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Quint interviews Karl Urban about monsters, Hell, Mars and all sorts of DOOM!

Ahoy, squirts! Quint here with a little chat I did over the phone with Karl Urban about DOOM. I had just gotten in from Comic-Con and LAing with Tenacious D when I got a call telling me that I had a phone interview scheduled with Karl Urban in about 15 minutes time. So, I quickly thought up some DOOM-ish questions, prepared my tape recorder and dug out the old speakerphone. The below is the result. For maximum effect you may want to read my report on the DOOM panel from Comic-Con (CLICK HERE TO DO SO!!!).

We go over what's in the movie, what's not in the movie and all points in-between. Enjoy the chat, squirts!

QUINT: All the early word on the DOOM movie was that there was going to be no Hell, no Mars and very few creatures, so fans were kind of in an uproar...

KARL URBAN: Fair enough, too...

QUINT: ... That's why I was so glad to see the panel at Comic-Con where the record was set straight...

KARL URBAN: I just saw the film today for the first time and it is awesome. It's like a rollercoaster. Once it grabs you it just grabs you by the nuts and doesn't let go.

QUINT: At the panel, they confirmed that Mars is the setting, but can you tell me how much of the film is set on Mars?

KARL URBAN: It's entirely set on Mars, as is the game. I'd say 90% of the film happens on Mars.

QUINT: That's great... I remember the early word was really weird... how it wasn't on Mars, but like a random space station or something...

KARL URBAN: Yeah, there was a lot of disinformation and misinformation out there. I think that maybe people got ahold of early drafts, but no... that's not the case. In my mind, this film is probably a direct adaptation of a game as you can get. In fact, I think it's probably the most honest video game adaptation that's ever been made.

QUINT: That's really great to hear because so far there hasn't been a truly great video game movie.

KARL URBAN: No, there hasn't...

QUINT: I've had arguments with people... I think there can be great movies based on video games if the right people get involved and are true to the source material... it's like any other adaptation... I remember when people thought it was impossible to make a good comic book movie...

KARL URBAN: Well, fundamentally... The thing with video games, obviously, is 90% of the time they're not plot driven. I mean, really it's about that immediate visceral kind of excitement of the challenge and killing things and whatever the excitement of the game is.

So, a lot of the time when people are trying to adapt them into film they have to augment that with some sort of plot and a story and so many times they get it wrong.

The great thing about DOOM is we actually keep it really quite simple. It is a thrill. It's just hardcore, it pulls no punches, it's scary, it's ultra-violent... (laughs) It's certainly not a film that is going to appeal to everybody, I think, but it's my sincere hope that it appeals to those who cherish the game. That's who it's aimed.

QUINT: They kind of glossed over it on the panel, but can you tell me to what extent, if any, that Hell is involved?

KARL URBAN: Um...

QUINT: Because on the panel it seemed like they were hinting at the creatures having a more biological origin than spilling out of a portal from hell...

KARL URBAN: Yeah... I think that's probably more the case. Hell is there in a multitude of forms. Maybe not as literal as some people would like, but is basically represented in a kind of multi-faceted way. There's references to where these creatures come from... I mean, my character makes a reference in the film about the origin of the creatures. You know, it's really up to... well, it's down to your personal belief system and what you believe hell is. There are so many different interpretations of that concept.

I think I can safely say that I believe we are faithful to a multitude of concepts of Hell.

QUINT: What of the creatures was your favorite to shoot with?

KARL URBAN: My favorite creature... I loved the Pinky Demon. The Pinky Demon just rocks... it's just a vicious little bastard.

QUINT: Doug Jones (Abe Sapien from HELLBOY) is in the suit, right?

KARL URBAN: Yeah, yeah, yeah... he is... He's in the Imp suit, I think it is...

QUINT: Oh, the Pinky Demons are a different breed of...

KARL URBAN: Yeah... but Doug did a fantastic job. I mean, he comes across really awesome. It's just spooky and terrifying.

QUINT: That First-Person-Shooter sequence you showed at Con was the perfect thing to show the geeks...

KARL URBAN: It went down really well, didn't it? Those that weren't really convinced by the trailer, when they saw the First-Person-Shooter they got it. You know, when you see someone's head blowing off and when you see the game brought to life in that kind of way, you kinda get what we're striving to achieve.

QUINT: It's funny... one of the producers on the panel said that it was something that hadn't been done before, but if you wanted to step back you could say that POV has been part of film for a long, long time. But what hadn't been done anywhere near as specific or as well in that sequence were the nods to the game and the gaming experiences... Like when the character shoots...

