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‘Chappie’ Star Sharlto Copley Talks the Original Sci-Fi World and Motion-Capture Performance

Sharlto Copley Chappie
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Director Neill Blomkamp created two distinctive sci-fi worlds in his freshman effort, ‘District 9,’ and more recently in ‘Elysium.’ For his next film, ‘Chappie,’ he’s reuniting with Sharlto Copley once again for what the actor calls an “extremely original” tale.

While phoning in from South Africa (where ‘Chappie’ is currently filming) to promote his upcoming performance in Spike Lee’s ‘Oldboy,’ a remake of the South Korean cult classic, Copley told ScreenCrush:

I think there’s not much I can say except what I’m excited about with ‘Chappie’ particularly is it’s extremely original; I think it’s an extremely original combination of elements that is perhaps a little bit closer to the vein of ‘District 9’ in terms of, you know, things that are familiar to you, in some ways, in a very unfamiliar setting, situation. So, I’m very excited about it; I’m having a lot of fun playing this role – again, something very, very different for me.

While him and Blomkamp are “hoping that something will be able to be a surprise,” we know that Copley voices the title character, a robot who’s kidnapped by two criminals (played by Ninja and Yolandi Visser of South African rap duo Die Antwoord) at birth and finds himself the prodigal child of a dysfunctional family.

What we’re doing is basically a motion capture, sort of like a poor man’s motion-capture version. So it’s very much that I play the character, that I play the robot, and the animators use everything that I’m doing in the same way that motion capture would work.

Although Blomkamp had previously described the film as a “sci-fi comedy” of sorts, Copley clarified that it has a “lighter, comedic edge” over his previous work, but it is funny in the way that some audiences found ‘District 9′ funny. “There are definitely a lot of funny stuff and very interesting characters in it, and more comedic beats and moments, but it’s still kind of a sci-fi first and foremost.”

‘Chappie’ also features the likes of Sigourney Weaver, Hugh Jackman, Dev Patel, Jose Pablo Cantillo and Brandon Auret. The film is set for release on March 27, 2015.

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