FSM Media

by Dianna Ranere

Maleficent’s Sharlto Copley Speaks Out About his Role as King Stefan #MaleficentEvent

Sharlto 1
Image Credit: www.momstart.com

We had the opportunity to speak with Sharlto Copley who plays King Stefan in Maleficent. The moment he walked into the room you could see how magnetic his personality was. He was open, and honest and really answered every question from the heart.  I really enjoyed our time with him, and loved the insight he provided into his character, and getting to know him as a person.



In one of the interviews you did you said that Angelina was a better prankster than you. Was there any pranking going on on set?


Yeah, there was a lot. 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 is I was pretending in the scene where her and I are still true lovers and we still love each other sitting down by the river, I sometimes would improvise my dialog. So I pretended that I’d heard a noise in the bush. Now while the cameras filming because 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, and 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, so I run off and I go behind the bush and I’m diving down and like I am finding things. I come up with the raven, as if the raven had been following her, and I say “I got him!” The whole crew laughed and I thought I was very clever and very funny. 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. They literally looked at me and 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!


How did you step into the role of your character?


The thing for me, I’ve said sort of before, that I really don’t enjoy playing villains. I find it quite unpleasant in some ways. My way King-Stefanwith Stefan was to take a very, sort of, male trait..most men have sort of ambition, they want to kind of be the king of their castle, and in this case he literally does become the king of his castle. For me Stefan, I felt like there was a chance to almost play a cautionary tale for men with Stefan, of what happens when your male drive and ego and ambition get carried away with itself. In this case it was the worst case scenario, he’s prepared to betray his true love to become king. In smaller ways you see that all the time, you see men who are very successful, very wealthy men whose families are in complete disarray. They don’t spend time with their wives anymore. They don’t spend time with their kids. Their ambition has sort of become their obsession. That was kind of for me, the interesting part about playing (King Stefan).


Did you audition? Did you go in really wanting this role?


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. Most of my films are R-rated movies. I was like, come on man, I gotta do something with a really positive message.

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, you know, she was interested to work with me, so, um, I was very grateful to get this.


Do you have a favorite scene in the movie?


No, not really. There was a lot of scenes that I liked. I really enjoyed all the stuff with the pixies. I love comedy and so that was always fun for me to watch the comic relief characters in a movie. But I think there’s a lot of really, really cool scenes in the film.


How much training did you have to do for all the fighting you did in the film?


I didn’t do, for example, as much in this as I did with, with Elysium. You always have to be ready for — it was one of my biggest surprises going into acting and then getting into action films. You really just have to keep yourself conditioned, almost like an athlete does. Just general, all around conditioning just for the, kind of, repetitive nature of it.


For example, in this film, what is actually the hardest is you end up in Pinewood Studios, the sound stages, and everything’s relatively luxurious around you and then all of a sudden you find yourself in a stage where there’s not good air con systems and you’re burning. We had real fire in there allthe time because of the dragon, so there wasn’t enough oxygen. I found myself almost passing out two or three times in the action sequences just from lack of oxygen. So it’s quite interesting and quite challenging physically and mentally. But it’s enjoyable, it helps for the character for me.


If you weren’t an actor, what would you be?


If I wasn’t an actor what would I be? I was saying this the other day. I think (sometimes)– am I allowed to be in entertainment? Because I’ve always wanted to be. (If not) I would definitely be a director. That’s what I was gonna do before and I think I’ll go back to that. But if I couldn’t be in entertainment I think I would have made a really good lawyer. My only problem would be I would not be able to defend somebody that I thought was guilty, that would just destroy me. But I think I could argue very well in court as useless as that would be.


Did you find that your character continued to love Maleficent to the end or do you think there was a point where there was a separation?


I was losing my mind in real life because I kept thinking Angie was gonna prank me (laughter). You have to always walk a fine line in how they edit the film because you need to be the bad guy, but I definitely played it like he still loved her. You know, it was the only person he had ever loved. And he crossed a line that he could never come back from.

We do this to each other in different ways. Again, for me, metaphorically, you know, literally………what he does to her, he’s taking her power, he takes the thing that is most precious — and people do that to each other is relationships all the time. In characters I try and look for as much human truth as possible. In my experience if you were to betray somebody that is your real love or that you had real love with, and you’re a normal person and you’re not psychotic, that is gonna eat at you. The guilt of having done that, it sits with you. For me it has this cautionary tale element especially for men because it’s a very male thing that I’m playing, it’s a very male type energy.


You had a lot of emotion and power in your role. How did you prepare for your character?


I can’t go through my experience because I do characters. I do feel like I become somebody else and in the rare occasions where I’ll be doing a take where that slips, and I suddenly feel like myself again and I’ll actually stop and go like, “Okay guys, hang on.” When I’m preparing it’s really just understanding what’s the deepest truth that I can find in humanity or in human archetypes within human behavior.

For example, I can relate to ambitious men, I’m an ambitious person in my life, so I know what that is. 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. And so that’s really my preparation I suppose. Once I’ve made that decision, then I just let it come out and see what happens. It’s not like every day I’m preparing in some way, or I don’t practice my lines first in my trailer or things that some actors find useful. I don’t do that.


Emotionally what was the most challenging scene for you do you think?


Definitely, in terms of actual emotion, is when he takes her wings. Actually doing that. We did several takes and most of my takes, it’s so painful for me (Stefan). Then when you see what they choose, they’ll choose the one that’s kind of the least way, so he feels the most evil, otherwise it’s almost endearing, too human to the character.

Personally that was very difficult for me because I knew, I was using the archetype of hurting somebody that you love for your own advantages, an extremely painful sort of thing to go to.

Then the actual battle scenes with her, like playing the scene of taking the wings was bad, for me personally that was definitely the hardest. It’s not something that I would probably want to do again, do a scene where you actually fighting with a woman.


For you in real life, how are you like Stefan?


I am similar in, as far as I’m a man who has ambition. But, and this is the thing I’ve learned since I became an actor, you don’t quite know what you sort of have in you. So it’s an interesting job because you start exploring human personality and what personality is and all of that stuff in a safe way. But then when you get to a point it’s, like, okay I’m gonna sort of attack a woman, physically, and suddenly you realize, every part of me is programmed. I was brought up in a society, in an environment where you just would never do that. There’s no reality in which you would put your hands on a woman in an aggressive way in the culture and community that I was brought up in. My primal male reaction if I saw somebody hit a woman at a table is I’d probably wanna go and just punch the guy in the face, you know. So my whole program, everything it is now, I’m doing something that’s the complete opposite to what I feel instinctively, so I have to override that.


This film comes out right before Father’s Day. Do you have any messages that you can give dads who may want to take their little girls to see the film?


Yes. Spend time with your children so you don’t end up like Stefan. I have people like, “What’s the message for my child?” I was like, “Well, the message is for you, dude. It’s don’t fall off your castle.” It’s like, “Well I was making money for my family.” They didn’t want money. They wanted time with daddy. You know? And you see it all over the place. I don’t have kids yet because I was aware that I was like, I was working so hard, I want to be able to spend some time with them every day.

Image Credit: www.momstart.com


MALEFICENT will be in theaters 5/30/14! 

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Disclosure:  I was provided with an all expense paid trip by Disney. This is accordance with Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255 Guides Concerning the Use of. Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.