Sharlto Copley

Sharlto Copley (born 27 November 1973) is a South African actor. He has played Wikus van der Merwe in the Academy Award-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, James Corrigan in the science fiction horror film Europa Report and King Stefan in the dark fantasy adventure film Maleficent. He also played the title character in the science fiction film Chappie, as Jimmy in Hardcore Henry, and starred in two seasons as Christian Walker of the TV series Powers. Copley is married to fellow South African actress and fashion model Tanit Phoenix.[2]

Sharlto Copley
Copley at the July 2009 San Diego Comic-Con International
Born (1973-11-27) 27 November 1973 (age 48)
EducationSt. Andrew's Preparatory School
Redhill School
Years active2004–present
(m. 2016)

Early lifeEdit

Sharlto Copley was born in Johannesburg and educated at St. Andrew's Preparatory School in Grahamstown and Redhill School in Morningside, Johannesburg.[3] His father is Dr. Bruce Copley, a former university professor.[3][4] His brother, Donovan,[3] is the lead singer of the Cape Town band Hot Water.[5][6][7]


A year after leaving high school, Copley met director Neill Blomkamp. Blomkamp was 16 and Copley was 22, 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.[8]

Copley starred in Peter Jackson and Neill Blomkamp's District 9, where he played the lead role of Wikus van der Merwe, 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 for his role in District 9.[11]

In 2010 Copley produced, wrote and directed an insert for the South African Film and Television Awards called "Wikus and Charlize", featuring fellow South African star Charlize Theron. The clip features Copley as Wikus attempting to track down Charlize Theron 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. The same year, Copley portrayed the villain Agent Kruger in Elysium,[15] a science fiction film written and directed by Neill Blomkamp, starring Matt Damon and Jodie Foster.[16]

Copley played villain Adrian Pryce in Spike Lee's Oldboy, a remake of the 2003 South Korean film of the same name.[17] He also starred opposite Angelina Jolie in the 2014 Disney film Maleficent and played King Stefan, Princess Aurora's father. He also provided the voice, reference work, and interaction with the cast as Chappie, the titular character of the 2015 film Chappie, also directed by Neill Blomkamp.[18]

In 2015, Copley was announced to star as Christian Walker in the superhero TV series Powers.[19] He later provided the voiceover for the e-tron GT concept promotional video by Audi Sport GmbH.[20]

In March 2018, Copley starred in the crime comedy film Gringo as Mitch Rusk.[21] Copley is also set to portray the titular character of a biographical film about Ted Kaczynski titled Ted K.[22]

Personal lifeEdit

Copley has been in a relationship with actress and fashion model Tanit Phoenix since January 2012.[23] They wed on 15 February 2016, in Cape Town, South Africa.[2][24] He resides alternately in Cape Town and Los Angeles.[25] The couple have a daughter together.



Year Title Role Notes
2006 Yellow Soldier Short film
Alive in Joburg Sniper Short film; also producer
2009 District 9 Wikus van der Merwe
2010 Wikus and Charlize Short film; also producer, director, writer and editor
The A-Team Captain H.M. "Howling Mad" Murdock
2013 Europa Report James Corrigan
Elysium Agent C.M. Kruger
Oldboy Adrian Pryce
Open Grave John (AKA Jonah Cooke)
2014 Maleficent King Stefan
The Snow Queen 2: The Snow King Orm (voice) English dub
2015 Chappie Chappie
2016 Hardcore Henry Jimmy Also executive producer[26]
The Hollars Ron Hollar
Free Fire Vernon
2017 God: Serengeti God Short film
2018 Gringo Mitch Rusk
God: City God Short film
2020 The Last Days of American Crime William Sawyer
2021 Ted K Ted Kaczynski
Seal Team Switch (voice)
2022 Monkey Man Post-production
Beast Martin Battles Post-production


Year Title Role Notes
2015–16 Powers Christian Walker 20 episodes

Video gamesEdit

Year Title Role Notes
2016 Payday 2[27] Jimmy Voice and face, reprising role from Hardcore Henry

