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ROBOTS

Meet The Bots of Robots
What does a robot look like? We've seen countless mechanical beings in a myriad of science fiction films, television shows – even stage productions. Some were threatening, others just plain silly. But for this new, computer generated animated feature film, Chris Wedge was determined to create mechanical beings unlike any seen before. 

Wedge knew it would be a delicate balance between respecting the integrity of his mechanical beings – resisting the temptation to anthropomorphize them – and having the characters emote as much as a human would in a live action film. 

William Joyce designed some of the principal characters, giving them a sense of fun and whimsy. Their sense of playfulness, together with Blue Sky's rendering programs, which added realism, and the actors' and animators' performances, all made significant contributions to make Wedge's vision a reality. 

ROBOTS revolves around Rodney Copperbottom, whom Wedge and the filmmakers envisioned as journeying to the big city to pursue his dreams of being a great inventor. "Rodney is an Everyman – Everybot – with whom we all can identify,” says Chris Wedge. 

In casting Rodney's voice, Wedge was looking for someone who could be appealing and funny, and maybe provide a little something extra. "Ewan McGregor was all that and more,” says Wedge. "He brings an edge to Rodney that brings another dimension to the character. His melodic, expressive voice was perfect for Rodney.” 

"Rodney has a lovely kind of country naiveté and passion that was a lot of fun to play,” says McGregor, who saw a little bit of himself in the character. "Rodney's trip to Robot City reminded me of my own first visit to London,” says the actor, a native of Crieff, Scotland. 

Rodney's Everybot qualities are evident in the character's design origin: Wedge's grandfather's outboard motor. Often used to power small fishing boats, the motor has a utilitarian design that partially drove Wedge's concept of Rodney. "I've never before based a character on a motor,” says Wedge, "but this old motor, with its chips and dings, was inspiring.” 

Among the many things Rodney finds in Robot City is…love…in the metallic form of the dynamic and savvy Cappy. Despite her polished, upgraded exterior, Cappy, like Rodney, hails from a working-class family. (Her dad was a vacuum cleaner, and her mom was the attachments; that's how they met.) Rodney is instantly smitten with the beautiful bot, and Cappy, too, takes a "shine” to Rodney. 

Cappy's design was a challenge, because, as Supervising Animator Michael Thurmeier puts it, "How do you make a robot beautiful?” 

Halle Berry voices Cappy, and the Academy Award-winning actress discovered much to admire in her on-screen incarnation. "Cappy has a lot of integrity,” says Berry. "She stands up to the powerful, evil bots to help the downtrodden bots,” she says. "At the same time, Rodney helps her realize that she's better than the sum of her upgraded parts.” 

"Halle obviously is an amazing actor,” says Wedge. "Her talent just comes up out of her, and you can hear that in her voice.” 

True love notwithstanding, what brings Rodney to Robot City is his dream of being a great inventor, and his search for the iconic genius Bigweld. Wedge and the animators gave Bigweld a larger-than-life personality to match the big, round shapes of William Joyce's original drawings. "Bigweld is an iconic, yet warm figure, so we needed an iconic entertainment figure to play him,” says Wedge. "Mel Brooks has all the qualities we needed for Bigweld – and more.” 

Brooks enjoyed ICE AGE, and he was more than happy to take on the challenges of voicing Bigweld. "The ROBOTS script was heartwarming, positive, and unique, and I knew I was in good hands with Chris Wedge,” says Brooks. "Plus, I knew my six-year-o

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