Chappie Stars Discuss Robot Fights, Animated Butlers and Mullets

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Director Neill Blomkamp and camera operator Manoel Ferreira on the set of Columbia Pictures' "Chappie." Stephanie Blomkamp

At a press conference for media who had just watched a screening of Neill Blomkamp's movie Chappie, some bizarre questions were traded on what would make an ideal robot, the art of creating the most stereotypical Australian character, and which comic book hero or robot would win in a fight.

Why do themes like artificial intelligence keep resonating with humanity as we advance?

Neill Blomkamp: My point of view on AI, which ties into the nature for humans constantly looking into the reasons for why we exist and why consciousness exists, changed during the making of Chappie. I'm not actually completely sure that humans are going to be capable of giving birth to AI in the way that films fictionalize it. You have weak artificial intelligence which is like a robot or computer system that follows a list of protocols that are yes, no answers that can be as complex as you want. And then you have strong AI, which is basically like a human, something that can think up a thought that has never been thought up.

In the realm of strong AI or human consciousness, I think that it's been something that troubles humans or forces us to look at it over and over for millennia or as long as we've been conscious, because there is no answer. We just don't know why we're here, we don't know how consciousness is created, we don't know the nature of consciousness, whether it's become a spiritual or philosophical discussion or whether it's simply running electrical currents through synapses and it leads to consciousness. I think it isn't that, by the way. It's probably the most core fundamental question humans can ask, and I think that's the reason why we keep asking it.

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Chappie and Yankie work together. Columbia Pictures

Has the film ever made you think, Hey, I'd love to have one of these robots someday? If so, what would you want them to do?

Sharlto Copley: I would just like mine not to kill me. If it realized that it was superior being I would be a bit nervous. I don't think it's a case of, like, you could tell it to do the dishes. It's a different kind of robot.

Sigourney Weaver: I'm sure you could program a robot to do all kinds of useful things. I think they're trying to create like a, butler robot for people, which would be useful. A cheerful robot for company. I think that Dev's robots [as scientist Deon Wilson in the film], his little friends, when he comes home, are so lovely. "Would you like a cup of tea?" "Ooh, mess, mess!" That's the kind of robot I would want, that's my level. Not very destructive and maybe, not that capable.

Hugh Jackman: I have a nickname at home of "El Vague-o." I'm very vague, I forget a lot of stuff. I would love a nonjudgmental reminder, all the time. No sense of, "Ah, are you kidding me? It's in the.… " But [something that says] "Remember, you came upstairs to get that phone. Why are you walking downstairs without it?"

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Chappie is played by Sharlto Copley. Columbia Pictures

Who would win in a fight, Chappie or the robot from Interstellar, TARS?

Neill Blomkamp: Chappie has super unique morphology as well, he could do. I don't know, man, that TARS thing is up to no good. What about Christian Bale's Batman vs. Wolverine? (asks Hugh Jackman.) Without his technology you would just cut him up.

Hugh Jackman: If it was a battle…we could try and stretch the movie out beyond a short, but I'm guessing it would be a short.

Sharlto Copley: What if Chappie just comes in and kicks everybody's ass? That robot from Interstellar, Wolverine, Batman, Superman, gives you all a hiding.

Hugh Jackman: Let's not forget we've got the ultimate ass kicker here to my right (points to Weaver.)

Hugh, did you enjoy playing a character with your own accent?

Hugh Jackman: It was Neill's idea actually, originally, when we first talked about it. I did, it's embarrassing to say, think that those sayings should be off the top of my head but I looked up, I Googled Australian slang, and a lot of the ones that are in there came from Neill. Neill Googled it as well. Like "a frog in the sock." I'd never heard that saying before.

It was so much fun creating that character, playing the villain in that piece. I haven't worn those khaki shorts since high school; that was kind of a throwback. I'm very proud of the mullet, watch out Halloween this year, mullet's back!

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Hugh Jackman stars in "Chappie." Stephanie Blomkamp

Why the mullet?

Hugh Jackman: One of the images that first was sent to me was an Australian character that had a mullet, that Neill sent to me, and it included the shorts and mullet, and I just loved it. Weirdly, I had forgotten, but my wife reminded me when she saw the film that the very first job I did I had a mullet, where she met me, so it was kind of great for me. It was a nice throwback to 20 years ago. It just seemed to fit who he his. He's one of those guys who thinks he's the coolest, he thinks that everyone at the office likes him, who thinks that he's got it all together and doesn't realize that, from the haircut to the shorts to the way he acts, that no one really likes him. But he really thinks he's the man.

Chappie Stars Discuss Robot Fights, Animated Butlers and Mullets | Culture