Slumdog Chappienaire? Neill Blomkamp wants Dev Patel for 'Chappie'

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South African filmmaker Neill Blomkamp has built his blossoming sci-fi empire on the themes of class warfare and government oppression of the lower class, with breakout hit District 9 and upcoming Elysium both using those ideas as the central platform upon which they are built.

His third feature-length film, Chappie, will be bringing us more of the same, albeit with a slightly more buddy comedy twist, supposedly. Chappie is based on Blomkamp's 2004 short film "Tetra Vaal", which is -surprise!- based in the slums of South Africa.

Now, THR's Heat Vision blog is reporting that the director is eyeballing an actor who is no stranger to acting in a slum. Dev Patel is Blomkamp's front runner to play the lead.

"Tetra Vaal" was created as a fake advertisement for a robotic police force that patrolled the slums of South Africa, keeping order so the human police force didn't have to worry about getting their hands dirty. Though less than a minute and a half in length, the short layers a lot of implications into itself, including violence, oppression, and the government spying on its people to keep order.

Of course, because this is a Blomkamp film, Sharlto Copley will be starring in it as well, as one of the police robots, so potentially a similar role in some ways to what he will be playing in Elysium. As long as the Blomkamp-Copley collaboration train doesn't end up completely going off the rails as some long-time teams tend to do (looking straight at you, Depp and Burton), I'm totally fine with Copley being in the third film.

Patel was most recently seen in The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and, on the small screen, in HBO's The Newsroom. Copley, of course, will next be seen in Elysium, which hits theaters on August 9th.

In the meantime, check out "Tetra Vaal" below:

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