Karl Urban on Joining Judge Dredd and What Would Make Him 'Puke In His Popcorn'
Karl Urban isn't just a featured actor in fanboy classics like Lord of the Rings and Star Trek, but a fanboy himself -- in fact, when I chatted with him just now about his Con movies Priest and Red, he got enthusiastically sidetracked for a minute to rave about The Expendables ("I feel like I'm promoting someone else's movie!"). Still, there was nothing he was more psyched to talk about than Judge Dredd, the comic book reboot he's negotiating to topline, and he spilled the beans on some of the film's brand-new details to Movieline.
I know you can't say too much about Judge Dredd because your deal isn't locked down yet, but what is it about this character that you spark to?
I've been reading Dredd for over 25 years. When I was 15 years old working in the pizza parlor, the manager I worked for was heavily into it, and he switched me on to it. It was interesting for me that at a time when I was a teenager rebelling against all the things a teenager rebels against and doing all the things that one does, one of my heroes was this authoritarian, staunch, hardass representative of the law. I was already a fan of futuristic science-fiction worlds, so for me, I naturally gravitated towards the characters. I felt [John] Wagner really created this enigmatic, iconic character, and infused him with just an indomitable attitude and these witty one-liners. It's an opportunity that is one that I'm thrilled to embark on.
And a lot of pressure too, I'm sure.
As you said, I can't say too much about it because we're in the very early process of locking it down and making it happen, but I can say that the producers behind this movie are being 100% faithful to the source material. The creator is involved as a consultant, and the artist, Jock, who's done some incredible work...he's also involved in the development stage. I can tell you that in no way, shape, or form is it related to any other movie that's come out called Judge Dredd.
So you're not promoting one of Sylvester Stallone's movies now!
[Laughs] It's going to be hardcore and gritty. I feel most happy for fans of Dredd who are finally going to get the Dredd movie they so richly deserve. I can tell you that hypothetically -- and this just gives you an idea of where our heads are collectively at -- if I was to go see a movie called Judge Dredd, and the actor who played Judge Dredd was to take his helmet off and full-on reveal his face and identity, I would puke in my popcorn.
So you have no vanity about the fact that you'll be behind a mask the whole time?
None whatsoever. None whatsoever. Dredd is enigmatic, the faceless representative of justice. His prevailing attitudes, his strength of moral character, and the strength of his actions are what speak volumes for that character. If you think about westerns from before, it's akin to getting to the end of The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly and realizing, "Wait a minute. I didn't even know the Eastwood character's name!" It's cool.
Now you've got me hyped up for it!
You should be. All right, thanks for being succinct. You got a scoop!