KARL URBAN: Shoots himself.

QUINT: Yeah, shoots the reflection. Anybody that's played the game has...

KARL URBAN: Has done that, yeah... Absolutely.

QUINT: It's just a small thing and it works in the movie even if you haven't played the game... it's funny little moment, a tension-reliever, but if you have played the game you'll enjoy it on a whole other level.

KARL URBAN: I'm very happy. I'm still kind of buzzing from seeing it. You know, I've never seen a film quite like it. Literally, once we get started there's a build-up of about 5 minutes and then BANG, you're into it. It's relentless. It doesn't let go. It just really grabs you by the nuts.

QUINT: For clarification, this is based mostly on DOOM 3, right?

KARL URBAN: Right.

QUINT: If you had to focus on one thing that you do in the movie that'll appeal to the gamers the most, what would it be?

KARL URBAN: Definitely First-Person-Shooter. But if I was to expand on that, I think that the fans are going to be relieved to see that aesthetically the look and feel of the film is an honorable one, true to the original material and the film is just dark! I've never seen a film quite like it. I've never seen a film quite like it. It's actually really fucking dark. And it's tense. It's just a trip. It's a ride.

QUINT: Do you think that aspect of it will also appeal to general audiences or do you think they'll grab onto another aspect of the film?

KARL URBAN: People who understand the game, I think, will get off on the whole first-person-shooter aspect of it, but then, of course, beyond that there are some really, really wonderful characters in the film. Al Weaver who plays The Kid is sensational, as is Richard Brake who plays a character called Portman.

There are some really quite despicable examples of humanity in the squad. It's fun. I kind of aliken to a whole lot of kittens tied into a sack and thrown into a pool. It's just that brutal...

QUINT: And they're just that screwed?

KARL URBAN: They are THAT screwed! What's really appealing about it is this is a film about many things. This is a film about the disintegration of this elite squad. It's a film about the rise of a reluctant hero. It's a film about the psychological damage and effects and strain of this hellish scenario and all these people and how they just start to unravel and come apart as all hell breaks loose.

QUINT: What's next for you?

KARL URBAN: At the moment I'm in negotiations to star in a film called OUTLANDER, which is going to be shot in New Zealand and it's a sort of pseudo-science-fiction/Viking film. I've never read anything quite like it, I've never seen anything quite like it. The director is Howard McCain and he has an amazing vision for this movie.

Weta... you know Weta?

QUINT: Oh yeah.

KARL URBAN: They're doing the creatures for the film. They're so phenomenal. They're really continuing to set the standard. So, yeah... I'm just sort of hoping that it'll all come together. I'm pretty excited about it. I think it will be a sort of mini-classic of the genre, it's that good.

QUINT: What's your favorite dirty joke?

KARL URBAN: What's my favorite dirty joke? Hmm... Wait a minute... Okay... How do blondes like their eggs in the morning?

QUINT: How?

KARL URBAN: Unfertilized! What's the first thing a blonde does when she gets up in the morning?

QUINT: Don't know.

KARL URBAN: Goes home.

QUINT: Nice.

KARL URBAN: Or opens the car door and goes home, I dunno...

So, interesting about Hell. I'm a little sad we won't see Hell as Hell, but to me... if they get the atmosphere of the game in there, the creatures as badass as can be and take it as hardcore as they're saying they are, all while keeping it faithful to the source material, then I can forgive not seeing Hell. Matter of fact, it sounds like they're not saying it isn't there, but just not focused upon... Anyway, I can't wait to see the flick. If it's half as awesome as Urban says it is then we're all in for a good time next Halloween!

-Quint





Readers Talkback
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  • July 22, 2005, 5:32 p.m. CST

    the fps sequence sounds cool

    by srh1son

    am i first?

  • July 22, 2005, 5:38 p.m. CST

    I've never seen anything like it!

    by greeneyes

    I've never seen anything like it!I've never seen anything like it!I've never seen anything like it!

  • July 22, 2005, 5:45 p.m. CST

    Sweet. I always held out home for this one.

    by jimmy_009

    Hope it rocks.

  • July 22, 2005, 5:46 p.m. CST

    Horrible game

    by -(heWho)-

    The only way to play it successfully is to scream constantly and not have a heart problem.

  • July 22, 2005, 6:01 p.m. CST

    Urban, "Once it grabs you it just grabs you by the nuts and does

    by Immortal_Fish

    Presumably while eating out your girlfriend.

  • July 22, 2005, 6:02 p.m. CST

    Urban, "Once it grabs you it just grabs you by the nuts and does

    by Immortal_Fish

    Presumably while eating out your girlfriend.

