‘Chappie’ filmmaker Neill Blomkamp takes creative vision to the edge

Hero Complex - movies, comics, pop culture - Los Angeles Times

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Neill Blomkamp is a young filmmaker comfortable with risk.

For his third feature, “Chappie,” in which gangsters gain custody of a robot endowed with artificial intelligence, the writer-director set out to craft a violent fairy tale about the very meaning of consciousness. And to anchor his South African-set tale, he cast the elaborately tattooed cult rappers Die Antwoord, a duo long on underground credibility but short on mainstream visibility.

“You’ve got to run equations in your head, not financial equations, but equations of accessibility — at what degree do you think it’s too far or it isn’t too far,” Blomkamp said in Santa Monica late last year. “The idea of Die Antwoord in a movie, you’re on the outer peripheral edge there. To set it in South Africa, also, you’re pushing it. But I felt that the core story was human enough and cool enough that a global audience…

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