The 2012 film Dredd was not a major hit at the box office, but the artful comic book adaptation built up a legion of fans and has now taken on something of a cult hit status. The project originated with writer and producer Alex Garland, who started working on the script while in post-production on his Danny Boyle sci-fi film Sunshine, and reports swirled that Garland had a strong hand in bringing the finished version of Dredd to the screen. Well now the film’s star, Karl Urban, has spilled the beans on one of the worst-kept secrets in Hollywood: Garland actually directed much of Dredd himself.
Indeed while Garland is now hailed as a terrific filmmaker in his own right, following his Oscar-winning directorial debut Ex Machina with this year’s mind-bending and critically acclaimed Annihilation, at the time of making Dredd Garland had not officially directed a movie himself. But speaking with JoBlo, Urban credits much of the film’s success directly to Garland:
“I would love to have the opportunity to play Dredd again, but if it doesn’t happen then I’m happy with the fact that we’ve made a film that has become a cult classic and that people have discovered over time. A huge part of the success of Dredd is in fact due to Alex Garland and what a lot of people don’t realize is that Alex Garland actually directed that movie.”
Urban went on to say folks should consider Dredd Garland’s directorial debut, noting that he’d love to have Garland officially directing a Dredd 2:
“That would rock my world. I just hope when people think of Alex Garland’s filmography that Dredd is the first film that he made before Ex Machina. You think about it in those terms; it goes Dredd, Ex Machina, Annihilation.”
There’s certainly been plenty of talk about a Dredd sequel, but given the film’s lackluster box office it’s far from a sure thing. Moreover, Garland himself has said he’s now kind of disinterested in revisiting that universe, so it seems unlikely—at least with Garland at the helm.
The production of Dredd was curious to say the least, as the film’s credited director Pete Travis was reportedly “prohibited” from participating in the editing process due to creative disagreements with the film’s producers and executives. Things went so far as to Garland potentially seeking a co-director credit, but Garland and Davis eventually released a joint statement claiming they had agreed to “an unorthodox collaboration” before production began, that Travis would remain involved, and that Garland would not be seeking a co-director credit.
But now Urban has vocalized what many had been hearing for years, that Garland did in fact direct much of Dredd himself and was likely the main creative force on that film. Which is just further proof that this guy is one of the most exciting filmmakers working today.