Sharlto Copley Talks His Animated Alter Ego in 'Chappie'

The "District 9" star says that even though his character in the new movie from Neill Blomkamp is animated, "the amount of me in the character is incredible."
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Following roles in both District 9 and Elysium, Sharlto Copley is reteaming with director Neill Blomkamp for Chappie, a science fiction feature that, according to the actor, sees the pairing “finding our stride.”

Talking to, Copley said that Chappie was “sort of going back to a smaller style of filmmaking,” with the actor playing the lead character opposite Hugh Jackman and Sigourney Weaver. “I’m playing a light character, a childlike robot, which is great,” he explained. “I got to run around in one of the most dangerous cities in the world being a child. It was awesome.”

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Don’t expect to see too much of Copley onscreen, however; although he performed the role on set in Johannesburg, South Africa, he’ll be replaced by an animated character in the finished movie via a process Copley jokingly referred to as “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,” he said. “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 at all concerned about their appearance, which you normally would be concerned about as an actor. … 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 is set for release March 2015.