Dredd’s Karl Urban talks acting inside the helmet: “You have to look at all the other tools that are available to you” (video)

Karl Urban is dedicated to avoiding Sylvester Stallone’s work in the original 1995 Judge Dredd

“When I read the script it became obvious to me that what we were endeavoring to do was completely different,” the actor, best known for his role in Star Trek, said.  “Tonally, you couldn’t get more different.  Going into this movie I watched the Stallone version to see what worked and what didn’t work, and the way that I wanted to approach the character was to not have the character be a posturing, bellowing character that was kind of grounded in ego.  That wasn’t the Dredd that I knew.  To me it was far more interesting to have a character with this inner rage and struggling to contain it rather than letting it all explode.”

When Urban decided to take on the iconic role, he didn’t consider how the film would be received.  “I didn’t think about how this movie was going to be perceived for the relevance of it when I was making it,” he told NBC New York.  “To me, my mission in this was just to a) honor the creation that [John] Wagner and Carlos Esquerra created back in ’75 as best I could, and b) service the script and be in the moment and make the best film that we could. Everything that kind of happens after it, it’s not something that’s really on my radar.  That’s not for me to pull it apart and analyze it.  I just wanted it to be a good, fun piece of entertainment.”

That’s not to say that Urban didn’t take the preparation for the role seriously.  “I spent 13 weeks in the gym lifting heavy things, eating seven times a day just to get physically where I needed to be with the character, to feel like the character,” he said.  “Then there was the part of the process which I liked the most, which was the investigative part.  That was getting my hands on every graphic novel that I could.”

Urban revealed that the number one difference between the two films would be that his character would keep the helmet on in the entire movie—a factor that made fans deeply disappointed with the original. “My agent called me up and said, ‘Would you be interested in Judge Dredd?’  I was like, ‘Oh, yeah.  Send me the script.’  I read it and I was immediately relieved to discover that the character kept the helmet on.”

However, keeping the helmet on provided Urban with some additional obstacles.  “You have to look at all the other tools that are available to you,” he said.  “Your voice becomes extremely important, and in my research I discovered a passage in one of the comics, which described Dredd’s voice as a saw cutting through bone, so that was kind of the starting point for my character.  What you sort of feel and hear in the movie is my sort of approximation of what that is, and also, before, I wanted to do something that was distinctly different from the shouting, bellowing Dredd.  That was of no interest to me.

“So that’s how that sort of evolved.  Other tools: obviously the physicality.  What can I express with my movement, the weariness, when he is tired, when he is struggling to really contain his rage?  And then it’s really important to identify where the humor lies.  That’s one of the things that I loved in the comic, just that really dry, dark humor, so that became an important element as well.”

Dredd opens in theaters this weekend.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Latest Videos

http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/director-david-gordon-greene-nar.jpg
Director David Gordon Green Narrates a Scene From ‘Joe’
Director David Gordon Green narrates a sequence from his new film, Joe, featuring Nicolas Cage and Tye Sheridan. In the video, he mentions his reasons why he likes to hire non-traditional actors. He likes people who have real skill-sets and not actors who have the skills on their resume. He also talked about this in […]
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/david-gordon-green-joe.jpg
Director David Gordon Green: “I find actors in unusual places”
I keep missing screenings of director David Gordon Greene‘s new film, Joe. I hear it’s really good so I’m looking forward to catching it at some point. Joe stars Nicholas Cage as ex-con Joe Ransom, who isn’t the greatest of role models until he meets a 15-year-old boy (Mud‘s Tye Sheridan). In this featurette, Green […]
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/judy-greer-i-dont-know-why-you-know-me-from.jpg
Please Don’t Say These Things To Judy Greer (video)
Judy Greer - who we love here at Daily Actor – has a new book called, I Don’t Know What You Know Me From (Confessions of a Co-Star), a series of essays about her life as an actress, friend and someone who everyone thinks they might know. Here’s a blurb about the book: “Want to […]
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/Captain-America-SamuelNick-Fury.jpg
How Samuel L. Jackson Learns His Lines for the Marvel Movies (video)
Samuel L. Jackson stopped by Good Morning America earlier this week to talk about Captain America: The Winter Soldier – which is terrific, by the way – and he told Robin Roberts that for the first Cap film, he had trouble learning his lines. “I sat at home and I did all my studying, and […]
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/andy-karl-margot-seibert-rocky.jpg
Andy Karl and Margo Seibert Talk ‘Rocky: The Musical’ on ‘Today’
Andy Karl and Margo Seibert, the stars of Rocky: The Musical, talked to Today‘s Matt Lauer about the new Broadway musical. Karl talks about the final fight and taking on the iconic role. This is Seibert’s Broadway debut and she’s asked about her callbacks (9 in all!) and more. Check it out!