You could say that Sharlto Copley is Neill Blomkamp's Robert De Niro to his Scorsese. Or Kurt Russell to Blomkamp's John Carpenter. What I'm basically saying is they collaborate a lot. So far South African Sharlto Copley has appeared in all three of Blomkamp’s feature films.
He was the main protagonist and star of District 9, played the villain in Elysium, and the character Chappie in the movie of the same name. And now Sharlto Copley is playing none other than the supreme being that is God in Blomkamp's four-minute short film God: Serengeti from his experimental film-making company Oats Studios.
Blomkamp has released four shorts as part of Volume 1 including Zygote, Rakka and Firebase. Mostly they've been pretty terrifying featuring hideous monsters and brutal aliens.
But God: Serengeti is a departure in that it's both about a fifth of the length of those and it's also got a lot more humor in it, even if it is of the dark variety. But that seems to total suit Sharlto Copley whose character in District 9—Wikus Van De Merwe—was a tragic-comic figure.
Sharlto Copley Gets To Play God In 'Serengeti'
In God: Serengeti Sharlto Copley's bearded God is reading some kind of manual of the universe ("Bit technical...but there’s a good recipe for Black Holes.") while sat in what looks like his mansion. His butler, Geoffrey, is on hand and God speaks with a posh British accent.
On a table in front of him is a miniature scene with elephants and a group of early humans running around and evolving on what is presumably the Serengeti. As he's reading his manual, on the table in front of him early man is developing, but at a far faster rate than God would like. For instance they develop fire about 200,000 years sooner than they should have.
"Bloody hell, that's fire Geoffrey! I didn't say he could do that. I give the fire!" God exclaims. Before ordering his butler to snuff out the fire and send them back into their cave by having the elephants charge them. Not only does he get irritable at man inventing fire too early, he also gets angry when they start doing a rain dance too.
This Is What Happens When God Gets Bored
Then things take a much darker turn when Sharlto Copley's Almighty suddenly tells Geoffrey to release the plague. It's not a great look for the big man upstairs it must be said. He comes across like a spoilt aristocrat and total a-hole. It's almost as if God has suddenly got bored and wants a bit of fun to distract him. The horror.
Neill Blomkamp's films so far have been a mix of short and longer 20 minutes pieces, the latter tests for possible feature films. Along with being able to view the films for free on YouTube each film is also released on Steam where you can buy it along with various assets like the 3D computer models they used for the monsters for instance.
"The main goal eventually, if it's possible, is to raise enough money from the audience to make films independently," Blomkamp told Nerdist. "There are four films in Volume 1, and then there are other weird, smaller pieces that go between them. So if the audience online has seen four films by the time Volume 1 is done, and there are enough people who liked what they saw, one option is we make Volume 2 and charge for it so we can make Volume 3."