Sharlto Copley

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Sharlto Copley
Copley at the 2024 WonderCon
Born (1973-11-27) 27 November 1973 (age 50)
Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa
Years active1996–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 the science fiction action film Hardcore Henry, and starred in two seasons as Christian Walker of the TV series Powers.

Copley is married to fellow South African actor 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 six years younger. 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 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 Swahili, 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]

Also in 2015, Copley played the supporting character Jimmy in the film Hardcore Henry.

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.

As of 2010, Copley resides in Cape Town and Los Angeles.[25][better source needed]



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 Doe / Jonah Cooke Gonzalo López-Gallego
2014 Maleficent King Stefan Robert Stromberg
The Snow Queen 2: The Snow King Orm Aleksey Tsitsilin Voice; English dub
2015 Chappie Chappie / policeman (cameo)[26] Neill Blomkamp
2016 Hardcore Henry Jimmy Ilya Naishuller Also executive producer[27]
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 Greig Cameron & Kane Croudace Voice
2022 Beast Martin Battles Baltasar Kormákur
2023 Boy Kills World Glen van der Koy Moritz Mohr
2024 Monkey Man Tiger Dev Patel
TBA 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
2024 Curb Your Enthusiasm Michael Fouchay (season 12); 2 episodes

Video games[edit]

Year Title Role Notes Ref.
2016 Payday 2 Jimmy Voice and face, reprising role from Hardcore Henry [28]


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 [29]
IGN Movie Awards Favorite Summer Hero Won [30]
Golden Schmoes Awards Best Actor of the Year Nominated [31]
Breakthrough Performance of the Year 2nd place
2010 Empire Award Best Newcomer Nominated [32]
International Cinephile Society Award Best Actor Nominated [33]
MTV Movie Award Best Scared-As-S**t Performance Nominated [34]
Online Film & Television Association Best Breakthrough Performance - Male Nominated [35]
Online Film Critics Society Award Best Actor Nominated [36]
Scream Award Best Science Fiction Actor Nominated [37]
Breakout Performance - Male Nominated
Teen Choice Award Choice Movie Actor - Sci-Fi Nominated [38]


  1. ^ "MTV Movie Awards Nominees Announced; New Category for Horror". 12 May 2010. Archived from the original on 22 July 2014. Retrieved 6 September 2015.
  2. ^ a b "Tanit and Sharlto: Happily Ever After - Grazia South Africa". Archived from the original on 2 June 2016. Retrieved 29 April 2016.
  3. ^ a b c Marks, Lisa (26 July 2010). "Interview with A-Team star Sharlto Copley". The Scotsman. Archived from the original on 29 June 2011. 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 Archived 18 January 2018 at the Wayback Machine. 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. 12 August 2009. Archived from the original on 25 February 2020. 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. 5 September 2012. Archived from the original on 27 September 2013. Retrieved 17 April 2020.
  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". Archived from the original on 27 July 2010. Retrieved 10 August 2010.
  15. ^ Child, Ben (13 December 2010). "Matt Damon in talks to star in Neill Blomkamp's Elysium". The Guardian. London. Archived from the original on 22 March 2017. Retrieved 13 December 2016.
  16. ^ Rosenberg, Adam (6 January 2010). "'District 9' Director Neill Blomkamp Drops A Few Hints About His Next Project". MTV. Archived from the original on 25 February 2020. Retrieved 24 February 2020.
  17. ^ Wales, George. (2 May 2012) Sharlto Copley will play Oldboy villain Archived 8 November 2014 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved on 22 September 2013.
  18. ^ Frei, Vincent (18 March 2015). "CHAPPIE: Chris Harvey - VFX Supervisor - Image Engine". The Art of VFX (in French). Archived from the original on 14 February 2021. Retrieved 12 March 2021.
  19. ^ "Sharlto Copley Set As Lead Christian Walker In 'Powers', Michelle Forbes Is Retro Girl". Deadline. 18 August 2014. Archived from the original on 22 October 2021. 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. Archived from the original on 17 April 2021. Retrieved 11 April 2021.
  22. ^ "Sharlto Copley on 'Gringo' and Why 'The A-Team' Tank Sequence Is Possible - Collider". Collider. Archived from the original on 10 April 2021. Retrieved 11 April 2021.
  23. ^ Tanit, A-Team star set up home in US – Independent on Saturday |News Archived 9 December 2015 at the Wayback Machine. (1 July 2013). Retrieved on 22 September 2013.
  24. ^ "Exciting news for Sharlto Copley and Tanit Phoenix!". Archived from the original on 3 August 2017. Retrieved 6 April 2016.
  25. ^ Edmunds, Gayle (20 August 2010). "A-Team's Sharlto Copley soars". City Press. Archived from the original on 23 July 2011. Retrieved 21 February 2011.
  26. ^ "Chappie cameo surprise!". Facebook.
  27. ^ "Hardcore Henry (2016)". British Film Institute. Archived from the original on 27 September 2020. Retrieved 14 January 2021.
  28. ^ Overkill Software (24 March 2016). "PAYDAY 2: Hardcore Henry Packs Trailer". Archived from the original on 20 December 2021 – via YouTube.
  29. ^ "Christoph Waltz + Mo'Nique: Critics Awards' Clean Sweep". Archived from the original on 11 March 2021. Retrieved 16 February 2022.
  30. ^ "Favorite Hero - Summer Movie Awards 2009 Wiki Guide - IGN". 27 January 2013. Archived from the original on 17 February 2022. Retrieved 16 February 2022.
  31. ^ "Golden Schmoes Winners and Nominees (2009)". Archived from the original on 11 November 2019. Retrieved 16 February 2022.
  32. ^ "Best Newcomer". Archived from the original on 30 October 2013. Retrieved 16 February 2022.
  33. ^ "2010 ICS Award Nominees - International Cinephile Society". 14 June 2010. Archived from the original on 19 December 2014. Retrieved 16 February 2022.
  34. ^ "Amanda Seyfried Leads Best Scared-As-Sh-- Nominees at Movie Awards - MTV". MTV. Archived from the original on 16 February 2022. Retrieved 16 February 2022.
  35. ^ "Precursor: Online Film & Television Association Nominations". 31 January 2010. Archived from the original on 16 February 2022. Retrieved 16 February 2022.
  36. ^ "2009 Online Film Critics Society Award nominees". 31 December 2009. Archived from the original on 6 January 2010. Retrieved 16 February 2022.
  37. ^ "2010 Scream Award Nominations - Screen Rant". Screen Rant. 2 September 2010. Archived from the original on 27 December 2016. Retrieved 16 February 2022.
  38. ^ "Teen Choice Awards 2010: First Round Of Nominees Announced". Archived from the original on 16 June 2010. Retrieved 16 February 2022.

External links[edit]