Sharlto Copley

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Sharlto Copley
Copley at the July 2009 San Diego Comic-Con International
Born(1973-11-27) 27 November 1973 (age 41)
Pretoria, South Africa
OccupationActor, producer, director
Years active2006–present
Partner(s)Tanit Phoenix (2012-present)
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Sharlto Copley
Copley at the July 2009 San Diego Comic-Con International
Born(1973-11-27) 27 November 1973 (age 41)
Pretoria, South Africa
OccupationActor, producer, director
Years active2006–present
Partner(s)Tanit Phoenix (2012-present)

Sharlto Copley (born 27 November 1973) is a South African producer, actor, and director who has produced and co-directed short films which have appeared at the Cannes Film Festival, as well as commercials and music videos. He is perhaps best known for playing the roles of Wikus van der Merwe in the Oscar-nominated science fiction film District 9,[1] Howling Mad Murdock in the 2010 adaptation of The A-Team, Agent C.M.Kruger in the science fiction film Elysium and King Stefan in the dark fantasy adventure film Maleficent.

Early life[edit]

Sharlto Copley was born in Pretoria and educated at St. Andrew's Preparatory School in Grahamstown and Redhill School in Morningside, Johannesburg.[2] His father is Dr. Bruce Copley, a former university professor,[2] currently a holistic educator/entertainer and multi-instrumentalist.[3] His mother, Linda Stocks-Copley, is a Christian Science Healer living in Cape Town.[citation needed] His brother, Donovan,[2] is the lead-singer of the successful Cape Town band Hotwater,[4][5] whose music has been featured on BBC World and whose song 'Bushfire' was used in advertisements by the Italian shoe manufacturer Primigi.[6] His sister, Marisa, is a dancer and fashion & costume designer.


A year after leaving high school, Copley met director Neill Blomkamp. Copley was 22 and Blomkamp was 16, and Copley provided Blomkamp with use of computers at his production company to assist the company with pitches for various projects and allow Blomkamp to further pursue his passion and talent for 3D animation and design.[7]

Copley starred in Peter Jackson's and Neill Blomkamp's District 9, where he played the lead role of Wikus van der Merwe,[8] an Afrikaner bureaucrat assigned to relocate a race of extraterrestrial creatures unexpectedly stranded on Earth. In the film, the aliens, popularly and derogatorily referred to as "prawns", must be moved from District 9, a military-guarded slum in Johannesburg, South Africa, to an internment camp outside the city. Copley improvised all of his dialogue in the film.[9]

In 2009 Copley won the Favorite Hero award at the IGN Summer Movie awards[10] and Best Performance of 2009[11] for his role in District 9.

In 2010 Copley produced, wrote and directed an insert for the South African Music Awards called "Wikus and Charlize", featuring fellow South African star Charlize Theron. The clip features Copley as Wikus attempting to track down Charlize in Hollywood to help him present the Award for Best Afrikaans Pop album.[12]

Copley then starred alongside Liam Neeson, Bradley Cooper and Quinton "Rampage" Jackson in the feature film adaptation of The A-Team,[13] which was produced by Ridley Scott and Tony Scott. Copley used a Southern American dialect for his portrayal of A-Team member H. M. Murdock, and employed other dialects, including Scottish, English, Australian, and his native South African, as part of the character's rapid-fire style. Dwight Schultz, who played Murdock in the original TV series, praised Copley's performance and said Copley was the only actor he knew of who was "true to his character."[14]

Copley guest co-hosted WWE Raw on 7 June 2010, along with his A-Team co-stars Bradley Cooper and Quinton Jackson.

In 2013, Copley played fictional astronaut James Corrigan in Europa Report, the story of a crew of international astronauts sent on a private mission to Jupiter's fourth moon. Also in 2013, Copley portrayed Agent Kruger, the secondary antagonist in Elysium,[15] a science fiction film written and directed by Neill Blomkamp, starring Matt Damon and Jodie Foster.[16]

Copley appeared as villain Adrian Pryce in Spike Lee's remake of 2003 South Korean film Oldboy.[17] He also starred as the male lead opposite Angelina Jolie in the 2014 Disney film Maleficent.

