Chances are you grew up watching "The Simpsons." So imagine what it'd be like if one day you were offered a role playing Bart (or Maggie) Simpson in a Hollywood blockbuster. Hey, it could happen …
That's sort of what's happened to Karl Urban. The action star best known as Éomer in "Lord of the Rings" and Bones in 2009's "Star Trek" grew up reading the "Judge Dredd" comics as a youth in New Zealand. Now, some 20-odd years later, he's the man behind the mask in the buzzed-about reboot "Dredd 3D."
And no, unlike with Sly Stallone's unfortunate 1995 version of "Judge Dredd," you will not see Urban's full face in this movie.
You've said you've been a "Dredd" fan since you were a teen. So was this your dream role?
No, I wouldn't say it's been a long time dream. I never envisioned when I was reading that comic as a 17-year-old that I would have the opportunity to actually play the character. I never dreamt about playing the character … It was just a comic that I really liked. I didn't read many comics besides that and Frank Miller's "Dark Knight," and "Dredd" you could buy at the local store. So it was accessible and I found it engaging.
But to be given the opportunity to play the character, it took me a bit to wrap my head around the fact that this could be a possibility. And then I became very engaged in the process of making it happen.
Was there some nostalgia there for you? Did you find yourself reminiscing back to teenage years?
Yeah, definitely. I think that was one of the bonuses about getting the role. In the research phase, I reread all those comics that I read as a kid. And, in turn, that made me remember about those times. The bonus is that I also discovered a whole raft of additional Dredd stories that had been written subsequent to my reading the comic. And I discovered a wonderful depth and maturity that had evolved in the writing, and that had evolved within the character of Dredd.
Any time Hollywood delivers a reboot or remake, there's some inevitable cynicism from a certain segment of the fan base. What do you say to those people?
I would say to them, come and give this movie a go. Don't just take my word for it. Check out the reviews. Check out what people are saying about this movie. This movie is something different. It's something extraordinary. There's something quite special about this movie.
Also Check Out: Our 'Dredd 3D' Giveaway Lays Down the Law
What were your thoughts on the 1995 version starring Sylvester Stallone? I assume you saw it.
Yeah, I remember going to see that film when it came out. Um … It was a different take. It was a film that was a product of its time. Tonally these films couldn't be more different. Ours is a lot edgier, darker, grittier. In many ways [it's] more authentic, character-wise.
So did you practice any of your one-liners in the mirror?
No. It'd be a mistake for any actor to stand in front of the mirror and practice. That'd be a really bad move.