Karl Urban Talks Judge Dredd

Published 5 years ago by

judge dredd2 Karl Urban Talks Judge Dredd

Not that long ago we brought you news that Karl Urban was circling the lead role in Judge Dredd. The actor has been out promoting Red and Priest at Comic-Con and he spilled the beans about his views on the character and the type of direction the comic book adaptation will go.

Movieline caught up with the actor at Comic-Con and they quizzed him on the project. It appears that the Lord of the Rings actor is a long time fan of the Mega City law enforcer:

“I’ve been reading Dredd for over 25 years. When I was 15 years old working in the pizza parlor, the manager I worked for was heavily into it, and he switched me on to it. It was interesting for me that at a time when I was a teenager rebelling against all the things a teenager rebels against and doing all the things that one does, one of my heroes was this authoritarian, staunch, hardass representative of the law. I was already a fan of futuristic science-fiction worlds, so for me, I naturally gravitated towards the characters. I felt [John] Wagner really created this enigmatic, iconic character, and infused him with just an indomitable attitude and these witty one-liners. It’s an opportunity that is one that I’m thrilled to embark on.”

00000001dh055 star trek xi  Karl Urban Talks Judge Dredd

He also passionately stated that in no way would Dredd remove his helmet in the film:

“It’s going to be hardcore and gritty. I feel most happy for fans of Dredd who are finally going to get the Dredd movie they so richly deserve. I can tell you that hypothetically — and this just gives you an idea of where our heads are collectively at — if I was to go see a movie called Judge Dredd, and the actor who played Judge Dredd was to take his helmet off and full-on reveal his face and identity, I would puke in my popcorn.”

It seems that Urban is happy with the direction that the film is headed – even though it’s only in the pre-production stage:

“I can’t say too much about it because we’re in the very early process of locking it down and making it happen, but I can say that the producers behind this movie are being 100% faithful to the source material. The creator is involved as a consultant, and the artist, Jock, who’s done some incredible work…he’s also involved in the development stage. I can tell you that in no way, shape, or form is it related to any other movie that’s come out called Judge Dredd.”

It looks like the future is going to be good for fans of Judge Dredd. If Urban is indeed the fan that he says he is, and if the film stays true to its roots, then this could be a pretty good comic book adaptation.

[EDITORS NOTE: KOFI OUTLAW] – What I especially like is the fact that Urban (and hopefully the filmmakers behind this reboot) seemed to have analyzed everything about the 1995 Sylvester Stallone movie adaptation of the character that didn’t go over well with fans, and are committed to correcting those missteps. I know that back in ’95, I went into that movie knowing very little about Judge Dredd other than the little bits my older brother told me about – badass hardcore cop/jury/executioner all rolled in one. ‘

Imagine my surprise then when I bore witness to Stallone playing up a “dramatic hero” version of Judge Dredd. Seriously, walking out of the theater I remember saying to myself, “Man, he was only in the costume for like a second! Lame!” Hopefully the second time around will be more impressive – Urban is certainly a good choice for the lead, but movies, by nature, need to have a certain amount of dramatic arch, so the risk for watered-down Dredd is still a very real possibility. We’ll see – [END NOTE]

For more of Urban talking Dredd (that just sounds awesome) head over to Movieline.

Keep reading Screen Rant for more news on Judge Dredd.

Source: Movieline

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  1. Can I just say, I really like the Stallone version. It’s fun, I like the universe its set in, its a good ole fashioned dumb blockbuster movie.

    • I didn’t HATE it, Sam, but I was a little let down – The character had been built up to be a serious badass and I was ready for some hardcore action.

      True Confession: I still watch that film everytime it comes on :-) .

      • As do I, its a complete turn your brain off and enjoy kinda movie. I ‘dredd’ to think how many times i have actually seen it.

        • i agree with both of you

      • Yeah, I’ve got a real love-hate relationship with it. I’ll watch it whenever it’s on. Worth it just for Mean Machine!

        I went to a midnight showing when it came out, the place full of Dredd fans. The movie ended. Total silence. On the way out a guy in front of me turned to one of his mates and said “Well. That was a bit of a mixed bag, wasn’t it?” Sums it up quite nicely.

