This week, Sharlto Copley stars in Hardcore Henry, an action adventure — with a first-person perspective — on which he also served as executive producer. Copley made his debut in Neill Blomkamp‘s 2005 short film Alive in Joburg, which was eventually expanded to the hit feature adaptation District 9, and his career progressed with films like The A-Team, Maleficent, Chappie, Elysium, and the Playstation television series Powers. We were excited to talk to Copley about his Five Favorite Films (Superman II came in at a very close sixth):
I definitely have films that, for whatever reason, had an impact on me. One of the first ones is The Goonies, which I watched when I was a little kid growing up in South Africa. I actually came home from watching The Goonies and planned a whole movie that I recorded on the tape recorder. It was about some kids in a gang. They stumble upon a stolen piece of art. It’s actually not such a bad idea now that I think about it. [The Goonies] was definitely one of those films that I distinctly remember pushing me into, “This is what I’m going to do.” I’d been playing around with the camera, but that was like the turning point for me, The Goonies.
The first movie I ever saw in my life, interestingly enough, was The Gods Must Be Crazy. It was a South African movie. It’s ironic that years later, the next most commercially successful film from South Africa after The Gods Must Be Crazy is District 9. The effect was kind of an early imprint that South Africa belonged in motion pictures. Because there was nothing else for years, as I became an adult — or even a young man — I kind of realized it didn’t. Everything that South Africa made was terrible that I subsequently saw. Usually I was just ashamed of it. I was like, “Oh God, we make terrible television, we make terrible movies.” And even with Marius Weyers doing the South African accent — something that was uniquely South African and African could be commercial was just imprinted in my brain.
I think definitely Terminator 2 has to be in there. It was just masterful. The way [James Cameron] reversed the story for the sequel from the first one. I loved the first one, but I just thought… It was one of those rare occasions where the sequel topped the first movie for me.
Probably have to say Dead Poet’s Society, too. I’m a massive Robin Williams fan. Basically anything that he ever did.
I was just a monumental fan of both Tony Scott as a director and Eddie Murphy. I suppose you can probably tell now — and especially by if you watch Hardcore Henry, the performance styles of Robin Williams and Eddie Murphy, and Jim Carrey, that type of performance — Peter Sellers, which was obviously a bit before my time — but as I grew up going back and watching that, I love those kinds of actors. It’s interesting all the sequels [I have] in here too [laughing].
Hardcore Henry opens in wide release this week.