South African actor enjoys slipping back to the 1970s
After almost a decade in the film business, Sharlto Copley has decided he’s an actor and an honorary Canadian.
“I have a place in Vancouver now, so Canada’s very close to my heart,” says the 43-year-old South African.
Friend and Vancouver-based filmmaker Neill Blomkamp has lots to do with Copley’s new residence and his profession.
The South African-born Blomkamp, a champion of the Canuck West Coast city, hired the then inexperienced performer for his lead in the modest-budgeted District 9 in 2009. The buddies worked together on the studio flick Elysium and Chappie in South Africa.
Copley has managed to land some parts on his own, too, including co-starring efforts in the remake The A-Team and Maleficent.
Add Free Fire to his list. In the 1970s caper flick, Copley plays arms dealer Vernon who finds himself trading quips and gunfire with prospective clients when things go wrong at an isolated warehouse.
“Vernon throws his mouth at people to see what comes back at him,” says the actor.
The role seems to be a good fit, but it shouldn’t surprise fans. When Copley was hired to portray Vernon he collaborated with director Ben Wheatley and screenwriter Amy Jump to refine the persona.
“Ben creates a great space for actors to play around and improvise,” Copley says. “As our characters were coming to life during filming, Amy (Jump) would re-work some of the stuff so that it would be unique to each of us.”
Besides that, Copley admits “I had a great pointer in the script when Brie Larson’s character says Vernon was misdiagnosed as a child genius and never quite got over it.”