‘Dredd’: Karl Urban Talks Sequels, Removing the Helmet & the ‘Big Lie’

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Karl Urban Talks Dredd Sequels Dredd: Karl Urban Talks Sequels, Removing the Helmet & the Big Lie

When writer Alex Garland was asked about the possibility of a sequel to the upcoming reboot Dredd, his response included everything from talk of a trilogy, to what potential villains and heroes he would like to see in future Dredd films. Unfortunately, Alex Garland has quite a busy schedule coming up, and would most likely not be able to see his vision of the Dark Judges or Satanus come to fruition.

One member of the Dredd production that will hopefully be involved with the property in the future – if it proves successful – is Judge Dredd himself, Karl Urban. Urban has been a staple of the sci-fi and fantasy film genres for quite some time – starring in everything from Lord of the Rings to Star Trek – but it’s Dredd that many fans hope will push him further into the role of action star.

Speaking with IGN, Urban delivers a few hints as to where he would like to see future Dredd films go, and it’s quite a unique counterpoint to the types of ideas Garland was looking to explore. Rather than delve deeper into the IPC Media’s comic rogues gallery, Urban wants to further explore the psyche of Judge Dredd – an obvious choice given he plays the character.

Urban only briefly mentions what that exploration might entail – saying that he’d like to see Dredd question the “big lie” – but it’s certainly exciting territory for longtime fans. In the 2000 AD comics, the “big lie” is the belief that the Judges know what’s best for humanity. Their role as judge, jury, and executioner is one of the more unique qualities of the Dredd storyline, but it also becomes a source of internal conflict for the character of Judge Dredd.

Unable to deal with the “big lie” any longer, Dredd takes what is known in the comics as the “long walk” – a form of exile whereby a judge relinquishes their title and leaves Mega-City One. However, Dredd can’t keep from protecting Mega-City One for too long, especially after the Dark Judges start bringing their own form of justice. There are some of the same elements Garland talked about exploring contained within the concept of the “big lie,” but Urban contextualizes them with the character of Dredd, rather than the exciting story beats audiences look forward to.

Obviously in order to see this storyline through properly, we would hope that Urban had a few more Judge Dredd films under his belt – a proposition he is wholly prepared for. Though, if this film were to be a “one-off” and exist simply as a cult-classic, the actor says he would be “okay” with that too.

Judge Dredd Breaching Room  Dredd: Karl Urban Talks Sequels, Removing the Helmet & the Big Lie

In addition to talk of future storylines, Urban also gave his thoughts on the idea of Dredd removing his iconic helmet somewhere down the road. Though the fact Dredd’s mysterious identity is a major selling point for the first film, the actor says he can see the character removing the helmet at some point in the future. But, in order to preserve the spirit of the comics, Urban hopes that some part of his (Dredd’s) face would remain hidden.

With only ten days left until the release of Dredd in theaters, comic book fans are chomping at the bit to see how the cast and crew portray the classic character. Trailers for the film have done their best to set the film apart from the 1995 Sylvester Stallone vehicle, but shaking that memory is going to be easier said than done.

Dredd releases in theaters on September 21, 2012.


Source: IGN

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  1. Karl caught my attention with his commanding portrayal of the young
    Woodrow Call in Comanche Moon, the prequel of sorts to Lonesome Dove.
    I have liked him in everything and I am really rooting for him and this movie.
    I know they had a lean budget but hopefully less can indeed prove to be more.

  2. Regardless of whether or not this incarnation of Dredd truly matches the iconic character from the comic, it does appear as if the movie will be a critical success at the very least. It has RT approval rating of 95% with 42 positive reviews (that is a pretty large number of critics before the movie has even come out)

    • Karl more than matches it, he embodies it. It’s the most faithful translation of a comic character I’ve ever seen.

      • Yeah. I saw it Saturday and although Mega-city-One is not the exact one from the comics, Dredd himself is 100% true to his comic counterpart.(IMO)

      • That’s not really saying a lot considering your only other movie for comparison is the Stallone version (which had it’s own set of problems).

        And while Urban might very well be channeling the spirit of Dredd and have his personality down, he still doesn’t look like Dredd which is a large part of the over the top experience that the comics brought us.

        • Eh?

          • Sorry, I misread Instant Justice’s post and thought he said it was “the most faithful translation ‘the’ comic character I’ve ever seen”.

