11:24 PM EDT 12/21/2014
Originally posted 08/27/2009 07:10AM
No one is more surprised by the success of the sci-fi thriller District 9 than the film's leading man, Sharlto Copley. The South African actor invades the big screen for the first time playing a nerdy government official assigned to evict aliens from their homes in Johannesburg's slums. Copley, 35, tells PEOPLE, "It's been a really bizarre but awesome series of events. I wake up everyday grateful." Here's what you need to know about this rising star:
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