I spot his Springbok sweater before I spot him. In the foyer of the Beverly Hills Four Seasons – the one where Pretty Woman is set – Sharlto Copley is waiting for me. “Geez, when I said you should try come to the Oscars, I didn’t realize you actually would!” he chuckles as he we find a spot to sit down. South Africa had a strong presence at this year’s ceremony: District 9 was nominated for four Oscars – along with two nominations for the Madiba-inspired Invictus – so it was important for me to be there. Fast forward a few months later and Copley is spotted at airports around the world, promoting his latest film, the action-packed, star-cast The A-Team. One set of paparazzi-like pics shows him arriving at LAX wearing the green Springbok sweater again. “I love that top,” he says to me when I tell him about the gossip site that published the photos. “It’s so comfortable to travel in so I wear it all the time. I guess I won’t be any more,” he says, ruefully.
Much has changed for the Joburg-born Copley. For one, he’s added a number of nominations to his CV: Teen Choice Award nod for Best Sci-Fi Actor, MTV Movie Award nod for Scared as S**t Performance, and of course those Academy Award nominations. He won the Favourite Hero and Best Performance of 2009 awards at the IGN Summer Awards, but whether or not the 36-year-old has scooped the awards he’s been up for, Copley’s gained a fair bit of exposure from all the attention. Being part of a big-budget Hollywood film meant that his life has been spun into the global orbit of international stardom. From cardboard cutouts of him in a cellphone shop to gossip websites lamenting the fact that he has a girlfriend, Copley’s business is now the stuff of international interest.
“I’m trying really hard not to do anything that’s going to perpetuate that,” he says earnestly. “That’s not a place I’m interested in being. I really want to focus on the work. I’m not interested in this celebrity culture where people create drama out of your life for entertainment. I’d rather just create drama for TV, or movies,” he chuckles.
Listen to the rest of the interview here…