Sharlto Copley discusses filming Neill Blomkamp's Chappie
I think it's safe to say that Neill Blomkamp knocked our collective socks off with his debut feature film, DISTRICT 9. The genre of Science-Fiction tends to dwell mostly in Science-Fiction-Action, but Blomkamp reminded us that story and character should take precedence, and that you can still get away with some amazing action set-peices too. While his follow-up, ELYSIUM, didn't quite hit the mark, his next film looks to bring things back down to a more manageable scale. CHAPPIE tells the story of a robot that's kidnapped by two criminals and becomes the adopted son in a strange and dysfunctional family. Sounds interesting thus far, especially since Blomkamp favorite Sharlto Copley (easily the best part of his previous films) will be playing the titular robot, Andy Serkis-style. Copley did have a few things to say about his role, assuring viewers that even though he will be playing a CG creation, it's his personality through and through.
Regarding his character in CHAPPIE:
I think we're finding our stride now on this third film, sort of going back to a smaller style of filmmaking. I'm doing the lead again... I'm playing a light character A child-like robot, which is great. He only gets to about nine years in his emotional development. I got to run around in one of the most dangerous cities in the world being a child. It was awesome.
In regards to the animation style employed for CHAPPIE:
The part that's blowing my mind is that they're animating over my movements, so they're using absolutely everything I do in a sort of poor man's motion-capture style. I was never sure how this would translate, but the amount of me that is in the character is incredible... It's quite an amazing experience because you've created something totally different now. All you've had to focus on as the actor is the behavior. The essence of this being not all concerned about their appearance, which you normally would be concerned about as an actor. I can see in a little sequence if there's half a second that there's a stunt guy. I can tell that it's the stunt guy from the animation. I can tell that it's the stunt guy there, because he moves slightly different than me. Because the performance is movement-based. The audience won't see it, but I see it.
The director and cast have my attention, so I'll be eager to check out some images or a trailer when it drops. I'm not completely sold on Copley playing a CG creation, but it's a wait and see. In my mind, I think actors could probably play themselves as robots (A.I., for instance) and that would work out better. I suppose it all depends on the nature and build of the robot, though.
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