  • July 22, 2005, 6:22 p.m. CST

    So...what if, like me, one doesn't have nuts?

    by cagirl

    What's it going to grab me by and not let go? Presumably ect...

  • At least I hope so. It's got some tough competition like Super Mario Bros, Mortal Kombat Annihilation, House Of The Dead, Street Fighter etc.....

  • At least I hope so. It's got some tough competition like Super Mario Bros, Mortal Kombat Annihilation, House Of The Dead, Street Fighter etc.....

  • July 22, 2005, 6:47 p.m. CST

    ok then Turd

    by cagirl

    I'll tell my husband to be prepared if we go see this one. I'll be grabbed and he'll be eaten out. Damn, it'll be like we're teen agers again!

  • July 22, 2005, 6:48 p.m. CST

    Hey MK1 was pretty good

    by Immortal_Fish

    Loved Scorpion. And Talisa Soto, mmm... Didn't care much for muppet Goro though.

  • July 22, 2005, 7:24 p.m. CST

    This "Karl Urban" is obviously a plant!

    by godoffireinhell

    I have never read anything quite that obvious.

  • July 22, 2005, 7:38 p.m. CST

    Yes, an obvious plant!

    by cagirl

    How dare this guy being interviewed by Quint talk possitivley about the film he worked on!!! Some people!

  • July 22, 2005, 7:40 p.m. CST

    I think Quint is a plant too!

    by cagirl

    now pardon me while I go water my husband. This website has been overun by Triffids!

  • July 22, 2005, 9:21 p.m. CST

    After that haunted wreck of a base on Mars...

    by in6087

    Hell was a fucking relief!

  • July 22, 2005, 9:33 p.m. CST

    Clearly thisTB is dominated by fans of the game with a sense of

    by Immortal_Fish

    ...so what do you folks think about the 'meaning' of hell? Clearly, it ain't the hell leaded by the same individual Mick was singing about. Is hell just a grayish metaphor here, sans black and white? Sure, war is hell. We know this. Wasn't that what Space: Above and Beyond was all about? And as gamers, do we really want to see Melrose Space without the love triangles?

  • July 22, 2005, 9:34 p.m. CST

    Did I just write 'leaded'?

    by Immortal_Fish

    I hang my head in utter shame.

  • July 22, 2005, 9:45 p.m. CST

    I still don't follow the "disinformation" or "misinformation

    by Gheorghe Zamfir

    For as long as this movie has been in production, we've been told no Mars, no demons, in fact that's what the DarkHorizon guys were told when they went and visited the set (it was on Olduvia or something). I wonder if they've just changed the things last minute to appease some of the fans, the whole movie takes place indoors anyways, so calling it Mars or Olduvia probably doesn't make any difference as far as the filming goes (which also means its probably not anything worth bitching about anyways), so it wouldn't be a big deal to change last minute, and as for no hell, from the interview it sounds like that's still the case, up to now we've been told its some super virus that caused people to mutate, I'm guessing the plopped in some scene we're they vaguely hint that the super virus might be from Hell, in one of its "multitude of forms" (whatever that's supposed to mean), but the press guys behind the movie have told all their stars NOT to say Hell isn't in the movie, to avoid fan bitching jsut start calling the mutants in the movies demons (like the Pinky "demon" Urban's talking about, according to one of the set reports on Dark Horizons that's a technician character who had a cybernetic wheelchair and later mutates). Though I'm not much of a gamer so its not a terribly big deal to me, I can enjoy the movie either way if its good, just think its curious the 180 this movie seems to have taken in the last week or so, and I gotta wonder how much is genuine and how much is just last minute BS.

  • July 22, 2005, 10:47 p.m. CST

    if i saw karl urban in a reflection, i'd shoot him too

    by white owl

    he's a stale kiwi, and i've never hated anyone quite like him

  • July 22, 2005, 10:47 p.m. CST

    if i saw karl urban in a reflection, i'd shoot him too

    by white owl

    he's a stale kiwi, and i've never hated anyone quite like him

  • July 22, 2005, 10:48 p.m. CST

    there.. now the joke has run its course

    by white owl

    stfu and start praising the greatness that is doom

  • July 23, 2005, 1:09 a.m. CST

    Disinformation?!

    by prevert

  • July 23, 2005, 1:10 a.m. CST

    Disinformation?!

    by prevert

    Thats not Karl Urban, its George Bush!