            But to boast it is the best adaption of ANY comic book character, considering how many adaptions we have had, I take issue with (especially considering he doesn’t match the iconic look)

            • Don’t be put of by your misgivings. It’s a great film. Not complicated, not overblown, but bleak, grisly with some black humour. Sure it’s not an exact replica of what the comic is, but adaptations aren’t.

              The makers haven’t meddled with the core themes, you can really see a genuine attempt to respect the spirit of Judge Dredd.

              The one weak point (IMO) is the sector chief/chief judge. She didn’t seem to fit and wasn’t authoritative enough, especially for someone ordering Dredd around. But, it’s a very minor quibble in respect to the whole package.

              • *off*

              • As I said in the original post, regardless of what I might think of the look or how well it was adapted, they do seem to have made a well crafted movie judging by initial reviews.

                As long as it’s more respectful of the source material unlike some others *cough* XMFC *cough* I’m sure it will be worth watching.

            • “But to boast it is the best adaption of ANY comic book character, considering how many adaptions we have had, I take issue with (especially considering he doesn’t match the iconic look)”

              That doesn’t mean it’s NOT the best adaptation of a comic character. Dredd is the hardest to translate because it’s such a physical but also minimalist and nuanced role. Urban really nails it persona-wise. The only other ones I think that equal it are Jackie Earle Haley as Rorshach and Heath Ledger as the Joker. Most other performances are either just too one-dimensional or off the mark.

              The uniform is a fine adaptation of Ezquerra’s original design. These are important but secondary to performance.

              • I’m not one who likes using such absolutes like being “the best” considering the subjectivity involved. I also have yet to see it so I can’t judge for myself but how about we meet in the middle and say it’s one of the better (if not best) adaptions? That at least gives you some wiggle room for others being at the top ;)

                I would disagree however that the uniform is a good translation. They have gone very minimalist and taken all those gaudy, over the top elements and made him look more like a member of a SWAT or riot cop team rather than a Judge. Yes, the performance should be first but his iconic look runs a close second. It’s unfortunate if the movie is as good as many say it is, that they couldn’t manage to also match the visuals as well.

                • ‘In my opinion’ it is the ‘absolute best’. I didn’t think I needed to declare that since it’s a forum where its obvious people voice subjective opinion – the only opinion that can exist – so I think it’s a fallacious argument to pick me up on that.

                  As for Dredd’s baroque look; I think it’s still intact. He’s literally covered in fascist emblems: eagle-emblem on shoulder pad, helmet shield, full chest-badge, eagle belt-buckle, complete with black leather, elbow and knee pads, executioner style helmet; that’s a lot of statement on one uniform.

                  It’s really only the eagle-shoulder pad that’s been reduced in size and the badge-chain removed, that’s it. Dredd is still, in essence, Ezquerra’s fasicst biker cop unlike the glitzy ’95 film. That is a very faithful translation and it works really well on-screen.

                  • Well, using such black and white terminology usually has a way of coming back to bite you as you proved yourself by listing 2 other characters that were, in your opinion equal (thus proving that Urban’s performance wasn’t the absolute best).

                    And while all the emblems might be there is some form, he looks almost nothing like his comic book counterpart.

                    You yourself mentioned 3 out of 4 of the most iconic pieces aren’t really there but it is those very over the top elements that defines his look. The helmet is the only kept piece but looks somewhat out of place with the riot cop outfit. In fact, if he took the helmet off I would be hard pressed to see how he looks even remotely like the comic book Dredd.

                    This is how he should look: http://anythingeverythinghere.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/judgedredd2.jpg

                    Can you honestly say the Urban version is a spot on match for that? (someone even did a real “faithful” rendition that looks damn good so it’s not as if it couldn’t have been done http://ic.pics.livejournal.com/hipsterdad/8728643/170299/170299_original.jpg)

                    All that being said, it doesn’t mean the movie still can’t be good, it just doesn’t have the Dredd visuals we have come to know form the comics.

                    • mongoose wrote: “Well, using such black and white terminology usually has a way of coming back to bite you as you proved yourself by listing 2 other characters that were, in your opinion equal (thus proving that Urban’s performance wasn’t the absolute best).”

