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Alan Tudyk Brings "I, Robot's" Sonny to Life

Interview from the World Premiere of "I, Robot"

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Will Smith Alan Tudyk I Robot

Will Smith and Alan Tudyk at the World Premiere of "I, Robot"

Photo © Rebecca Murray
Alan Tudyk's one of those actors that when you mention his name to people, there's that vague look of recognition but they can't quite put their finger on where they know him from. But toss out "the guy who wanted to thrash everyone in 'A Knight's Tale'" or "the gay guy who had relationship problems in '28 Days' with Sandra Bullock" and you can see the light bulb starting to glow. And with his role in one of this summer's hottest comedies, "Dodgeball," you can also add "the guy who played the pirate in that Ben Stiller movie" to his list of credits.

Of course, none of those prompts are necessary when you talk to any "Firefly" fan. Joss Whedon's too-soon-canceled TV series has a huge following of ardent fans. So huge is the short-lived series' fanbase that Whedon and the original cast are fast at work on "Serenity," a big screen version of the "Firefly" series.

In "I, Robot," Andy Tudyk dons a special suit (similar to type of work done by Andy Serkis in "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy) to help 'flesh out' the film's lead robot, Sonny. Tudyk not only provided the animation reference for the CGI technicians but also voiced the character. Though currently in the middle of filming "Serenity," Tudyk took time out to talk about his role as Sonny at the "I, Robot" World Premiere.

INTERVIEW WITH ALAN TUDYK ('Sonny'):

When you read a script like this and it says your face isn’t actually going to be seen in the film, what’s your first reaction?
(Laughing) Say what? “Now run over the part where you say my face isn’t actually going to be in the film.” That sort of happened. It was interesting but you know, talking with the director even at the beginning there were certain things that weren’t there but, God, getting to play this character was amazing. Getting to play a robot… I mean, the way that we approached it. I was there a month beforehand deciding how the robot moved, working with this guy, Steven Hill, who’s a theater director up in Vancouver in a studio. It’s like [saying softly], “Open your eyes. This is your first day. What is that smell?” Doing like all this crazy theater stuff that you never get to do in movies. And so it was extraordinary. And the actual character and his arc was brilliant.

Did you ever find yourself, after filming was over, doing any of the physical mannerisms you developed for this role?
You know, I had one day off between the robot and then I went into “Dodgeball.” So, I had to throw all of those out. I just started slouching and I was a pirate.

What do you think of the cult-like status of “Firefly” and the upcoming movie “Serenity?”
It’s fantastic.

Why can’t fans let go?
I think it’s the characters. It kind of boils down to the family of the characters. I believe in all the actors who are in it – they are so amazing. We all get along so well but I mean, the work that everybody does, it’s appealing in that way. We have such a strong connection outside of “Serenity” – everybody – I think it translated on screen. And then you have Joss Whedon writing the stories and those stories just were so fluid.

And will it translate to film?
I think so, yes. I spent all day yesterday, 12 hours yesterday, shooting it. And what we did yesterday was great (laughing).

ADDITIONAL INTERVIEWS FROM THE WORLD PREMIERE OF “I, ROBOT”:
Will Smith & Bruce Greenwood / James Cromwell / Shia LaBeouf & Paul Teutul Jr.
Special Premiere Guests: Jason Isaacs / Nick Cannon / Ron Lester

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