    • yea i like Stallone’s Version, as you said its a fun film with some decent action and the setting was very cool but its just a shame that he only wore the costume for the 1st 5 or so minutes of the film but id like to see how this new Dredd comes out, it sounds like its gonna be cool and Urban is a very good actor and has deserved way more main roles coz hes a way better actor then Sam Worthington and that guys has had some very very big roles in top films not that iv liked any of them so called top films, the only thing bad i have to say about Urban is that he doesnt have the jaw line to play Dredd but he’l still do a kick ass job ;)

  2. That’s the point exactly though, it was a brainless Judge Dredd movie. Judge Dredd the Comic was never ‘brainless’…unless it was being deliberately ironic.

  3. Bring back Rob Schneider as the plucky side-kick comic relief!

    Kidding. :)

  4. I also enjoyed the first one, mainly because my father worked on it, and I got to take a tour of the set…not because it was actually very good…

    Urban will be great in this role I think.

  5. Everything about the ’95 JUDGE DREDD sucked ass!!
    I have the new script & if this gets made it will be epic in the ROBOCOP, TOTAL RECALL vein!!

    • Urban is 38. I always felt Dredd was maybe in his late 40s. Not much older than that. He’s just led a hard life. Urban doesn’t have the face or voice for Dredd. Maybe they could use prosthetics like they did on Mickey Rourke in Sin City.

      Someone should do a hardcore Dredd cartoon series for Late Night Swim. Would be a good companion piece for Metalocalypse and Frisky Dingo.

      • When Dredd Started back in ’77 the year in the comic was 2099 and Dredd was around about 33 years old. His age wasn’t totally defined ’cause he was born in 2066 but was cloned and speed aged to 5 years old at his birth. Since then unlike most other comic characters Dredd has aged year on year and the date is now around 2132.

        Karl is the perfect age to play Dredd at the start of the movie franchise.

        I’ve also read the script and it was excellent very true to the comic. In response to some other posters talking about an arch. Dredd doesn’t have an arch as such – that’s his whole point, But Anderson Does which is why she’ll also be in the movie.

        • Surprised to hear you say that, Cyclopz. Dredd might not be taking his helmet off in the Alex Garland screenplay, but John Wagner and Alan Grant must be gearing themselves up to see their source material take another battering. I found the script derivative, unambitious, low-budget and low-rent. Tired, nonsensical plot; tedious villain; no satire; f-bombs galore; massively cut-back, scaled-down Mega-City One…and “Peach Tree Block”?? Really?

          • I can see where you’re coming from if you’re not into the script as it is. On the surface it is derivative of Die hard and reads like a rip off of Matrix style bullet time.

            But I’m using my imagination here. It may be using a plot device that has been done, but when it comes to story telling everything under the sun has been done. It comes down to your originality in execution. It is relatively low budget but that’s the trade off between having it watered down and Hollywoodised for a second time.

            The script is fast paced action filled, very hard hitting and violent. But most of all the Characters of Dredd and Anderson are exactly as they should be written. There isn’t so much in the way of Satire – but I heard that Wagner himself is going to be providing a lot of the background satirical detail. The Peach Tree thing does sound a bit silly but it is actually in reference to a historic event that influenced the script.

            I’d just like to see this film do well so we can have a bigger budget sequel with Judge death.

            • I can’t see how they’re going to make the effects of that drug work on screen unless they show the users with sped-up motor reflexes in real time. Doesn’t make sense otherwise.

              I think the 1995 movie bombing led to caution and the low budget on this one. You’re right that Dredd and Anderson are portrayed quite well, but no amount of tinkering with peripheral details will salvage a hackneyed plotline. I hadn’t heard Wagner was involved: what kind of background material did you mean? Not naming the Blocks after celebrities sounds like a satirical detail they missed straight off! What was the Peach Tree/historic event you mentioned?