                      What a ridiculous statement; you can’t prove what I prefer, wrong.
                      All it proves, since we’re talking in subjective terms, is that you don’t agree. If you can’t understand those differences (that what I think is the absolute best is different from yours) then your fighting futility.

                      and those are two or the worst examples of 90′s Dredd you could post to make your point. Not enough of the essence of Ezquerra’s original and wouldn’t work on-screen. The first one has a blue uniform for a start. The second ‘real-life” uniform definitely would not work on-screen (it was used for the old playstation game: http://pics.mobygames.com/images/covers/large/1264371853-00.jpg – it looked too cartoony) which is why things needed to be altered. Things can be oversized in comics/cartoons and work, films with real people have a different logic unless you want a cartoony style like Sin City which I don’t think a mainstream audience would go for with Dredd.

                      mongoose wrote: “You yourself mentioned 3 out of 4 of the most iconic pieces aren’t really there but it is those very over the top elements that defines his look.”

                      I think you’ll find that I didn’t. If you read properly I said ‘the chain’ is the only thing that’s not there and that the eagle pad has been ‘reduced’ not ‘aren’t there’. That’s hardly 3 out of 4 things that aren’t there, it one: the chain. Don’t make things up about what I said, facts will come back to ‘bite you’.

                      I think for any comic character to make its way to the screen with such few changes as Urban’s Dredd is pretty amazing.

                    • Sorry, it’s a silly argument to say that it’s not right because the eagle and shoulder pads are wrong. They tried that angle with the first attempt and it looked like a joke, Stalone himself said he expected the crew to laugh when he arrived on set. Dredd is a comic book character, they are draw – for better or worse – in an exaggerated form for the purpose of recognisability in simplistic print and mono reproduction.

                      That representation linked to wasn’t Dredd until Simon Bisley popped his steroid ridden representations onto the pages of 2000ad – before then Dredd was a man, a tough one, but not an exhibition body builder in skin tight lycra.

                      I don’t get why in all these stupid arguments about faith to the source material none say anything about the apparent lack of Walter the Wobot?

                • If you look at the very early Judge costumes from Prog 2 of 2000AD then you will see that this new adaptation is very close to that original vision. Having been a Dredd fan for a long time I think what the director has done, very cleverly in my opinion, is to use his minimal budget to portray a very early Mega City 1. One in which the blocks are basic and widely spaced with the bikes being a basic design (and not the iconic Lawmaster). If a second film is given the green light then I would hope to see larger blocks, more densely packed, and perhaps development of the costumes and bikes. But I digress. The one thing that is absolutely nailed is the sense that this is a city on the edge, and it is packed with people. The block itself if full of people and this generates a claustrophobia that really adds to the sense of place. Other than that I enjoyed its more languid pace and focus on characterisation (Headley is stunningly vicious). To me it felt like Clint Eastwood in “The Gauntlet” or “Dirty Harry” on which, of course Dredd is based. It made such a refreshing change from the usual superhero story, and was all the better for not being an origin tale. I hope you enjoy it, I did.

  3. Saw DREDD last Friday, the day of its UK release. Loved it! Gloriously gory, Karl Urban was spot on as the droll DREDD, and Anderson was very well played. Lena Heady makes a very plausible psycho. I’d go see it again, I enjoyed it that much!

  4. After a year of watered down movies this is a breath of fresh air. It’s not going to re-invent the wheel but Dredd just works. For a modest budget of 45 million it looks amazing. Karl Urban gives an amazing performance of understatement. All he has to work with is a grimace and yet he just nails it, this is Judge Dredd, this is what he is like. Heady plays one of the most sadistic villans in movie history. There is no good side of Ma Ma, she is pure evil, anyone who gets in her way is considered expendable with no remorse. Thirby is ok, she is basically there to give Dredd some emotional counterpoint, although she seems a little too delicate to be a Judge. The special effects for a modest budget movie are up there with District 9 for quality. The slo mo sequences have a brutal beauty to them, imagine the Matrix bullet time directed by Lars Von Trier. The plot is a little thin, but this minimalist approach works here. This is a day in the life of Dredd, there is no need for tedious origin stories or exposition about “The Judges” and what they stand for. Dredd does not “grow” , he is Dredd, he follows the law and thats it.

    It’s a shocker then, Dredd is one of the best movies of the year, who would have guessed that ? With all the complaining going on about crappy remakes/reboots and sanitized PG13 movies Dredd is something movie goers should support as an example of how it should be done.

