Can’t wait a week for District 9 star Sharlto Copley to return to the science fiction genre with the much-touted Elysium? Then, good news — you don’t have to. From today, Copley can be seen on cinema screens in his other sci-fi film of the summer Europa Report, which is also available on iTunes and VOD.
Europa Report stars Copley and Michael Nyqvist (the original The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo trilogy) as members of a team of astronauts sent to explore the titular moon of Jupiter and was made by Ecuadorian director Sebastián Cordero in a single Brooklyn studio. When EW visited the shoot in late 2011, Copley expressed amazement that Cordero was able to film this tale of far-flung adventure in essentially one room. “Elysium was like buildings and buildings and buildings—that’s what you needed,” he said. “This all takes place in one capsule.”
The District 9 star explained he would “love” to one day leave Earth’s orbit for real: “I’m personally very interested in the idea of space exploration.” (One person who won’t be joining Copley in space? His Europa Report costar Nyqvist. “I love earth,” he chuckled. “Space sucks.”)
Copley talks more about Europa Report, below.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Europa Report is a found footage movie with a twist — most of the action is recorded by the spaceship’s fixed cameras. What has that been like for you as an actor?
SHARLTO COPLEY: It’s been cool, man. It’s fascinating. Trying to do something different, which you don’t get a chance to do a lot of. The style is really, really, super-grounded science fiction. We’re not taking a hell of a lot of license. You’ve got something like Cloverfield and stuff where they are taking license with cameras, and they’re getting the nice shots that they want. This is like, that’s what you’d have and that’s what you have to work with. It’s just an interesting way to go about it. Within this pseudo-documentary style, you would normally cheat more. You would normally go, Okay, to get a nice shot of him we need the camera to be here and find an excuse for that. It’s much more realistic to what it would be.
So you haven’t had to alter you acting style?
It certainly doesn’t affect me. My style is just to sort of be “the guy” and not to be concerned about where the cameras are. It definitely affects you in the sense that you just need to be aware, for example, a little bit more about blocking. You’re quite limited once those cameras are fixed. There are definitely technicalities that you have to be aware of. But it’s good to have an awareness of, okay, we’re really restricted to these two angles and if I stand here I’ve just killed the scene for the other actor. [Laughs] You’ve got to be nice to each other. It’s easy to find a camera for yourself but you’ve got to make sure that you leave enough space for the camera to see the other guy. But in terms of the actually acting itself, it doesn’t really make any difference.
The film has a very international cast.
That’s awesome. That was one of the reasons I wanted to do it. Just the idea of working with people from all over the place, which is very much what space exploration is becoming, you know.
What’s been the hardest aspect part of the shoot?
We have very heavy space suits, which was extra stress for the actors. Because you’re playing weightless and relaxed but you’ve got an incredible weight on your back. It’s one of the hardest things I’ve done from an acting point of view. I don’t know what they weigh but it’s intense, painfully heavy. It’s not really [the weight] — like, I would be definitely be up for carrying a heavy pack. But in this case you’re trying to recreate weightlessness and trying to look like you’re not out of breath and relaxed and floating. That was a pretty unique challenge.
You’re clearly a fan of sci-fi.
Yes, but to be honest, I wouldn’t say I was a sci-fi geek. I just respond to the material and interesting characters and interesting stories and I thought this was a very interesting idea. I knew about Europa before I read the script. There really is water on there. There really is a possibility of life and all sorts of things being in the water. So that to me is fascinating.
You can watch the Europa Report trailer below.