Sharlto Copley: A villain for all seasons

2013-09-01 14:00

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

It’s a surreal moment: sitting in a New York City cinema watching an imperious Jodie Foster summon a menacing mercenary called Kruger, who comes complete with a South African accent one critic has called “as thick as the fog on Table Mountain”.

In Elysium, Foster plays a defence secretary determined to protect the privileged rich living aboard a space habitat far from the poor on Earth.

She will do so at all costs – even if it means ordering her underlings to “Activate Kruger”. And in strides Sharlto Copley, the Pretoria-born actor who made his name in Elysium director Neill Blomkamp’s debut movie, District 9.

Once his peers were “Prawns”; now they’re Oscar-worthy Hollywood stars.

Surreal for us, maybe, but fast becoming familiar to 39-year-old Copley himself. “Most of the time it’s normal. Then I have these odd little moments of: Oh my God, what has happened to my life?”

His trademark laugh, the same deep chuckle that endeared District 9’s antihero, Wikus van der Merwe, to millions, booms down the phone line.

Four years ago I was interviewing Copley – clad in a Springbok jersey – in a Beverly Hills hotel on the eve of the Oscars. District 9 had earned four nominations. Now he’s calling from Los Angeles, hours after returning from Russia, where he’s due to make his eighth feature film, Hardcore.

District 9 was the little movie that could. It was a massive hit worldwide, has been dubbed into several languages and raked in $210 million (R2.1 billion) at the box office after costing just $30 million to make.

It also spun Copley and his childhood friend, writer/director Blomkamp, straight into fame’s irresistable orbit. While Copley went on to be part of The A-Team remake with Liam Neeson and Bradley Cooper, Blomkamp beavered away on Elysium.

Expectations were high about their reunion, but Copley’s not overly stressed. “The pressure wasn’t really on me,” he says. “I’m playing a relatively smaller ... supporting character.”

There’s one similarity that is unavoidable: Copley is playing a South African again.

“I was worried about making my character South African. Neill and I joked we were about to undo all the good we did for white South Africans with Wikus, where he basically does the right thing at the end of District 9. With Elysium, we’re going back to the South African being the villain again.”

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


WATCH: Man films himself going down water slide upside down as things go very wrong…

What is at first an exciting tummy-turning adventure stunt, quickly turns into a scarily bad idea caught on camera. Take a look:


You won't want to miss...

WATCH: Conor McGregor: Notorious the trailer
Best date night restaurants in South Africa
WATCH: Ryan Reynolds offers fans a free tattoo in new Deadpool 2 teaser
Should you date your co-worker?
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.