    • Very true. It is an awesome movie. I actually felt sad for Ma Ma. I feel, even though she did heinous things, ultimately she herself is a victim.

      • saw this on UK release day and it is epic and it is dredd and at the center is a warrior who is the law.
        it made sense and was a normal day in the life of dredd just a drug bust and re assesing a rookie but what a ride.the raid was good but this was better as it gave us comic loving british readers our british dredd back(no rambos need apply)

      • Nailed it! Very well said. Point aside I did rejoice when she went splat :-) .

  5. This Dredd is how I envision Batman in the Justice League – Abosloute. Even more terrifying when the audience doesnt get a chance tosee who is under the mask.

    • Dredd ‘legally’ kills people, Batman just roughs ‘em up.

      • Dredd & Batman are both symbols. When you take away the alter ego or never reveal who is under the helmet, it makes the symbol stronger.

  6. I hope more sequels happen in future.

    Saw it yesterday morning, absolutely amazing movie. Definitely in my Top Two movies of the year so far having seen a lot of the big movies released already (haven’t seen Expendables 2 yet).

    The fact it reached number 1 in the UK box office over the weekend with £1.5million also helps.

    Retained the violence of the comic books while having some great character development, especially in Judge Anderson. Beautifully shot, wonderfully acted.

    • I agree.

      It’s the best adaptation of a comic-character to the screen I’ve seen. Garland & Urban nail Dredd, from the sardonic wit and intimidation down to the pauses and nuances. Along with violence there’s two great character studies of both Anderson and Dredd with some implicit satire, if you go for that sort of thing.

      This is John Wagner’s & Carlos Ezquerra’s Dredd adapted properly.

  7. the song used in the early trailers killed it for me and his voice sounded like stallone. you guys that say it is good, i will have to take your word and check it out.
    hope it does better than total recall.

    they needed to put anthrax and their song “i am the law” in it.

    • He sounds nothing like Stallone.

      • You say that like its a bad thing “Er erm der low”. Stallne should never have been given that role, especially giving the loving touch the rest of the film had.

    • Why would a promo song put someone off watching a movie?

  8. This look promising. Karl look a lot like stallone in that helmet. “I AM THE LAW!”

  9. stallone used the same style of helmet but thats were it ends this is a newbie dredd alot happens in this movie he seems to be a street judge and alot of the rebuilding and remoulding of the judges has not happened yet.yes dredd has a rep but he is not yet the legend so please more films to build on this brilliant start

  10. One small quibble about how they are portraying the character here. In the comic Dredd is not the burnt out, veteran cop who no longer gives a crap anymore. He is a bit of a martinet,spit and polish type cop. He keeps his helmet and those golden epaulets polished. He would never let them get into the worn dusty looking condition they seem to be in here.

    But having said that. The clean look was used in the first movie and that tanked so maybe this is a good thing.

    • He’s not a ‘burnt-out veteran cop’ in this film either. He may have a scuffed uniform but he’s still the same capable, confidently sardonic and actually quite young Dredd all the way through, and, it’s a depleted city, nothing can be wasted.

      • Plus the dust and dirt could be explained by the opening sequence and then the rest of the movie taking place over the next 24 hours following that.

        • Yeah, Dredd’s eagle is falling off by the end. But I mainly think it was an aesthetic choice to grubby all the uniforms up. Probably to distance itself from the 95 glitter-fest.

          • Damn, that was me. I changed my username to Thor for a joke and forgot to change it back.

      • Agreed. Remember Dredd is in his seventies now!

  11. also in the dredd timeline the city has been badley damaged then rebuilt many many times this is a young dredd in a young mega city it can and will become more sci fi the more the old is distroyed to make way for the new

  12. The worst parts of Robocop was when Peter Weller removed his helmet. Urban never takes it off.

  13. I would love to see a triligy of dredd but if not maybe they could think about making a movie about some of the other strories in 2000ad such as abc warriors, rogue trooper, strontium dog, the vc,s, slaine, robohunter, they are all brilliant characters and would make excellent films.

  14. That is just repeated garbage. Guys the previous judge dredd film went over the big lie. Repeat! Please no. We saw that in the original Judge Dredd film we don’t need just a newer remake of the original. We saw what the big lie is and the long walk. Been there done that.

    • And it was done so well in that film, wasn’t it?