Sharlto Copley talks CHAPPIE – Motion capture and being a kid again

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Much like Tim Burton’s insistence of using Johnny Depp for every movie that he makes, Sharlto Copley is also a frequent collaborator with Neill Blomkamp. He’s popped up in District 9, and he happens to have done a damn good job terrorising Matt Damon in Elysium. Third time’s the charm apparently, because the two will be back together soon for Chappie, which is going to be a blerry weird movie.

“I think we’re finding our stride now on this third film,” Copley said to ComingSoon at a press junket for Maleficent. “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.

According to Copley, his role as Chappie was done in live-action, with post production now in effect and ready to paint some CGI all over his body. “The part that’s blowing my mind is that they’re animating over my movements,” Copley said,

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 [instead of me],” he says. “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.

Chappie also stars Die Antwoord’s Ninja and Yolande Visser, so there’s no telling how weird this film is going to be. If you don’t really care about their Johnny-5 antics however, the film will also have Hugh Jackman, Dev Patel and Sigourney Weaver rounding out the cast. It’s due for release on March 6 next year.

Last Updated: May 21, 2014

Darryn Bonthuys

Something wrong gentlemen? You come here prepared to read the words of a madman, and instead found a lunatic obsessed with comics, Batman and Raul Julia's M Bison performance in the 1994 Street Fighter movie? Fine! Keep your bio! In fact, now might be a good time to pray to it!

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