscar® nominations, including Best Picture.

Hannah Minghella and Rachel O’Connor will oversee Chappie for Sony Pictures; Brye Adler will oversee for Media Rights Capital.

About Media Rights Capital:

MRC is a leading independent film and television studio, specializing in the creation of premium entertainment content in partnership with the industry’s foremost creative talent and distributors.  In film, MRC has financed and produced 16 films distributed by Universal, Sony and Warner Bros., as well as leading international distributors. Ted is currently the #1 highest grossing R-rated original comedy of all time worldwide.  In television, MRC’s projects have been licensed to a number of broadcast and cable networks including ABC, HBO, Netflix, Lifetime, Comedy Central and CBS.  MRC’s latest series, “House of Cards,” was nominated for 9 primetime Emmy® awards, including Outstanding Drama Series. For more information, visit www.mrcstudios.com

 

About Sony Pictures:

Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) is a subsidiary of Sony Entertainment Inc., a subsidiary of Tokyo-based Sony Corporation. SPE’s global operations encompass motion picture production, acquisition and distribution; television production, acquisition and distribution; television networks; digital content creation and distribution; operation of studio facilities; and development of new entertainment products, services and technologies. For additional information, go to http://www.sonypictures.com.

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“On behalf of all nominees, we would like to express our unanimous and emphatic disapproval of the climate of fanaticism and nationalism we see today in the U.S. and in so many other countries, in parts of the population and, most unfortunately of all, among leading politicians.

“The fear generated by dividing us into genders, colors, religions and sexualities as a means to justify violence destroys the things that we depend on – not only as artists but as humans: the diversity of cultures, the chance to be enriched by something seemingly ‘foreign’ and the belief that human encounters can change us for the better. These divisive walls prevent people from experiencing something simple but fundamental: from discovering that we are all not so different.

“So we’ve asked ourselves: What can cinema do? Although we don`t want to overestimate the power of movies, we do believe that no other medium can offer such deep insight into other people’s circumstances and transform feelings of unfamiliarity into curiosity, empathy and compassion – even for those we have been told are our enemies.

“Regardless of who wins the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film on Sunday, we refuse to think in terms of borders. We believe there is no best country, best gender, best religion or best color. We want this award to stand as a symbol of the unity between nations and the freedom of the arts.

“Human rights are not something you have to apply for. They simply exist – for everybody. For this reason, we dedicate this award to all the people, artists, journalists and activists who are working to foster unity and understanding, and who uphold freedom of expression and human dignity – values whose protection is now more important than ever. By dedicating the Oscar to them, we wish to express to them our deep respect and solidarity.”

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Hannes Holm – A Man Called Ove (Sweden )
Asghar Farhadi – The Salesman (Iran)
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Martin Butler, Bentley Dean – Tanna (Australia)

“I don’t really believe in guilty pleasures. I like to subscribe to Susan Sontag’s thought of no highs and lows. I think dismissing popular culture and popular films can be really dangerous because they may seem innocuous, but some are works of art and even when they’re not they can say so much about the culture that they’re reflecting. This also gets into the idea of canon. What is good and isn’t good? Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about that. Specifically, who writes these canons? Mainly, straight white guys — which basically rigs the system. So, if you have a knowledge of female filmmakers, queer filmmakers, African or Asian filmmakers, some people won’t give them the same culture capital. They’ll say, “Oh, that’s nice niche knowledge.” No, it’s not. You’re just seeing it through the prism of something white and male. Like Shonda Rhimes’ ‘Scandal.’ I love that show, but is it a guilty pleasure because it’s a soap on TV? No. I think it has incredible writing, incredible thought and characters, so we should take it seriously. That’s a long-winded answer to say, “Yes, I love Titanic.” I was 10 years old when it came out and my mom took me to see it three times. I was so obsessed with it. A big thanks to my mom who’ll never get those nine hours of her life back.”
~ Toronto Int’l Programmer and Critic Kiva Reardon