              I realise the financial risk in giving any audience an unknown quantity, but to me it’s an equal risk to hope that a formulaic storyline hits the mark simply because of a few extra bells and whistles. Likewise though – I’d love to see this do well enough to warrant a sequel they could go berserk on. At some point I want to hear Urban or SOMEone deliver that line “Gaze into the fist of Dredd!”…

    • It’s VERY funny, just in a different way to the movie.

  6. Sounds to me like Karl Urban has a handle on Dredd’s character…now if they’re thinking about putting Judge Anderson in there too…mmmmmmmboy…

  7. Have no idea what plot line they’re taking with this but Anderson would be a nice addition and if going with her why not going with the Judge Death et al plot line…very, very dark, Anderson had a USE and has to be one of the most remembered series.

    • The Judge Death storyline looks to be way beyond their budget, sadly. As pointed out on another thread, the plot they’ve gone with is basically Escape From New York and Die Hard in a Block. Minor episode Dredd.

      The characterisations of Dredd and Anderson aren’t bad, but they’ve done away with the concept of the Psi-Judges as a separate division and made her a one-off telepath.

      • CH-Ch-Chaaannnnges!

        Yeah, Minor episode Dredd But You’ve got to start somewhere. Thats the movie game. Hollywood is a British property with British sensibilities, so first you have to prove that it can be done in that style and make money at the box office. Forget the plot The characters make a story and I have not seen Dredd done properly on the big screen yet. minor changes like psi division won’t actually make a difference to the thrust of the story.

        Budget is a double edged sword, if the budget was over $100 mil it’d have to make twice that to be worth a sequel. If it makes that much at a low budget then a sequel is more likely. Then we’ll definitely get Judge Death.

        Remember the Stallone movie, They tried to do too much too soon and they £uF$ed it up.

        • Although Psi Division is irrelevant to this story, agreed, it’s a minor change that might affect the thrust of a Judge Death story if this one does earn a sequel. Change the nature of Anderson at this stage and the blueprint for the treatment of her character in future Dredd movies has already been drawn. Remember the SJS being done as “Judge Hunters”? The characters DO make a story, and wouldn’t you say Mega-City One is just as much a character as Dredd himself?

          I’m convinced that at least part of the reason the original bombed was that it came out just a year after Demolition Man, which had Stallone and Rob Schneider playing broadly similar characters, and actually did the “satire on dystopian future” thing a lot better.

          • I don’t see the non inclusion of the words Psi Division as changing the nature of the Anderson character at all. She’s still a Judge and she’s still a psychic. If you call a potato an orange its still a potato.

            I also find it annoying when they change little details like that in adaptations but I just have to accept that these are just Fan Boy Quibbles that no-one else will really notice.

            • Ah, but is instant mashed potato really a potato?! And if a tree falls in the forest and Alex Garland’s not there to see it…

              I know what you mean, and I’m not fixated on that one at all, but I can see it maybe causing problems for them further down the line. The one thing I do agree with this screenplay about is not trying to handle something like the Judge Death storyline first time around. Dredd’s world has enough robot, mutant and alien madness to contend with as it is without throwing psychic powers straight into the mix, so I understand why they’ve scaled back on that.

              However! The dynamic between Dredd and Anderson in the comic depends on her being part of a separate unit. She’d never get away with talking to Dredd the way she does, or expressing some of the views she has openly, if she were a lone psychic rookie. That’s a far more interesting character to me.

              I’ll be optimistic though: maybe it turns out there are more psychic judges knocking about than they thought, and she’s instrumental in establishing Psi Division. That’d do.

              • …mass application of psychic powers for the first time which somehow allows the Dark Judges into our dimension. Where’ve you gone, Alex?

        • (Hollywood is a British property) Mistake

          Dredd is a British Property….

          • LOL, I missed that one as well. Got the gist though!

  8. That’s fair enough. Kind of a random one to throw in there, though, isn’t it?

    And LOL, yes indeed – I really had to bite my tongue not to hijack this thread (again) when we’re supposed to be talking about how Karl Urban fits in all this! It’s in the lap of the Judges now…

    • Random in the sense that the analogy doesn’t really work. I’ll shut up now. :-)