|Distinguishing Feature:||His bodacious robot pal, Gort|
|What He Taught Us:||If the Earth dies, you die. If the human race dies, the Earth survives.|
I picture Klaatu as energy contained in a human body, so I was just very still and trying to be slightly sinister. It's like having a secret. You think you're in control, you think you're empowered because I'm sitting here or I'm tied up, but it's an illusion. Klaatu discovers his humanity during the film and that is a journey for him. So I played him as a man who has an alien inside him but is embodied by human flesh, and that changes him.
In the early part of the film he is more alien than human. I guess a large part of the story is about whether this entity, this alien, will change its mind and how it becomes more human and starts to relate to humans. So we decided that in the beginning he should just be very different. That involved having no natural human gestures or behavioral signs but appearing more flat and expressionless. He has a concentrated way of seeing the world. I found that physical aspect very challenging.
I tried to bring objectivity to the character and the way he observes everything around him. There is a kind of compression to Klaatu. He is an alien entity contained in a human body, and when he is looking out of that body, he is just looking out. But over the course of the film, he is gradually affected by the people around him and, he experiences what it means to be human, and to have hope. The way Klaatu sees Jacob and Helen come together during the course of the film has a big effect on him. He sees that it is possible for humans to change, and he starts to feel conflicted about his decision to allow the plan for their annihilation to go forward. He begins to think humans aren't as bad as he thought they were. And maybe they are worth saving.
One thing about Klaatu had bothered me for some times. I was suspicious he had a feeling for Dr. Helen Benson. Why he kept seeking for her in the entire film? Was it because she was cute? Was it love? Klaatu is not as cold as I expected to. I thought an alien should be as emotionless as a machine. I forgot that he is not a machine, GORT is. I forgot Klaatu might have experienced "imprinting". You know, the attachment that being created as soon as one is born into this earth. That is possible since Helen was the first person he saw on earth. In this case, Klaatu definitely behaved like a newborn. I had never thought about that. Interesting!