Sharlto Copley on Working With Spike Lee: "I Was Kind of Worried"

The Elysium actor talks working with Lee on the upcoming Oldboy.

Posted: 08/09/2013 09:00 AM EDT
Sharlto Copley

South African actor Sharlto Copley made a splash as the lead in District 9, a guerilla-style science fiction film what went on to earn an Oscar nomination for Best Picture. The actor reteams with Neill Blomkamp, his childhood friend and District 9 director, for Elysium, also starring Matt Damon. As the film's villainous mercenary soldier, Copley steals every scene he's in and brings a dose of unexpected humor to the otherwise darkly political film. 

Copley, unrecognizable from his grimy Elysium character after a shower and shave, talks to us about his big Hollywood year, which includes playing the villian in Spike Lee's Oldboy. "I was kind of worried" about meeting Lee, Copley admits to us. "I know he's very political. And here I am, this white South African." But the actor goes on to explain that the opinionated cinema icon was nothing but welcoming when he arrived on the set. "He hugged me and called me his African brother!"

The Johannesburg native also reflects on the legacy of Nelson Mandela ("the world needs true leaders like him," he says) and gives us more details about the film, which opens today.

Check out our exclusive interview with Sharlto Copley below!

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