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Watch the trailer for 'Chappie,' Neill Blomkamp's robot adventure

Chappie

Leave it to District 9 writer-director Neill Blomkamp to tap the humanity lurking inside a robot.

The futurist filmmaker’s R-rated sci-fi action-adventure Chappie (due in theaters Mar. 6) follows an experimental humanoid who’s abducted by criminals (Yo-Landi Vi$$er and Ninja of the South African rave-rap act Die Antwoord) en route to an Artificial Intelligence day of reckoning. Will Chappie’s capacity to think and feel for himself result in “the next step in evolution”?

The film’s trailer—which makes its exclusive debut at EW—showcases the motion-capture performance of Blomkamp muse Sharlto Copley (Elysium, District 9) as the titular robot. He’s a gentle presence with a bulletproof metal skin programmed to paint pictures, write poetry and “have original ideas” (which apparently include watching Masters of the Universe cartoons, acting “cool and tough” and petting dogs).

Chappie

While a recent Avengers: Age of Ultron promo clip gives explicit acknowledgement to Pinocchio via its melancholy rendition of the movie marionette’s theme song “I’ve Got No Strings,” Chappie goes further. It introduces co-star Dev Patel as a kind of Geppetto: a young scientist whose Artificial Intelligence breakthrough comes as an unintended—and unwanted—surprise for the company that employs him.

Perhaps more shocking, a resplendently mullet-ed Hugh Jackman appears here as a raging anti-A.I. emissary hell-bent on turning the title hero into so much scrap metal. “The problem with Artificial Intelligence is it’s way too unpredictable,” Jackman intones in the clip.

Hugh-Jackman

Image Credit: Stephanie Blomkamp

Although Blomkamp’s creation fits into a formidable continuum of self-perpetuating movie robots that extends from Wall-E to The Terminator to Hal from 2001: A Space Odyssey, Chappie’s journey of self-discovery stands apart from so much dystopian dramatization. Alternately whimsical and violent, it’s a Johannesburg-set coming-of-age story about a kid from a dysfunctional family struggling to make the right choices—a kid who just happens to be a machine.

Chappie.jpg

Casting Net: 'Ong-bak' star Tony Jaa added to 'Fast and Furious 7', more

Ong-bak star and martial arts expert Tony Jaa is in talks to make his English-language and studio film debut in James Wan’s Fast and Furious 7.  He’ll be joining the large returning ensemble that includes Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham, Tyrese, and Paul Walker. Chris Morgan, who penned the first, fifth, and sixth movies, is currently working on the script, but there’s no word on the character Jaa will be portraying. This seventh installment of the franchise is being fast-tracked for a July 11, 2014 release. [THR]

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Neill Blomkamp's 'Chappie' starring Sharlto Copley gets a release date

Sony Pictures and MRC will release Neill Blomkamp’s sci-fi robot pic Chappie on March 27, 2015, the studio announced Tuesday.

Blomkamp, whose second feature directorial effort, Elysium, is currently playing in theaters, is re-teaming with his longtime friend and collaborator Sharlto Copley for the project. Copley, who stars in District 9 and Elysium, will voice the part of Chappie, a robot that gets abducted by a pair of gangsters, played by Die Antwoord’s Ninja and Yolandi Visser. Production is expected to begin this fall.

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'Elysium' clip: Sharlto Copley exterminates the resistance -- VIDEO

In Elysium, director Neill Blomkamp’s political science-fiction follow-up to 2009′s District 9, Matt Damon plays a poor factory drone whose only chance at survival is reaching the utopian satellite that orbits Earth where the world’s richest people now reside in luxury. He only has five days to live after being exposed to radiation during a workplace accident, but Elysium isn’t about to share its medical technology with some Earthling peon. Jodie Foster plays Elysium’s frosty bureaucrat who sics her henchman, played by District 9‘s Sharlto Copley, on the desperate renegades.

