American Cinematographer - April 2015 - 37

Unit photography by Stephanie Blomkamp,
courtesy of Columbia Pictures.

Chappie is director Neill
Blomkamp's third feature, following
District 9 (AC Sep. '09) and Elysium (AC
Sep. '13), all of which were shot by
fellow Vancouver resident Trent
Opaloch. In the early 2000s the pair
began collaborating on music videos,
commercials and shorts, including three
promoting the Halo videogame. The
cinematographer's credits also include
last year's Captain America: The Winter
Soldier.
Blomkamp and his co-screenwriter - and wife - Terri Tatchell,
initially set the story in the U.S., but
transposing Die Antwoord to that
culture didn't feel natural, so they

Opposite and this page, top: A sentient security android, illicitly reprogrammed by Deon Wilson
(Dev Patel), must battle to save his friends and himself in the action-adventure Chappie.
Bottom: Cinematographer Trent Opaloch lines up a shot.

shifted the locale to the director's
hometown of Johannesburg. "I was
listening to Die Antwoord while working on Elysium," the director says of the
edgy Cape Town musicians. "I liked the
visuals in their videos, and I got the idea
of this band raising a robot that is a
blank slate. It was a comment on nature
versus nurture and the weirdness of
having an artificial-intelligence droid in
such an environment."
As Johannesburg was also the
www.theasc.com

setting for District 9, the filmmakers
were determined not to repeat themselves. "In District 9, we were shooting
more in the Soweto townships, whereas
in Chappie we focus on the urban center
of Johannesburg and the big-business
office parks," says Opaloch in a separate
interview. "We see a different side of the
city and South Africa in this movie." He
and Blomkamp embarked on preproduction for Chappie in August 2013.
The 60-plus days of principal photograApril 2015

37


http://www.theasc.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of American Cinematographer - April 2015

Contents
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - Intro
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - Cover1
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - Cover2
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - 1
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - 2
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - Contents
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - 4
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - 5
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - 6
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - 7
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - 8
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - 9
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American Cinematographer - April 2015 - 37
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - 38
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American Cinematographer - April 2015 - 43
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American Cinematographer - April 2015 - 46
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - 47
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American Cinematographer - April 2015 - 49
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - 50
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American Cinematographer - April 2015 - 64
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - I1
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - I2
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - I3
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - I4
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - I5
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - I6
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - I7
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - I8
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American Cinematographer - April 2015 - Cover3
American Cinematographer - April 2015 - Cover4
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