  • July 23, 2005, 1:20 a.m. CST

    "What yield!?"

    by Bob of the Shire

    RE: Apocalypse 4 LIFE B!TCH3Z

  • July 23, 2005, 1:43 a.m. CST

    HELL is just some strange other dimension, I mean, it COULD be h

    by zillabeast

    Even it the game it leaves it up to you as to where the hell those demons really come from. I hope they stay true to that in the movie. I especially hope we get some wicked scenes in the "Hell" dimension like you do in the game, too!!!

  • July 23, 2005, 4:40 a.m. CST

    bob of the shire

    by deadphishiy2

    That was hilarious.. and might i add Alice: Why are we doing this we used to be friends! Before your whole biochemistry was torn to shreds and injected with vile toxins and become a warmongering monster anyway.. Nemesis: *HA!* you know you're right, this is crazy!

  • July 23, 2005, 6:25 a.m. CST

    Isn't Urban Vin Diesel's DL lover?

    by Mr. Profit

    According to blind items all over the tabloids from when Chronicles of Riddick came out. They mentioned a failing bald action hero who was the star of an unnecessary sci fi sequel fucking his "hunky" co-star. It was mad obvious. So yeah, Urban is Diesel's bottom bitch. I'll still see Doom though.

  • July 23, 2005, 8:32 a.m. CST

    Lando

    by cagirl

    No offense taken. If my Labia can survive giving birth to a child and return to their original I guess they will survive doom grabbing and hanging on. I AM insulted about the catgirl thing though...that movie sucks more than I do when hubby gets me drunk!

  • July 23, 2005, 8:44 a.m. CST

    Karl Urban

    by sactoda

    I am not sure about the movie. But I would watch it for Karl Urban and The Rock. Donna A.

  • July 23, 2005, 12:54 p.m. CST

    I totally agree with you sactoda

    by Jugs

    Karl Urban is a hot long haired blonde on a horse!

  • July 23, 2005, 1:03 p.m. CST

    Karl Urban looks

    by Neosamurai85

    A lot like something... either an animal or a puppet or and animal pupett. At first I was thinking he looked like a horse and was going to make a play on words with what Jugs said... (he's a hot long haired blond horse on a horse that likes his eggs unfertalized) but than I realized that wasn't it. Than I thought maybe an ewok... but that wasn't it either... I swear he looks like something though. Am I alone on this? Peace.

  • July 23, 2005, 1:09 p.m. CST

    Looking at his picture on IMDB...

    by Neosamurai85

    Could it be Didymus? Hmmm... I think I'm getting closer. Peace.

  • July 23, 2005, 1:18 p.m. CST

    After looking at all the IMDB pics... DAMN...

    by Neosamurai85

    He looks different in every one of em! I didn't even recognise him in Ghost World (granted that movie was kind of an insult to one's senses!) and I avoided Riddick so that was a surprise. Seeing him in that armor in Riddick though... with a better hair cut I could REALLY see him pulling Doom off a lot better than I thought prior. Guess I'll have to drop my pursuit of his animal/puppet resemblance... oh well... Peace.

  • July 23, 2005, 5:26 p.m. CST

    "...true to the original material"

    by seppukudkurosawa

    Is it just me or was there almost nothing to remain true to in the original material in the first place? As far as Urban's concerned, I checked him out on the LOTR extras in the special editions and he seemed too dry and serious for me, in fact he was like an ego-blown weak-spot in the movies themselves. I was just reading Ivanhoe the other day and it occurred to me that Bernie Hill really got the King Richard, fighting king of valour thang down pat. While Karl just kinda irritated me for some reason. I dunno, maybe minus his Aryan pretty-boy locks he'll be better in doom.

  • July 23, 2005, 11:01 p.m. CST

    About hell in Doom

    by Neosamurai85

    I seemed like hell was a much stronger theme of the sequel than the first Doom. Since they have only mentioned The Baron of Hell, and not the Cyber Demon... Makes sense that we would only get sugestions in this outing instead of the fire and brimestone. I hope they bring back some of the corpse art from the originals. Nothing like opening a door to a body hanging from a hook (one of the tamer bits really) to make one uneased about what is around the corner. Peace.

