Sharlto Copley’s career has been on the ascent ever since District 9 propelled him into the limelight. The South African actor was a standout performer in an ensemble of impressive actors (and Rampage Jackson) starring in Joe Carnahan’s A-Team reboot, and District 9 already proved he can carry a film as a leading man.

That latter point is a fact that Apollo 18 director Gonzalo López-Gallego recognizes, as he has cast Copley in the lead role for his next film, Open Grave. The actor apparently also has what it takes to make a pretty convincing villain, because Spike Lee has tapped him to play that very role in his upcoming remake/re-interpretation of Old Boy.

We reported a few weeks back that Copley had been offered the Old Boy villain role, and now Deadline confirms that a deal with the actor has in fact been reached. In the film, Copley will play Adrian Pryce, a billionaire who uses his considerable resources to imprison a man named Joe Douchett (Josh Brolin) in a locked room for over a decade, before setting him free with the sadistic threat that he must discover the reason for his “punishment” within in a set span of time, or be further tormented.

Fans of Korean director Park Chan-wook’s 2003 version of Old Boy know just how depraved and psychotic (in an eerily controlled sort of way) the villain in the story is – especially at the end, when the full circumstances of the situation are revealed. With promises from producers of this Old Boy remake that the dark heart of the film will be even darker in the American version, one can only guess what perverse menace Copley will be called on to exhibit. Based on his past roles, he should deliver.

Of course, the question remains: Why did more lauded actors like  Clive OwenColin Firth and Christian Bale all pass on the role before Copley got it? Was it just timing, or does their absence hint something about the quality of this remake?

We’ll find out as production on Old Boy gets underway this fall.

Open Grave

We know little about Open Grave at this point – other than it’s a film from the guy who made the abysmal found-footage horror flick Apollo 18 (see pic above). Word is that  Copley plays the lead, a man who awakens in a pit full of bodies and has a series of flashbacks which leave him questioning whether or not he is the killer responsible for what lies in the mass grave – or if the killer is in fact one of the strangers who rescues him from the pit.

If Open Grave indeed is the type of psycho-thriller it initially seems to be (sounds a lot like A Perfect Getaway), then it will indeed need a leading man with the kind of range for fear and paranoia and panic that Copley already proved he was capable of during his Kafkaesque transformation in District 9.

Open Grave is currently in the pre-production stages, but filming should get underway soon.

Source: Deadline