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Sharlto Copley

Sharlto Copley

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Also Known As: Died:
Born: November 27, 1973 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: South Africa Profession: producer, director, actor

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

In what was truly a star-making turn, South African writer, producer and director Sharlto Copley became an international sensation after his first real performance in front of the cameras, proudly adding "actor" to his multi-hyphenate status. As the central focus of the Oscar-nominated sci-fi film "District 9" (2009), Copley played Wikus Van De Merwe with such a settled savvy, few were aware that this was his first movie and that most of his dialogue was improvised. Prior to "District 9," Copley had amassed film experience with the formation of his own Cape Town-based production company and had produced commercials and short films, but had maintained little interest in acting. That all changed after the success of the sci-fi hit. He was promptly recruited to play Captain "Howling Mad" Murdock in the television-series-turned-big-screen adaptation "The A-Team" (2010), starring with Liam Neeson and Bradley Cooper and proving himself to be one of Hollywood's most multifaceted talents to emerge in years.Sharlto Copley was born Nov. 27, 1973 in South Africa. Of his Irish surname, Copley explained that a character of the same name from a radio show had inspired his mother when it came time to name her...

In what was truly a star-making turn, South African writer, producer and director Sharlto Copley became an international sensation after his first real performance in front of the cameras, proudly adding "actor" to his multi-hyphenate status. As the central focus of the Oscar-nominated sci-fi film "District 9" (2009), Copley played Wikus Van De Merwe with such a settled savvy, few were aware that this was his first movie and that most of his dialogue was improvised. Prior to "District 9," Copley had amassed film experience with the formation of his own Cape Town-based production company and had produced commercials and short films, but had maintained little interest in acting. That all changed after the success of the sci-fi hit. He was promptly recruited to play Captain "Howling Mad" Murdock in the television-series-turned-big-screen adaptation "The A-Team" (2010), starring with Liam Neeson and Bradley Cooper and proving himself to be one of Hollywood's most multifaceted talents to emerge in years.

Sharlto Copley was born Nov. 27, 1973 in South Africa. Of his Irish surname, Copley explained that a character of the same name from a radio show had inspired his mother when it came time to name her newborn. Copley - who grew up in Sandton - was the eldest of three children and considered himself a devoted fan of American television while growing up an ocean away. While attending high school in Johannesburg, he developed an interest in amateur filmmaking, and ended up producing, directing and acting in many school plays. After graduation, Copley co-founded a media production company, and employed a fellow teenager six years his junior, Neill Blomkamp, as a computer graphics designer. Copley's company was part of the first privately owned television station in South Africa, for which he would go on to develop programming, in addition to providing the short films and commercials that he wrote, produced and directed. While all this production surrounded them, it was in 2005 when Copley and Blomkamp endeavored to make a dream project that would later transform both of their lives.

Copley produced pal Blomkamp's sci-fi short film, "Alive in Joburg" (2005), a view of Johannesburg circa 1990 when it had become home to extraterrestrial refugees. The short explored the escalated tensions between dissident humans and the aliens - a thinly veiled analogy of South Africa's own apartheid - with Copley cast as a sniper. In the meantime, he next co-wrote and co-directed the supernatural-thriller "Spoon" (2008), about a man (Rutger Hauer) who suffers from blackouts that lead to a life-altering discovery. That same year, when Blomkamp opted to further develop his "Joburg" short, he again enlisted Copley; this time for some on-camera film tests that gave the novice actor an opportunity to develop the character of Wikus Van De Merwe, a government agent who becomes the central focus of the internationally acclaimed film, "District 9" (2009). Producer Peter Jackson took a shine to Copley's work and agreed with Blomkamp that the new actor should be the film's hero. "District" - shot in documentary-like format - expanded the world that the short-film first brought to life, with the aliens segregated in internment camps. Copley's brilliant performance - all improvised dialog - saw him nominated for Best Newcomer from both the UK's Empire Awards and Most Promising Performer for the Chicago Film Critics Association Awards. Additionally, the movie was nominated for four 2010 Academy Awards, including Best Picture.

Irony and destiny mixed when Copley's next job was announced as the big-screen adaptation of his favorite American TV show from his youth. So in love with "The A-Team" (NBC, 1983-87) had Copley been as a child, that he taped the shows on audio cassette in pre-VCR days so he could at least listen to them later. Due in no small part to his passion for the project, Copley was cast as Captain "Howling Mad" Murdock, the clinically insane pilot in the mega-budgeted remake of "The A-Team" (2010). Produced by Ridley and Tony Scott, the film reprised the premise of four U.S. Army Special Forces -- this time stationed in the Middle East versus the TV version's Vietnam -- who work as soldiers of fortune while on the run for crimes they did not commit. Copley perfected his American accent and worked to redefine "madness," given his character's history and the 25 years that separated the series from the film: "We created a general Southern guy. He's odd, for sure. You never really know if he's genuinely crazy or whether he's playing the system." The film's director, Joe Carnahan, took a bit of a risk casting Copley who had only one film under his belt, but was elated with the end result, saying later that he found that "with Sharlto, you can't exhaust his imagination."

Copley wasn't seen onscreen during the next few years, but he was far from idle. In 2013, "Elysium," his second dystopian feature with Blomkamp, finally arrived, with the actor portraying Kruger, a sadistic mercenary armed with deadly tech enhancements and tasked with intercepting Matt Damon's unlikely hero. Staying within the sci-fi vein, Copley also starred in "Europa Report" (2013), a tale about space exploration gone wrong, and later had a major role in Spike Lee's gritty "Oldboy" (2013), a remake of the cult-favorite South Korean thriller. Copley next appeared in the big-budget fairy tale retelling "Maleficent" (2014) opposite Angelina Jolie before reuniting with Blomkamp for "Chappie" (2015), in which he played an entirely motion-capture role as a crime-fighting robot with artificial intelligence who falls into the hands of some small-time criminals. Copley also made his small-screen debut in "Powers" (PS4 2015- ), a science fiction thriller that was the first original show streamed on Sony's PlayStation4 network.

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Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Gringo (2018)
2.
 Free Fire (2017)
3.
 Hollars, The (2016)
4.
 Chappie (2015)
5.
 Chappie (2015)
6.
 Hardcore Henry (2015)
7.
 Maleficent (2014)
8.
 Elysium (2013)
9.
 Europa Report (2013)
10.
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Co-founded the media production company, Channel 69 Studios, with Simon Hansen
:
Hired the 14 year old future director Neill Blomkamp as a computer-graphics designer
:
Co-wrote and co-directed two popular viral short films, "2001: A Space Oddity" and "Hellweek"
2005:
With Simon Hansen co-produced Neill Blomkamp's short film "Alive in Joburg"; also made acting debut in a small role
2008:
Together with Simon Hansen, co-wrote, produced and directed the supernatural-thriller "Spoon"
2009:
Played the title role of Wikus van de Merwe in the Peter Jackson produced and Neill Blomkamp directed "District 9"
2010:
Cast in the role of H. M. Murdock for the feature film adaptation of the popular 1980s series "The A-Team"
2013:
Featured in the space thriller "Europa Report"
2013:
Reunited with Blomkamp for the sci-fi movie "Elysium"
2013:
Appeared in Spike Lee's "Oldboy" remake
2014:
Minor role in Angelina Jolie vehicle "Maleficent"
2015:
Voiced title character in Neill Blomkamp's sci-fi action/drama "Chappie"
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Education

Redhill High School: - 1987 - 1991

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