Sharlto Copley Talks about CHAPPIE and "Poor Man's Mo-Cap"

Sharlto Copley is out doing the rounds to promote Maleficent (he plays the villain of the piece), and I had the chance to sit down with him and chat. Eventually the conversation turned to his next project, Chappie. Here’s what he had to say about his third collaboration with director Neill Blomkamp, the “poor man’s mo-cap” they’re using, and his favorite Hugh Jackman performance.

On what we can expect from the movie:

I think it’s very much more in the world of District 9 in the sense of the originality of it. And it doesn’t have any sort of big social, political kind of message or anything like that. 

On early looks at the CG:

I had an amazing time playing this robot. And the first shots that I’ve seen, you know that I saw, it blew my mind how what they’re doing is they’re just literally doing what we call poor man’s mo-cap, which is tracing over me in the animation, and I didn’t know, like, how much of me would be in the main performance. And I was like well, whatever it is is whatever it is, but I can literally tell in a sequence if there’s, like, a half a second shot where the stunt guy does something in the whole sequence, I can tell his movements. Like the subtlest things that that’s actually the stunt guy because I was that, you know, when I’m watching the robot sequence I can be like, oh, there I can see the movement is… that’s not me, that’s actually the stunt guy that they’re animating over to do that part of that move. It’s just, it’s unbelievable how incredibly impressive the CG is with this robot. 

On his fellow cast:

It’s a fun, it's a very fun story, and Hugh Jackman plays, like, my all-time favorite character that I’ve ever seen Hugh Jackman do. Dev was amazing, you know, Dev Patel he’s my… he’s the guy who sort of creates me, and um… yeah, I can’t really tell you much more, yeah…

On his creative relationship with Blomkamp:

Oh man, it’s just so much easier with Neill. It’s so much easier. It’s like, you know each other, you know your taste. I think that’s the most important as well, is we know… as you go you sort of, you have the same taste on a lot of things, and so if you… that saves an enormous amount of sort of tension or concern as you try to navigate a creative environment if you know like 90% of the choices. You know, in my case as an actor I know, for example, literally 99% of the choices I make, Neill will like. Literally, you know, so it’s like well, just go for it, and then however much of that ends up in the film is whatever we have in terms of the time et cetera. So yeah, it’s a real blessing. It’s something I’m extremely grateful for.

Chappie doesn't hit theaters until March 6, 2015, but you can catch Copley on the big screen in Maleficent, which opens next week on May 30.