In the near future, crime is patrolled by an oppressive mechanized police force.
But now, the people are fighting back. When one police droid, Chappie, is stolen and given new programming, he becomes the first robot with the ability to think and feel for himself. As powerful, destructive forces start to see Chappie as a danger to mankind and order, they will stop at nothing to maintain the status quo and ensure that Chappie is the last of his kind.
Cast Hugh Jackman, Sigourney Weaver, Sharlto Copley, Dev Patel, Jose Pablo Cantillo, Brandon Auret, Director/Producer/Screenwriter Neill Blomkamp, Producer Simon Kinberg, Screewriter Terri Tatchel and Co-Producer Victoria Burkhart all attended the Chappie World Premiere at the AMC Loews Lincoln Square. Read what the cast had to say about the film out today:
What attracted you to the project?
Sigourney Weaver: Well I think we have to all be careful about water. I wish we had more guidelines for instance in this city about water. I’m still shocked by how ubiquitous all these plastic bottles are and I think that we need to figure that out, it’s so terrible for the environment but I think clean water is going to be one of our biggest issues all over the world.
Sigourney Weaver: Neill has some ideas. I don’t think she disappears. She’s basically a coward.
Speak about Neill’s directing style.
Sigourney Weaver: He’s very confident. He’s very relaxed. It was really fun to work with him. He likes us to try different things and improvise. So it was one of the easiest most enjoyable shoots I’ve ever been on.
How did you feel when you found out the role was written for you?
Dev Patel: It was pretty easy actually cause unlike most sci-fi’s where you’re acting opposite a green screen or a tennis ball, this was as real as it got. It was so immersive. Sharlto’s in front of me and he’s an incredible actor we just kind of approached it like any other normal scene.
Neill Blomkamp: The theme for me is unquestionably what it’s like to be alive and why we are created so we can die, and what the mind is and what consciousness is … they are questions really more than themes.
Terri Tatchell: He focused on those themes, so I thought more about nature versus nurture – How Chappie as a child was being affected by the different parents and then also the humanity, the fact that he’s not human, but tends to make the humane choices and the evolution of that in the film.
Can you speak about the technology you used to bring Chappie to life?
Neill Blomkamp: The technique that we used is sort of similar to motion capture or performance capture except it was un-automated so we didn’t put up a host of cameras that recorded his three-dimensional space, we filmed him normally then we gave the footage to many animators to manually extract his performance from. So it is performance capture, but it isn’t autonomous.
Jose: They play themselves in the film and so they’re big characters in real life and they’re big characters on screen and I was very pleased with the way they came across on screen. They are themselves, that’s what it’s like to work with them because they are playing themselves and they really want to be authentic all the time, your process as an actor needs to shift a little bit, not so much that you compromise your own contribution to the film, but you just have to embrace the fact that this is the way that they approach the work, this is the way they approach life and I embraced it and let the difficulty of it be the drama of the scene itself and those emotions would live in each scene and I thought that it actually has a really great positive payoff on the overall film.
Speak about working with Sharlto Copley.
Jose: He’s just so spontaneous and so funny and he wants to investigate everything that I had a feeling he would come through and so if we just treated Chappie as if he was Sharlto and lobbying it up there to the film gods and say “hey maybe this will pay off.” I loved that we didn’t know for sure whether or not it would or would not work so did we have that challenge, did it play on us? Of course and that was what was so special about making the movie.
Tell us about your character.
Jose: I play this character names Yankee aka Amerika, I was given the nickname by Die Antwoord … and I play one of three band of rebels that takes Chappie and shows him how to fight back against a very oppressive police force.
Brandon: I play the character of Hippo who is kind of a bad ass drug dealing, weapon dealing … but he’s a bad guy and he’s a catalyst for a lot of things that go wrong in the movie, but he’s fun to be around.
Speak about working with Neill Blomkamp.
Brandon: He’s amazing … one of the calmest directors I have ever worked with in my entire life, but he’s a visionary … he knows exactly what’s happening, how it’s happening.