In 2013 it was announced Copley would play the lead role in the film Chappie, also directed by Neill Blomkamp. Chappie also stars Dev Patel, Hugh Jackman and Sigourney Weaver. Chappie is Copley's first motion capture performance. Copley was announced to star as Christian Walker in the upcoming TV series Powers.[18]

Personal life[edit]

Copley has been in a relationship with actress and fashion model Tanit Phoenix since January 2012.[19][20][21][22][23][24] Sharlto resides alternately in Cape Town and Los Angeles.[25]



2006Alive in JoburgSniperAlso producer
2009District 9Wikus van der MerweNominated – Chicago Film Critics Association Awards for Most Promising Performer
Nominated – Online Film Critics Society Award for Best Actor
Nominated – Teen Choice Award for Choice Movie Actor - Sci-Fi
2010The A-TeamCapt. H. M. "Howling Mad" Murdock
Europa ReportJames Corrigan
OldboyAdrian Pryce
Open GraveJohn (AKA Jonah Cooke)
2014MaleficentKing Stefan, Aurora's father
The HollarsRonPost-production


2010WWE RawHimself – Guest host3-Hour Viewer's Choice Raw
Promoting The A-Team
2014PowersChristian WalkerDevelopment


  1. ^ 2010 "MTV Movie Awards Nominees Announced; New Category for Horror". 
  2. ^ a b c Marks, Lisa (26 July 2010). "Interview with A-Team star Sharlto Copley". The Scotsman. Retrieved 21 February 2011. 
  3. ^ "Bruce Copley – Holistic Learning Adds Value" SKF Sweden Evolution Business and Technology Magazine article, 7 June 2006
  4. ^ Hotwater. (16 October 2008). Retrieved on 22 September 2013.
  5. ^ Hotwater Official Site. Retrieved on 22 September 2013.
  6. ^ Hotwater with Donovan Copley.
  7. ^ Sharlto and Neill sitdown interview Part 1 on YouTube
  8. ^ Full cast and crew for District 9 (2009).
  9. ^ "District 9 director Neill Blomkamp". A.V. Club. Retrieved 16 August 2009. 
  10. ^ IGN Summer Movie Awards Favorite Hero. Retrieved on 22 September 2013.
  11. ^ IGN Movies Best Performance of 2009. Retrieved on 22 September 2013.
  12. ^ "Wikus From District 9 Hunting Down a Different Beast – Charlize Theron!". DreadCentral. 
  13. ^ The A-Team starring Liam Neeson, Bradley Cooper, Jessica Biel, Patrick Wilson, Sharlto Copley & Quinton Rampage Jackson. (3 December 2010)
  14. ^ Schultz, Dwight (22 June 2010). "Dwight's opinion about the A-team movie". Retrieved 10 August 2010. 
  15. ^ Child, Ben (13 December 2010). "Matt Damon in talks to star in Neill Blomkamp's Elysium". The Guardian (London). 
  16. ^ "'District 9' Director Neill Blomkamp Drops A Few Hints About His Next Project". 
  17. ^ Wales, George. (2 May 2012) Sharlto Copley will play Oldboy villain. Retrieved on 22 September 2013.
  18. ^ "Sharlto Copley Set As Lead Christian Walker In ‘Powers’, Michelle Forbes Is Retro Girl". Deadline. 18 August 2014. Retrieved 18 August 2014. 
  19. ^ Tanit, A-Team star set up home in US – Independent on Saturday |News. (1 July 2013). Retrieved on 22 September 2013.
  20. ^ District 9 actor Sharlto Copley breaks up with girlfriend of dating Tanit Phoenix. (30 January 2012). Retrieved on 22 September 2013.
  21. ^ Lambley, Garrin (27 July 2012) Celebs pop in at SA reception. Sport24. Retrieved on 22 September 2013.
  22. ^ Matt Damon meets hundreds of fans at Elysium premiere in Sydney, Australia | Mail Online. (13 August 2013). Retrieved on 22 September 2013.
  23. ^ Harrison, Frazer (21 June 2013) Tanit Phoenix Pictures – Premiere Of Walt Disney Pictures' "The Lone Ranger" – Arrivals. Zimbio. Retrieved on 22 September 2013.
  24. ^ Lewis, Maria (13 August 2013) Elysium star Sharlto Copley says Angelina Jolie a "perfect" Maleficent. The Daily Telegraph via
  25. ^ Edmunds, Gayle (20 August 2010). "A-Team's Sharlto Copley soars". City Press. Retrieved 21 February 2011. 

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