Yesterday, “A-Team” week kicked off with our revealing look at the new B.A. Baracus. Now, with the movie crashing into theaters June 11th like B.A.’s van flying through the wall of a badguy’s warehouse headquarters, we take a look at the veteran mercenaries’ off-his-rocker copter captain: Sharlto Copley as “Howling Mad” Murdock.
“Sharlto’s such a ridiculously-talented guy in so many ways,” sai Joe Carnahan, director of the new film, told us about the fast-rising actor who rose to notoriety last year with “District 9,” now an Oscar-nominated Best Picture contender. “Sharlto’s a producer, he directed his own film, and he was a huge part of ’District 9’ in a way that a lot of his stuff was improvisational.”
Much like the casting of “Rampage” Jackson, Carnahan went out on a limb a bit with Copley – who will be appearing in the blockbuster flick as only his second film. Much like original Murdock Dwight Shultz, Sharlto did a lot of improvising – and Carnahan insists that fans will be pleased with the results.
“I find with Sharlto that you can’t exhaust his imagination, in terms of he will always give you,” the “Smokin’ Aces” director marveled. “In fact, we got flack from the studio one day, because we shot nine rolls of film of just Sharlto in this one scene; he just kept going and going and going!”
Much like the original Murdock, Copley will mine many laughs from Murdock’s love-hate relationship with B.A. Schultz shot a cameo for the film, and spoke with Copley not just about that dynamic, but also about his character’s non-specific accent.
“If you speak with Sharlto he has a heavy South African accent; when you see him in the movie, there’s not a shred of that. He’s doing this pan-handle Texan twang that is unidentifiable,” Carnahan revealed. “Talking to Dwight, he confirmed he was always doing this vague Texan accent – [as we watched the old episodes], we couldn’t quite place it. Sharlto is such a great actor, he has the ability to mimic and compartmentalize each accent. He’d say to me: ‘I could go more here, I could pull back there;’ it’s pretty remarkable he was able to shed that so easily.”
“With Sharlto, we just gave him a series of props and he started doing a puppet show for B.A.,” Carnahan remembered of some largely-improvised scenes in the film. “We had him doing this scene in Iraq where he’s using gun powder to season steaks, and we rigged everything to blow up. We’d tell him to be careful for his eyes, and he just didn’t care; smoke and fire was coming up in his face.”
“Sharlto’s attitude was that Murdock’s nuts, so I have to be a bit nuts too – and Sharlto was never lacking for suggestions,” he explained. “By his own admission, he could drive you nuts with that stuff – but in the best way, because he became such a good collaborator. Sharlto and I would get laughs over something we thought Murdock should do, and he just did it.”
Did “District 9” show you anything that makes you think Copley is a good fit for Murdock? Or are you still not seeing it yet after watching our footage above?