In this scene, Copley’s heavily-armed team drops in on Damon and his crew. The mission is clear: extermination, and though the hero survives, one poor revolutionary isn’t fast enough to outrun Elysium’s explosive weapon-technology. It’s a gruesome sight, worth a warning in advance. Watch it below: READ FULL STORY

'Elysium': Jodie Foster character written for a man

In the new movie Elysium (opening Aug. 9), written and directed by Neill Blomkamp (District 9), Jodie Foster plays a sort of Secretary of Defense for Elysium, an elite satellite hovering above Earth, where the wealthy live apart from the wretched human life on a poor and polluted planet. Her character, Secretary Delacourt, is power-hungry and decidedly anti-immigrant. READ FULL STORY

'Elysium' exclusive: Will there be a 'District 9' sequel?

Ever since Neill Blomkamp’s District 9 earned $211 million worldwide and scored an Oscar nomination for Best Picture, fans have been clamoring for a sequel. There have been some promising signs, including a report from Wired magazine that Blomkamp, 33, has written an 18-page treatment for District 10. But, unfortunately, it may be a long, long time before he gets around to it. Blomkamp begins shooting Chappie, based on his 2004 short film Tetra Vaal, in Johannesburg in September, followed by a micro-budget ribald comedy, Mild Oats. Plus, he’s frankly not in the head space for sequels and franchises just yet. “I’m not actively trying to avoid them,” he tells EW exclusively. “The problem is that I have so many ideas for films that I feel like I’m not going to have enough time to do them all before I die. If I don’t get a chance to at least try making some of those first, I’ll feel like I’ve let myself down.”

Still, there’s hope. If Blomkamp does decide to sequel-ize any of his films, District 9 is at the top of his list. “The world of District 9 has so many hilarious, bizarre, interesting, thematically linked things, and there are multiple stories to tell in that world that are all legitimate.” To do it, he’s just going to have to run out of other ideas, first. “The equation becomes: am I not excited enough about other ideas that I’m willing to return to District 9. And at the moment, I have other things that I’m really into.”

elysiumFor more on Blomkamp, and his new movie Elysium, pick up a copy of this week’s Entertainment Weekly, on sale now.

Casting Net: Dev Patel in early talks for Neill Blomkamp film; Plus, David Oyelowo, more

• Dev Patel (Slumdog Millionaire) is in early talks to star in Neill Blomkamp’s Chappie, a sci-fi film with social and political themes based on his short Tertra Vaal about a police force of robots. The British actor is a regular on The Newsroom and will be reprising his role as Neal in the second season of the HBO show, which starts up again on  July 14. [THR]

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New 'Elysium' trailer: Matt Damon to the rescue -- VIDEO

Perhaps this trailer doesn’t reveal much more of the movie than what we already know: Elysium is for the rich, Earth is for the poor. Matt Damon is ripped. He also gets a kick-ass exo-skeleton to help him in his mission to get to Elysium to save his life after radiation exposure.

But damn, if I didn’t get chills watching Damon try to save humanity, Sharlto Copley as a crazy soldier, and Jodie Foster’s pursed lips as she attempts to thwart Damon. And that last line, uttered by William Fichtner — “You have no idea what you’re doing” — suggests there are implications we trailer watchers won’t even estimate until we see the film.

Watch the new trailer below:
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Matt Damon is a smart-ass and a bad-ass in new 'Elysium' trailer -- VIDEO

ELYSIUM-POSTER

Matt Damon sci-fi movie Elysium doesn’t hit theaters until August, but until then you can feast your eyes on newly released footage from the film in the latest trailer.

While previous trailers and reports have given us a good idea of what the future of Elysium looks like, this newest preview provides some more details on what Damon’s character, Max, is after and what his life is like before he decides to break into Elysium, the space station for the rich orbiting above a poverty-stricken Earth.

There’s more footage of Max fighting villain Kruger (Sharlto Copley, teaming up again with his District 9 director, Neill Blomkamp), and there’s also Max serving up smart-ass, mocking responses to a robot. Looks like this guy has a little bit of snark.

Check out the trailer below: READ FULL STORY

Sharlto Copley will star in 'District 9' director Neill Blomkamp's next sci-fi film

Sharlto Copley is teaming up with Neill Blomkamp for a third time.

The South African actor will play the lead role in Blomkamp’s next film, Chappie, Copley’s reps tell EW. Copley first teased the news in brief Facebook post this weekend.

Blomkamp is keeping details about the project largely under wraps, but he has described it as “a science-fiction comedy” in an “unusual setting.” Details on Copley’s character are also still under wraps. READ FULL STORY

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