  • July 24, 2005, 1:39 a.m. CST

    Disappointed

    by lasadorian

    gimme a break.. The art design is a million times better due to technology and expectations. Every monster has been improved.. The imp is now near amazing instead of a lame bright brown thing with spikers that throws boring orbs at you.. wow scary.. now it creeps out of the darkness with no warning and makes you jump.. the pinky is better 10 times over now due to its hella believable form over the silly old version.. the zombies were everywhere in 1 and 2... everywhere... you couldnt shit without running into a zombie.. so that arguement is mute.. The sound design is a bit better then the same old i found this cool door noise in developer/movie makers sound disc v.1 ... gimme a break the soudn they used back then is so over used in movies and games.. The new batch actually freaks you out a bit.. If you dont like doom3 thats not a big deal but to call the originals better is laughable... In this day and age we play through games like halflife and halflife2 that actually involve plot, doom3 has a mars being overun by hell and one marine needs to get out alive.. thats it...not amazing but then again what else does it try to do.. If you are scared by bitmaps and bright rooms just cause theres a pentagram on the floor then i want to live in your popcorn bubble gum inflated ego worth of a world.. ;)

  • July 24, 2005, 4:04 a.m. CST

    prevert

    by Man-in-the-Box

    Disinformation, in the context of espionage, military intelligence, and propaganda, is the spreading of deliberately false information to mislead an enemy as to one's position or course of action. It also includes the distortion of true information in such a way as to render it useless. I don't know if you were implying that there was no such word, so I figured I'd set the record straight.

  • July 24, 2005, 10:59 a.m. CST

    lasadorian

    by Neosamurai85

    In defense of anchorite, Doom may not be scary now. But back in the day it was very ground breaking shit and for those that played it when it first came out

  • July 24, 2005, 12:51 p.m. CST

    Hell is a lonely place

    by Silver_Joo

    Enough with the whole where's Hell thing. Urban's basically trying to say that the film is full of guys getting slaughtered by horrible creatures - thus it would feel like some sort of Hell for them. Just like the mall in Dawn of the Dead becomes a hell, and the planet becomes hell in Aliens. Jesus, don't be so literal. Hell would look crap anyway, it's always fire and tackiness in films. I just want to see grunts murdered horribly and Karl Urban fixing his hair in the mirror. I bet you that FPS sequence won't even be in the film!

  • July 24, 2005, 1:24 p.m. CST

    Thomas Hayden Church is The Chameleon

    by Trevor Goodchild

  • July 24, 2005, 3:51 p.m. CST

    neo

    by lasadorian

    dont get me wrong.. i do agree that doom3 wasnt that great of a game.. but it did make you jump even today more then doom did back then... Maybe i was just a little desensitized growing up.. but the original dooms just werent to scary at least in the jumpy way like doom3 does over and voer again. And trust me it did get predictable...

  • July 24, 2005, 9:06 p.m. CST

    True...

    by Neosamurai85

    Jump factor was never the real thing about doom. It was dread and lingering horror. A lot of us had not seen mutilated bodies like that before Doom. I hear ya man. Peace.

  • July 25, 2005, 8:32 p.m. CST

    doom I & II

    by therightclique

    the original doom was far far far better than doom3. obviously we can't compare the graphic situation. that wouldn't be even remotely fair. however, the design and style of the original doom was so much more inventive and creepy than doom3.. nowhere near as repetitive and predictable. every level had its own feel and you had to learn where you could hide and where you couldn't. in doom3, every level looks exactly the same and its just dimly lit hallways. not nearly the diversity you had in the originals. also, the old games seemed more primeval and uncomfortable. it made you uneasy because the whole atmosphere was unfamiliar. everything about doom3 is familiar, except for the graphics, which makes it nothing more than a overblown technology demo. at least with resurrection of evil, they got some of the design elements back on track and it felt a lot more like the original game and is superior to plain doom3 by a longshot. also, doom had bosses that meant something. doom3 had out of place bosses that were damn near impossible to beat and nowhere near as satisfying or scary. the cyberdemon in the original is the most terrifying game villain i've ever seen. just to hear his thunderous stomping and then turning a corner to find him there, as opposed to just being put in a room with him like in doom3, after which he just sends hordes of the same guys you've been fighting for 9 hours after you. it was just nonsense compared to the original, which was simple, yes, but it got everything right in its simplicity. it didn't mess around.

  • July 29, 2005, 11:54 a.m. CST

    thanks for comments

    by itsme

    Thanks to some of you for your mature comments about Karl Urban. I'm sure this has great relevance to the discussion of Doom.

  • July 31, 2005, 9:38 p.m. CST

    :)

    by Neosamurai85

    Heh, heh... You're quite welcome itsme. Peace.

  • July 31, 2005, 9:39 p.m. CST

    Speaking of which...

    by Neosamurai85

    After seeing the trailer I must say I'm still really bummed about the lack of doom Armor. Karl did look like he could have sported it well, and it was really one of those trademark eleiments of Doom. Peace.