Sharlto Copley, to me that’s a name I haven’t heard before even though he was in District 9. He plays King Stefan in Maleficent an origin story in a way for Disney’s most evil character. In Maleficent we also learn a lot more about Stefan and how he became King and where he was before then. So he grows very close to Maleficent which might be a bit of a spoiler for you because in Sleeping Beauty you know nothing about how the two had met before Maleficent bestows the curse on his baby girl. And it’s through this relationship our story begins.
In the interview with Sharlto we learn much more about him and how he got along with Angelina Jolie whom he shared some screen time with. He was quite genuine and honest about the practical jokes that he and Angelina Jolie played on each other. He even said that he was starting to go crazy on set worrying about when another raven was going to show up and scare him. SO he wasn’t completely acting crazy on the big screen.
most of it was pretty crazy and will remain with me. There was one sort of example of the kind of thing we were doing. I was pretending….in the beginning scenes….. um….sitting down by the river and whatever, I sometimes would improvise my dialog in the form as I have been known to do.
So I pretended that I’d heard a noise in the bush. Now while the cameras filming ’cause this particular prank was trying to get something with her that was sort of for the record on camera. So trying to prank her on camera. So I heard a noise, you know, I suddenly said to her, "Do you hear something?" She sort of looked at me but now she’s got to keep playing on. She’s like, "Oh, what’s he doing," you know, but she’s got to keep on. And so I run off and I go behind the bush and I’m like, and I’m diving down and I’m like finding things.
And I come up with the raven ….. As if the raven had been following her, you know, and I’m trying to get her….. "I got him!" And the whole crew laughed and I thought I was very clever and very funny. And then, um, …. we wrapped that night, we finished shooting at nine thirty in the evening. And the next morning, I get to my trailer I think six o’clock or something like that. And I open my trailer, I’m all tired and I just like can’t wait to just get into the trailer and there’s these two huge real ravens in my trailer.
And they literally looked at me …. kind of went [SCREECH] I was literally too scared to go into my trailer. It took half an hour before the guy could come and remove them — ravens are intimidating birds!
Even with the pranking he really did enjoy his role and looked forward to getting it.
I did really want this because I’d met Angie before and really felt she was very complimentary about District 9. She’d seen my performance in there and she said how we should work together some time. That was about two years before. And so when this came around I was really looking for a fantasy film. I was looking for something that was, you know, that I could show my seven year old nephew, you know? ‘Cause most of my films are R-rated movies. I was like, come on man. Gotta do something with some sort of positive message.
And so, um, yeah. I went after this quite aggressively. I shot a tape for it, a bunch of scenes, and I actually was saying to my agents, I was like, "Guys, get my tape to Angie." And they’re like, "Oh, we can’t. She’s on a boat. We don’t know where she is." I’m like, "Just get it to her," like, I know she did say she was interested to work with me, so, um, I was very grateful to get this, yeah.
Then he was asked how he prepared for his role of being such a powerful King.
Um, you know, I can’t go through my experience because I do characters. I really just feel like I….. it is a little crazy I suppose. I do feel like I become somebody else and, and in the rare occasions where I’ll be doing a take where that slips, you know, and I suddenly feel like myself again and I’ll actually stop and go like, "Okay guys, hang on." You know, and go again. Um, so I don’t, when I’m preparing is really just understanding what the, what the, the deepest truth that I can find in humanity or in human archetypes within, within human behavior.
Once I know what that is, so for example, I can relate to ambitious men. I’m an ambitious person in my life. And it’s like, okay, so I know what that is. You know, I have certain alpha male type tendencies. I’m quite a dominant guy. …….so if I take that and just do that in its extreme form. If you just, if it’s possible that that was completely unchecked, where would that….. where would that lead to? And so that’s really my preparation I suppose.
And once I, once I know, once I’ve made that decision, then I just let it come out and see what’s, what happens, you know? And it’s not like every day I’m preparing in some way, or I don’t, I don’t, like, you know, practice my lines first in my trailer or things that some actors find useful. I don’t do that.
Even without seeing the movie, if you know the story of Disney’s Sleeping Beauty then you know that after Stefan’s daughter is cursed he sends her away to live with the three fairies in the forest not to return until after her 16th birthday. So they live without knowing each other and Sharlto says that there is a lesson for father’s in Maleficent.
Spend time with your children so you don’t end up like Stefan. I have people say, "What’s the message for my child?" I was like, "Well, the message is for you, dude. It’s, like, don’t fall off your castle." It’s like, "Well I was making money for my family." It’s like, they didn’t want money. They wanted time with daddy. You know? And you see it all over the place. And you see it — I’m, you know, I’ve lived with them. I don’t have kids yet because I was aware that I was that I was working so hard.
If I want to have kids, I want to be able to spend some time with them every day.
Maleficent is in theaters Friday May 30th.