Sure, “The A-Team” is an American pop culture classic. But the campy ’80s show also made its way to TVs in South Africa, where a little boy named Sharlto Copley watched it and mimicked a character called Howling Mad Murdock, the slightly lunatic (yet brilliant) helicopter pilot. Fast-forward 25 years, and Copley now gets to put his own spin on the character in the new movie version of “The A-Team.” He explains how it all came together.
When you started out doing indie films in South Africa, did you ever think you’d be in a Ridley Scott-produced film?
[Laughs]. Um, not really. And not only because the only time I considered being an actor was when I was 18 years old and acting in little films. Maybe then I thought, “I will go to Hollywood to become a famous actor!” I have preferred being behind the scenes. So this has been pretty surreal.
Were you ever offended that you were asked to audition for the goofy Murdock and not the suave Face?
Absolutely not. Murdock was my favorite character. Well, it’s impossible to say who was my favorite between B.A. and Murdock. But I was very inspired by Murdock, because of all the voices and accents he did. As soon as I heard that I was going to audition, I started improvising things that could happen to Murdock in a hotel room.
A lot of people seeing your movie won’t even know “The A-Team” was a TV show.
[Laughs]. I know! It’s amazing how time flies. Sometimes I find myself talking with kids who are like, “Oh, oh, right, you’re the pilot guy.” But only because their dad told them.