Sharlto Copley Says His Chappie Character is Animated Over His Performance


Although he’s had big screen roles in films like The A-Team, Oldboy and the upcoming Maleficent, Sharlto Copley will always be remembered for his work with director Neill Blomkamp. Following his debut in District 9, Copley starred in Blomkamp’s Elysium and is now set to play the title role in Chappie opposite Hugh Jackman, Dev Patel and Sigourney Weaver. caught up with Copley today at the press junket for Maleficent and learned a few interesting details about the the world of Chappie.

“I think we’re finding our stride now on this third film,” he says, “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.”

Copley also revealed that, while his character was filmed in live-action, it will actually be animated over in post-production.

“The part that’s blowing my mind is that they’re animating over my movements,” he continues, “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.”

Hopefully, it won’t be too long before the world gets a glimpse at the look of Chappie. Copley, though, is already a fan of the technique Blomkamp is employing.

“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.”

Ninja, Yolandi Visser, Jose Pablo Cantillo and Brandon Auret also star in Chappie, which is slated for release March 6, 2015.

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