@’s by DREDD 3D’s Karl Urban!!!
AMBUSH BUG (BUG): Is this Karl?
KARL URBAN (KU): Yes, it is. How are you my friend?
BUG: I’m very good. How are you doing today?
KU: Very well, thank you. Yeah, good. It’s a beautiful day here in Chicago.
BUG: Yes, it is. It’s great. Well, I saw the film last night and it really blew me away. It was a fantastic film.
KU: I think it worked out really well.
BUG: Is that the first time you’ve seen it with a crowd or have you seen it in front of people before?
KU: The first time I saw it in its completed form with the fans was at Comic Con and that was the best screening of any movie that I’ve ever been in. They were so into it.
BUG: I’ve heard a lot of rumors that this was definitely a fantastic film to see and it really did pay off. Was there any fear and hesitation in the fact that it has been tried before as a film? That it wouldn’t be received so well by the fans?
KU: I had a certain degree of trepidation about how the character and the material was going to be treated when I heard they were going to reboot Dredd for film, but that was quickly dispelled when I read Alex Garland’s script and discovered the really fun action-packed character driven adaptation, and that’s essentially why I chose to sign on.
BUG: I’m glad you did, because you did a fantastic job with that. You said last night that you’ve been a fan of the comics for a while. What is it about the Judge Dredd character that appeals to you so much?
KU: Many things. The character is an enigma. I like the fact that there’s something held back about his character. He’s kind of at an arm’s length. You know there’s more there. You know that there’s a great depth and maturity and that’s particularly reflective of the later Dredd comics, like ORIGINS and DEAD MAN’S WALK INTO NECROPOLIS. So that appealed to me…the humor really appealed to me, sort of dry often black humor was appealing to me…the world as well, of Mega City One and the inhabitants…the science fiction of it all…all of those things.
BUG: I’ve been a fan of the comic for a very long time and one of the things about the film that I think you guys really did a fantastic job of is it really focuses more on the serialized nature of comics, where it’s not another origin story about a character. There are so many of those in comic book movies today, it feels like this is just more like if you picked up any issue or any series of DREDD, this is what you would get. Was that a conscious effort on your part or the director or the writers’ part? To not do an origin story?
KU: Yes, absolutely. I think that’s exactly the intention that Alex Garland had. He wanted to do a story that was essentially a character, a day in the life of Judge Dredd, and the thing about Dredd is that he’s just a man. He’s not a superhero, so we didn’t have to show, unlike SPIDER-MAN where you see him getting bit by the spider, or you know…BATMAN with all of the training and what leads him to become BATMAN. We just decided to jump right in and we gave you the essential information that you need to know.
BUG: It’s a really fantastic decision on all of your parts. You filmed this in South Africa, right?
KU: That’s correct.
BUG: Was that just a location that was familiar to the director or was there another reason they picked that location?
KU: I think it was a combination of a lot of elements. It’s a world class crew that was available there and the Capetown Studios had just opened, which was a brand new five studio facility just outside of Capetown and we had the entire studio at our disposal, so we built sets in every single studio and would move around from building to building and I think that was a huge part of it. I’m sure also the financial equation worked out favorable for us, where our money could go a lot further there.
BUG: One of the things that I noticed is you’re frowning pretty much through the entire film. Did that start to hurt after a while? I know that if I’m at an event and I have to smile all the time, all of a sudden my cheeks hurt so much, just because you’re smiling so much. Does that work the opposite way as well?
KU: I felt it was important to the character. I think Dredd, as you know having read the comics yourself, he doesn’t smile a whole hell of a lot (aughs). So, you know, it was not something that I labored over too much, but it’s just about really being in the moment and certainly when you wear that leather uniform and the body armor in an eighty plus degree South African summer, that can put you in that kind of mood.
BUG: The voice that you used, it had a hint of Clint Eastwood to it. Did you pattern yourself after him a little bit?
KU: No, I didn’t. What I did do in my research was just read as many Dredd comics as I could and during that research process I discovered one panel in a particular comic that describes Dredd’s voice as being “like a saw cutting through bone.” So that was really the starting point for me, but then I was also aware that in the script Dredd uses his voice in different ways in different situations. You know, sometimes it’s a whisper, some times he’s an intimidator, sometimes it’s in the form of public service announcements…so it had to be versatile.
BUG: Yeah. You have a pretty awesome bike in this film as well. Did you actually get to ride that around or was that a stunt guy?
KU: I did. I did ride that around, and it was so much fun. I think sometimes you get the opportunity to do things in a movie where you just can’t believe that they are actually letting you do it. One of those was doing the Moscow car chase in BOURNE SUPREMACY and them actually allowing me to execute the reverse one-eighty in the streets of Moscow. Another one was riding the Dredd bike through the streets doing that car chase in full Dredd uniform. That was really fun.
BUG: I was going to ask this at the Q&A, but I figured I would save it for my interview. If you had an opportunity to take the Slo-Mo drug that is in this film, what moment would you like to slow down to that level?
