Copley followed up that film with something notably lighter, a turn as loopy ex-military man “Howling Mad” Murdock in Joe Carnahan’s “A-Team” movie. If it seems like he was born to play the role, that makes sense: As Copley told MTV News in an interview to promote the movie’s December 14 DVD release, he grew up watching “The A-Team” and even felt a special connection to Murdock. We’re not sure what that says about Copley, but he certainly was a lovely fellow to chat with. The South African dished on everything from what he’d like to see happen in an “A-Team” sequel to hilarious DVD extras to the time he tried to mock-seduce co-star Jessica Biel with a mid-take rendition of Justin Timberlake’s (a.k.a Biel’s boyfriend) “SexyBack.” We love it when a mid-shoot seduction comes together.
MTV: Did you do anything in particular to get into the “Howling Mad” Murdock headspace before each scene?
Copley: [Laughs] I don’t know if it helps me to say it, but no, I didn’t really. I grew up — “The A-Team” was my favorite show growing up, and I had a real particular resonance with the Murdock character. Murdock and B.A. were my two favorite characters back in the day. Although I wasn’t pursuing acting when I did “District 9″ — I had grown up doing different characters and voices and things with my staff for my production company in South Africa. It was just something I always did. And that kind of energy that the original Murdock had, which for me was a fun playfulness, I found very entertaining, just something that resonated with me. So [it was] just very, very easy role for me to play. It was very light compared to “District 9,” which is much heavier. I just had a lot of fun. It was a fun character to do.
MTV: It seemed like the crew you guys had assembled had a pretty good rapport on-screen. Did you guys have fun filming together?
Copley: One of the things I enjoyed most about the film was the cast. I thought it was really well cast — as a fan of the show, I enjoyed the casting choices. We had constant moments. Especially Rampage and I spent a lot of time in the makeup trailers together, messing around with the crew. He was actually the funniest guy on set. You know, we’d do the odd joke in the middle of a take because, you know, Murdock can do anything. So I started singing “I’m Bringing SexyBack” to Jessica Biel in the middle of a take, doing my best Justin Timberlake in a gown and then stripping down in this gown to see if I could get her. She didn’t break character for like 15 seconds. It was that scene in the asylum where I’m supposed to be all sort of spastic. I kept surprising her and doing different stuff, so that was one of the takes. It was pretty fun.
MTV: When you were filming the airborne tank battle scene, did you know at the time that it was going to be kind of that ridiculous yet awesome breakout moment of the trailer?
Copley: I didn’t. You know, when I first read that I really felt like, “Ooooooh, this could really go either way.” [Laughs.] To be honest, I was concerned about it. I was like, “I don’t know, man.” I mean, it’s “The A-Team” for sure, but I was concerned about how it would be done. But Joe, I think, he really pulled it out of that. He really made the scene work for its tongue-in-cheek style and “How’s my driving?” — just how crazy it was. It was a blast shooting it. And it really came out, in my mind, a lot better than I had imagined when I first read it.
MTV: What kind of cool extra features can we expect on the “A-Team” DVD?
Copley: There’s quite a bunch of stuff on the DVD, which is very cool — not just scenes that didn’t make it into the film but also just the stuff with us messing around behind-the-scenes. I did this thing — I’ve done only one movie, which is “District 9,” and just for fun because I had a lot of spare time, I did this thing where I’m acting like a complete prima donna. I’m giving everybody a hard time about every decision [laughs]. And so they cut a little piece of that and put it on [the DVD]. So there’s some pretty fun, entertaining stuff in addition to just your standard deleted scenes and us messing around. The Rampage laughing reel I really love. Rampage has the most incredible laugh — you know, because he’s a fighter and this tough guy, but he has the most amazingly infectious laugh and smile. There’s one piece, which is literally just him laughing in different situations. It’s pretty awesome.
MTV: Have you talked to Joe or any of the other guys in the cast about a sequel?
Copley: I haven’t. I haven’t. I actually feel like, as a fan of the show, I would really like to see the guys go on a mission, like they used to do — now that you’ve gone through a finding process. It would be a lot of fun to do something like that, where the guys go on one particular defined thing to help someone. Obviously, as an origin story we didn’t get to do that. We didn’t get to do what they did in the show.