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Comics of Asian Descent Put Themselves Onstage via @NYTimes

‘Dredd 3D’: 3 questions with Karl Urban

Karl Urban plays the character of Judge Dredd on ‘Dredd 3DLionsgate Rated R film, where in a violent futuristic city the police have the authority to act as judge, jury and executioner; he teams up with Anderson (Olivia Thirlby) a trainee to take down a gang that deals a reality-altering drug, called SLO-MO.

The film is derived from John Wagner and Carlos Ezquerra successful comic book from the 70’s. Sylvester Stallone played this same character in the film ‘Judge Dredd’ from 1995, which didn’t do so well, but fortunately this one redeems it, as it is one of the best 3D action films that we’ve seen all year thanks to director Pete Travis’ work. I had the opportunity to chat with the star of the film; Karl Urban where he told me about the challenges he encountered as well as what attracted him to the film and the talk of possible sequels. (SBC): Was it a challenge to play Judge Dredd, your Robocop type character?

Karl Urban (KU): Sure, specially given the fact that I didn’t have the use of my eyes. When the character was created back in ’75 [he] never removed his helmet or revealed his identity, so it was important that we stay true to that. Communicating with the audience was a challenge, as well as the physical aspects of doing all that action with a full motorbike outfit in the middle of an African summer. It was also a challenge to find his humanity, as he’s a highly trained individual who doesn’t express his emotions, so it was important to in a subtle way find the spots that humanize him. It was important to find where his compassion was, where he chooses not to kill people.

– [It’s interesting] that you mention Robocop because with Dredd it all comes full circle, as that’s where Robocop got its inspiration, so it’s funny that people are saying that. I guess, the thing about Dredd that [called] my attention is that he’s just a man, he doesn’t have super powers, and he doesn’t have anything that enhances his abilities, just his own personal training. His bravery is defined by the fact that he’s going into dangerous situations and everyone else is running in the opposite direction.

SBC: Are you afraid at all about what the fans of the comic strip will say about the movie?

KU: Not at all. In fact I’ve been monitoring the response online and I’m pleased to say that the die-hard fans are loving this film. This is the film they’ve been waiting for the last 35 years and we’ve really treated the character with authenticity and respect and while we may not have had the budget of a big Hollywood film to do everything exactly the way it was created in the comics, the character of Dredd is exactly the way he is in the comic. We were fortunate; we had some creative and talented people working on this. Our cinematographer Anthony Dod Mantle won the Oscar for ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ and he brought a real artistic style to the movie. The 3D is amazing. I mean, I’ve never seen anything like it and people are raving about it. If you’re going to see this movie, you have to see it in 3D.

SBC: You are obviously very proud of how the movie came out. There’s rumors of sequels, would you be interested in being part of them?

KU: I certainly would, but I feel that to seriously contemplate that would be getting ahead of myself. We got to release this film and find an audience. So, if people go to it and enjoy it, then I’m sure we’ll be back and make some more. But it is a wonderful film and I’m very proud of [it], it’s going to be enjoyed for generations to come. I had a really good time working on this project, I really enjoyed working with Olivia, she’s an extraordinary actor; she’s the heart of this movie. I really enjoyed working with Alex Garland as well; he’s a fantastic writer and creator.

On a last note, we’ll see this New Zealander next in ‘Star Trek Into the Darkness’, which will be out in May 2013, and then in the ‘Chronicles of Riddick’ sequel, which he told me rocks and audiences will be in for a treat!

‘Dredd 3D’ is released Friday, September 21st. To see the trailer, poster and pics of the film, click here.

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