KU: I don’t think I would actually like to take that drug (laughs). It’s not my cup of tea at all.
BUG: Fair enough. Well, you did mentioned last night that you were going to be possibly filming a little bit in the next RED? The RED sequel?
KU: I heard a rumor, but nothing’s confirmed and I’d certainly love to come back and reprise the role, because we had a lot of fun making RED and it went down well. So we’ll see.
BUG: I really liked your answer last night about playing villains and heroes. Can you give me a little bit of your philosophy behind doing both?
KU: Yeah, well I guess I enjoyed having the opportunity to play both characters on the darker side of the spectrum as well as more traditional heroes, and certainly Dredd represented a wonderful opportunity to play a character who, while he is heroic and brave and protects people, there’s also a very dark side to him. He is a representative of a totalitarian form of government and that to me is really interesting, and in later comics he starts to question that whole system and I found that interesting, but those characters, I guess both heroes and villains are able to do and say the things that we never normally would in real life and for me that’s the great thing about playing both. For example, in a given situation Dredd will walk right into danger, where you and I would be running in the opposite direction.
BUG: I wanted to talk about the possibility of a sequel. Do you have a contract for any kind of sequel or is this a one movie to the next basis?
KU: You know, it’s really too early to speculate. Obviously this film has to find an audience and judging by the early response we are in really great shape(laughs). People really love this film and are having a lot of fun with it and that’s the way it’s supposed to be. Look, if we get the opportunity to make more, I would love to, but if that doesn’t happen and DREDD is a one off film, then it’s a cult classic and I’m good with that too.
BUG: And you mentioned Judge Death and your affinity to that character. What is it about Judge Death? I would die to see that on film. What is it about that character that you like so much?
KU: I think it’s his vulnerability that I find appealing, just so scary to have…I mean, Judge Death is already dead and he’s one of Dredd’s greatest adversaries. How do you kill or contain something that’s pure evil and already dead and has so many supernatural ways of creating chaos and disorder? To me that’s just infinitely interesting and I just think that Dredd story where it normally ends up with Anderson is a good one. But that being said, there’s also…if I was older I’d love to do DEAD MAN’S WALK INTO NECROPOLIS, and that’s really a great story, or even ORIGINS. But I don’t know, with what we were talking before about what you liked about it being a one off kind of day in the life of, there’s something also appealing about that. Maybe a new story would work well, but it’s still early days.
BUG: I was talking with a buddy of mine afterwards and he made the point of saying that you didn’t really get to know any of the origin of Indiana Jones until like the third film, and I don’t think RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK or TEMPLE OF DOOM are lesser films because of that, and that’s the reason why I liked this, because it felt more like a serial, more of “this is what Dredd is and this is what he does and this is the beginning and ending of a story.”
KU: That’s a really good point. I hadn’t thought of that before. That’s a really good point. I mean I’ve often seen sometimes in movies like THE DARK KNIGHT that don’t set up the Joker, he comes in fully formed and you don’t question it, because he’s just so blindingly brilliant, so you’re like “Okay, I’ll go along with this ride.” But you’re right, there is something about the serialization and how they used to do heroes when you made them fully formed and you don’t question it, you get it and you just have fun and go along for the ride. That’s what DREDD is.
BUG: Definitely. Well, I know you are sworn to secrecy, but I have to just ask one STAR TREK question.
KU: We wrapped the film at the beginning of May and I believe it’s coming out in May of next year.
BUG: Is there an approach to Bones that you’re doing differently this time?
KU: The great thing about coming back to do the sequel is all of the characters are established and now we get to spend more time with them and take them on a journey.
BUG: Fair enough. It was worth a try.
KU: I’m sorry, man (laughs).
BUG: Yeah, I know you can’t say much about it…but thanks so much for taking the time and thanks so much for coming to Chicago. It was a fantastic night last night, and good luck with the film.
KU: Thank you very much. Take care, mate.
BUG: DREDD 3D opens tomorrow. I thought it was a really great example of how a non-origin story superhero film can be made. See it and let me know what you think.
Ambush Bug is Mark L. Miller, original @$$Hole/wordslinger/reviewer/co-editor of AICN Comics for over ten years. He has written comics such as MUSCLES & FIGHTS, MUSCLES & FRIGHTS, VINCENT PRICE PRESENTS TINGLERS & WITCHFINDER GENERAL, THE DEATHSPORT GAMES, WONDERLAND ANNUAL 2010 & NANNY & HANK (soon to be made into a feature film from Uptown 6 Films). He is also a regular writer for FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND & has co-written their first ever comic book LUNA: ORDER OF THE WEREWOLF (to be released in late 2012 as an 100-pg original graphic novel). Mark has just announced his new comic book miniseries GRIMM FAIRY TALES PRESENTS THE JUNGLE BOOK from Zenescope Entertainment to be released March-August 2012. Also look for Mark's exciting arc on GRIMM FAIRY TALES #76-80 which begins in August 2012.
Proofs, co-edits & common sense provided by Sleazy G