SAN DIEGO - Angelina Jolie's King Stefan has spoken.
That would be Sharlto Copley, the South African actor who came to attention three years ago with his starring role in "District 9" and who recently bagged the male lead in "Maleficent" opposite the superstar American actress. Speaking to the thesp on the Comic-Con press line for Blomkamp's upcoming sophomore effort "Elysium" - a sci-fi thriller in which he stars with Matt Damon and Jodie Foster - I got Copley to hold forth a little on the revisionist "Sleeping Beauty" tale, which is currently filming in London and which he'll be returning to just as soon as his run at Comic-Con 2012 is finished.
"I'm so excited about that film," Copley told me. "It's this fairy tale movie, but it's got a real honesty and heart to it. It's almost like a more advanced version of fairytales. I think almost as society changes...[in] the old days [it] was very much, 'the prince and the princess live happily ever after, and the wicked queen is the wicked queen, and the good queen is the good queen.' But you know that real life is more complicated than that!
"And so, what they're doing in this movie I think is doing a much more honest portrayal of flawed human beings and relationships, and why they do the things they do," he continued. "It's still a fairytale, but it definitely is a more advanced and more truthful and more honest telling. 'Maleficent' is darker in that sense, but also lighter in the sense that it really is honest, there's a truth to it, there's a truth to what love is, and the pain that love causes if your heart is broken, or things like that. Which are generally not too covered in fairytales."
Also on tap for the rising thesp is director Spike Lee's upcoming remake of "Oldboy," the ultra-disturbing thriller that served as the middle portion of Korean helmer Park Chan-wook's acclaimed "Vengeance Trilogy." In fact, Copley begins shooting the film - in which he plays the antagonist to Josh Brolin's character - as soon as he wraps on "Maleficent."
"Spike and Josh are keeping it very true to the original in terms of the grittiness, the darkness of it," said Copley of the film. "It's just one of those classic stories...I was just like, 'I have to do this movie, a script like this doesn't come along often!'"
As for the film's brutally dark subject matter (if the remake does indeed stay "true to the original," American audiences who've never seen the Korean version may be in for a rude awakening), Copley feels that unlike many movies today, the darkness actually serves a purpose.
"It is dark," he agreed, "but it's also 'clever dark.' You know, there's dark just for the sake of being dark to shock you, [but] this has actually got an intelligent dark twist. It actually makes sense. ...I don't really resonate much with just dark material, for the sake of it."
Are you planning on seeing "Maleficent" and/or "Oldboy" when they hit theaters? Sound off in the comments!
"Maleficent" is due for release on March 14, 2014.