Awards and nominationsEdit

Year Award Category Film Result
2009 Chicago Film Critics Association Award Most Promising Performer District 9 Nominated
IGN Movie Awards Best Performance Won
Favorite Summer Hero Won
Golden Schmoes Awards Best Actor of the Year Nominated
Breakthrough Performance of the Year 2nd place
2010 Empire Award Best Newcomer Nominated
International Cinephile Society Award Best Actor Nominated
MTV Movie Award Best Scared-As-S**t Performance Nominated
Online Film & Television Association Best Breakthrough Performance - Male Nominated
Online Film Critics Society Award Best Actor Nominated
Scream Award Best Science Fiction Actor Nominated
Breakout Performance - Male Nominated
Teen Choice Award Choice Movie Actor - Sci-Fi Nominated
2016 BTVA Voice Acting Award Best Male Lead Vocal Performance in a Feature Film Chappie Nominated


  1. ^ "MTV Movie Awards Nominees Announced; New Category for Horror". Retrieved 6 September 2015.
  2. ^ a b "Tanit and Sharlto: Happily Ever After - Grazia South Africa".
  3. ^ a b c Marks, Lisa (26 July 2010). "Interview with A-Team star Sharlto Copley". The Scotsman. Retrieved 21 February 2011.
  4. ^ "Bruce Copley – Holistic Learning Adds Value" Archived 27 September 2013 at the Wayback Machine SKF Sweden Evolution Business and Technology Magazine article, 7 June 2006
  5. ^ Hotwater Archived 22 April 2013 at (16 October 2008). Retrieved on 22 September 2013.
  6. ^ Hotwater Official Site. Retrieved on 22 September 2013.
  7. ^ [1] Archived 10 December 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ Sharlto and Neill sitdown interview Part 1 on YouTube
  9. ^ "District 9 director Neill Blomkamp". A.V. Club. Retrieved 24 February 2020.
  10. ^ IGN Summer Movie Awards Favorite Hero. IGN Retrieved on 22 September 2013
  11. ^ IGN Movies Best Performance of 2009. IGN 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. ^ Rosenberg, Adam (6 January 2010). "'District 9' Director Neill Blomkamp Drops A Few Hints About His Next Project". MTV. Retrieved 24 February 2020.
  17. ^ Wales, George. (2 May 2012) Sharlto Copley will play Oldboy villain. Retrieved on 22 September 2013.
  18. ^ Frei, Vincent (18 March 2015). "CHAPPIE: Chris Harvey - VFX Supervisor - Image Engine". The Art of VFX (in French). Retrieved 12 March 2021.
  19. ^ "Sharlto Copley Set As Lead Christian Walker In 'Powers', Michelle Forbes Is Retro Girl". Deadline. 18 August 2014. Retrieved 18 August 2014.
  20. ^ "The Power of a Sports Car | Audi Sport". Audi Sport Official on YouTube.
  21. ^ Tartaglione, Nancy (11 May 2016). "STX Partners With Amazon On Nash Edgerton Action Comedy; Will Sell In Cannes". Deadline Hollywood. Penske Business Media. Retrieved 11 April 2021.
  22. ^ "Sharlto Copley on 'Gringo' and Why 'The A-Team' Tank Sequence Is Possible - Collider". Retrieved 11 April 2021.
  23. ^ Tanit, A-Team star set up home in US – Independent on Saturday |News. (1 July 2013). Retrieved on 22 September 2013.
  24. ^ "Exciting news for Sharlto Copley and Tanit Phoenix!".
  25. ^ Edmunds, Gayle (20 August 2010). "A-Team's Sharlto Copley soars". City Press. Retrieved 21 February 2011.
  26. ^ "Hardcore Henry (2016)". British Film Institute.
  27. ^ Overkill Software (24 March 2016). "PAYDAY 2: Hardcore Henry Packs Trailer" – via YouTube.

External linksEdit