Sharlto Copley's cast of characters

05:00 AM, Nov 30, 2013

Sharlto Copley made his first foray into villainy in 2013's 'Elysium' as the mercenary Kruger. Stephanie Blomkamp, Columbia Pictures/


Written By by Brian Truitt, USA TODAY

His name or face might not be instantly recognizable, but that’s OK — Sharlto Copley would rather you be impressed with his characters than his celebrity. USA TODAY runs down the Oldboy star’s other on-screen personas.

District 9 (2009)

Neill Blomkamp’s sci-fi metaphor for apartheid stuck South African bureaucrat Copley’s Wikus van der Merwe in the middle of moving Earthbound aliens to internment camps. As the movie progresses, Wikus becomes more of an extraterrestrial himself as his allegiances shift.

The A-Team (2010)

Copley grew up on the original TV series in the 1980s, with Dwight Schultz’s fittingly named “Howling Mad” Murdock. In the action-movie version about the four special-forces operatives on the run from the government, Copley embraced as many different dialects, from Southern to Irish, as Murdock had personalities.

Elysium (2013)

Close friends Blomkamp and Copley teamed for a second time for the futuristic sci-fi movie, which cast Matt Damon as a dying man trying to get off what’s left of a post-apocalyptic Earth and onto the upper-class, idyllic space station Elysium. One of the place’s leaders (played by Jodie Foster) sends the merciless mercenary Kruger (Copley) to head him off, and he loses half his face and has it reconstructed, making the bad guy even more unstable than he was.

Europa Report (2013)

Copley finally had to use a shaver to play a clean-cut astronaut in the found-footage sci-fi film. A crew of space explorers is sent to Jupiter’s moon of Europa to find out if it’s habitable for human life, and Copley, clad in a spacesuit, heads up the cast as an engineer on the galaxy quest.

Open Grave (2013)

In the horror film, Copley is in a bad way as a man who awakens with amnesia in a pit, surrounded by a bunch of dead bodies. As if that’s not bad enough, he comes upon a group of folks in a similar situation with a lack of memories. Mysteries and violence ensue.