Elijah Wood and Jennifer Connelly offered up some fresh insight into their characters in the upcoming animated feature 9 a fantastic tale of a wasted Earth after the extinction of humans and the unique creations that remain in a struggle to survive. The film, produced by Tim Burton and Timur Bekmambetov, is based on a 2005 animated short by director Shane Acker, which was nominated for an Academy Award. Wood plays the title character, a curious outsider to the clan that soon becomes its most important member.
“He sort of becomes a leader,” said Wood speaking to the press at the San Diego Comic-Con on Friday. “He’s not initially a leader. He kind of wakes up late in the process of these creatures’ existence and comes to find that there is already a hierarchy led by ’1.’ He sort of comes to this group asking questions that they have ceased to ask over the period of time that they’ve existed. So he starts to… assumes a leadership role toward the end.”
The cast also includes John C. Reilly, Martin Landau, Christopher Plumber, Crispin Glover and Jennifer Connelly as the unwavering fighter of the clan, ’7.’
“She’s a brave, fiercely independent warrior type who refuses to hide in the sanctuary that ’1′ has the rest of the creatures holed up,” Connelly explained. “She’s engaged in the struggle for survival.”
The nine sack-like beings were created in the waning days of humanity by a character referred to as The Scientist. His goal was to have life continue on Earth even after he and the rest of the human population were gone. Connelly added a bit of background on the film’s storyline.
“The film takes place in the aftermath of great destruction that was the devastation caused by these machines that were created in the name of progress that ultimately caused the devastation of the human race, and self-destructed and left the world this sort of wasteland,” she said. “The human spirit has been captured in these creatures and there are some remaining mechanized beasts. There is this talisman that is sort of interest. Half of it the human spirits have and half of it is with the machines and it needs to be brought together for there to be peace and restoration.”
Wood added that the overall themes of the movie were familiar ones.
“It’s technology turning on man,” he said. “It’s the lust for power. I think those are things we can see in our world today, but certainly not on this scale.”
Both Wood and Connelly said the original short was a great springboard into the feature film and that having that allowed them to more easily identify with the post-apocalyptic world that was created and the creatures that inhabited it.
“I’ve watched it many, many times,” said Connelly. “Both of my kids became obsessed with it. It’s beautiful. I thought it was stunning and so creative such a beautiful, frightening world he created.”
9 opens in theaters on 9/9/09.