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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DEADLINE: How does a visualist feel about people watching your films on a phone or VOD?
REFN: It depends on what kind of movie you make. We had great success with Only God Forgives on multiple platforms in the U.S. Young people will decide how they see it, when they want to see it. Don’t try to fight it. Embrace it. That’s a wonderful opportunity. We’re at the most exciting time since the invention of the wheel, in terms of creativity because distribution and accessibility have changed everything. A camera is still a camera whether it’s digital or not; there’s still sound; an actor is an actor. Ninety-nine percent of what you do is going to be seen on a smart phone – I know this is the greatest thing ever made because it allows people to choose, watching what you do on this format or go into a theater and see it on a screen. That means more people than ever will see what I do, which is personally satisfying in terms of vanity. But you have to be able to adapt, to accept things in different order and length than we’re used to. We are in a very, very exciting time.
~ Nic Refn to Jen Yamato

DEADLINE: You mention Tarantino, who with Christopher Nolan and a few other giants, saved film stock from extinction. To him, showing a digital film in a theater is the equivalent of watching TV in public. Make an argument for why digital is a good film making canvas.
REFN: Costwise, it’s a very effective way for young people to start making movies. You can make your movie on an iPhone. It’s wonderful seeing how my own children use technology to enhance creativity. For me it’s a wonderful canvas. Sure, I love grain in film. I love celluloid. But I also like creativity. I like crayons, I like pencils, I like paint. It’s all relative. Technology is more inclusive. A hundred years ago when film was invented, it was an elitist club. Very few people got to make it, very few people controlled it and very few people owned it. A hundred years later, storytelling through images is everyone’s domain. It’s ultimate capitalism. There are no rules, and no barriers and no Hays Code. Where does this go in another hundred years? I don’t know but I would love to see it.
~ Nic Refn To Jen Yamato