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 49)
Years active2004–present
(m. 2016)

Sharlto Copley (born 27 November 1973) is a South African actor. His acting credits include roles in the Academy Award-nominated science fiction film District 9,[1] the 2010 adaptation of The A-Team, the science fiction film Elysium, the science fiction horror film Europa Report and the dark fantasy adventure film Maleficent. He also played the title character in the science fiction film Chappie, 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 supermodel Tanit Phoenix.[2]

Early life[edit]

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]


Copley in October 2016

Shortly after leaving high school, Copley met Neill Blomkamp, who is younger than him. Copley allowed Blomkamp to use computers at his production company to help the company pitch various projects and allow Blomkamp to pursue his passion and talent for 3D animation and design.[8]

In Peter Jackson and Neill Blomkamp's District 9 (2009), Copley played the lead role of Wikus van der Merwe, an Afrikaner bureaucrat assigned to move a race of extraterrestrial creatures 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.[9] At the 2009 IGN Summer Movie awards, Copley won Favorite Hero [10] and Best Performance.[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 Cooper and 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 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 portrayed the titular character of a biographical film about Ted Kaczynski titled Ted K.[22]

Personal life[edit]

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

Copley resides in Cape Town and Los Angeles.[25]



Year Title Role Director Notes
2006 Yellow Soldier Neill Blomkamp Short film
Alive in Joburg Sniper Short film; also producer
2009 District 9 Wikus van der Merwe
2010 Wikus and Charlize Himself Short film; also producer, writer and editor
The A-Team Captain H.M. "Howling Mad" Murdock Joe Carnahan
2013 Europa Report James Corrigan Sebastián Cordero
Elysium Agent M. Kruger Neill Blomkamp
Oldboy Adrian Pryce Spike Lee
Open Grave John (AKA Jonah Cooke) Gonzalo López-Gallego
2014 Maleficent King Stefan Robert Stromberg
The Snow Queen 2: The Snow King Orm (voice) Aleksey Tsitsilin English dub
2015 Chappie Chappie Neill Blomkamp
2016 Hardcore Henry Jimmy Ilya Naishuller Also executive producer[26]
The Hollars Ron Hollar John Krasinski
Free Fire Vernon Ben Wheatley
2017 God: Serengeti God Neill Blomkamp Short film
2018 Gringo Mitch Rusk Nash Edgerton
God: City God Neill Blomkamp Short film
2020 The Last Days of American Crime William Sawyer Olivier Megaton
2021 Ted K Ted Kaczynski Tony Stone Also producer
Seal Team Switch (voice) Greig Cameron & Kane Croudace
2022 Beast Martin Battles Baltasar Kormákur
Monkey Man TBA Dev Patel Post–production
2023 Boy Kills World Glen van der Koy Moritz Mohr Post-production
Desert Warrior Rupert Wyatt Post-production


Year Title Role Notes
2015–16 Powers Christian Walker Main role; 20 episodes
2022 Russian Doll Chez Recurring role (season 2); 3 episodes

Video games[edit]

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


Year Title Role Notes
2016 Rooster Teeth Shorts Jimmy Episode: "Hardcore Henry Meets Rooster Teeth"

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Film Award Category Result Ref.
2009 District 9 Chicago Film Critics Association Award Most Promising Performer Nominated [28]
IGN Movie Awards Favorite Summer Hero Won [29]
Golden Schmoes Awards Best Actor of the Year Nominated [30]
Breakthrough Performance of the Year 2nd place
2010 Empire Award Best Newcomer Nominated [31]
International Cinephile Society Award Best Actor Nominated [32]
MTV Movie Award Best Scared-As-S**t Performance Nominated [33]
Online Film & Television Association Best Breakthrough Performance - Male Nominated [34]
Online Film Critics Society Award Best Actor Nominated [35]
Scream Award Best Science Fiction Actor Nominated [36]
Breakout Performance - Male Nominated
Teen Choice Award Choice Movie Actor - Sci-Fi Nominated [37]


  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.[dead YouTube link]
  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". Archived from the original on 20 December 2021 – via YouTube.
  28. ^ "Christoph Waltz + Mo'Nique: Critics Awards' Clean Sweep". Retrieved 16 February 2022.
  29. ^ "Favorite Hero - Summer Movie Awards 2009 Wiki Guide - IGN". Retrieved 16 February 2022.
  30. ^ "Golden Schmoes Winners and Nominees (2009)". Retrieved 16 February 2022.
  31. ^ "Best Newcomer". Retrieved 16 February 2022.
  32. ^ "2010 ICS Award Nominees - International Cinephile Society". Retrieved 16 February 2022.
  33. ^ "Amanda Seyfried Leads Best Scared-As-Sh-- Nominees at Movie Awards - MTV". Retrieved 16 February 2022.
  34. ^ "Precursor: Online Film & Television Association Nominations". Retrieved 16 February 2022.
  35. ^ "2009 Online Film Critics Society Award nominees". Retrieved 16 February 2022.
  36. ^ "2010 Scream Award Nominations - Screen Rant". Retrieved 16 February 2022.
  37. ^ "Teen Choice Awards 2010: First Round Of Nominees Announced". Archived from the original on 16 June 2010. Retrieved 16 February 2022.

External links[edit]