JUDGE DREDD Creator John Wagner Comments on New Film, DREDD

     January 19, 2012

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In a rare interview with Judge Dredd comics creator, John Wagner, the writer reflected on the history of his creation and revealed just how excited he is for the new film, Dredd, starring Karl Urban (Star Trek). A British comic strip created by Wagner and artist Carlos Ezquerra for the sci-fi anthology “2000 AD,” Dredd was originally, according to Wagner:

“a very two-dimensional character, a vehicle for extreme behavior in an extreme society, more of a robot than a man. Today he’s more rounded, more human, a man capable of introspection, of questioning his own beliefs.”

“Two-dimensional” would be a kind description for the previous feature: the 1995 Judge Dredd starring Sylvester Stallone. Wagner gave his thoughts on that performance, as well as why he’s looking forward to the new version. Hit the jump for much more.

karl-urban-judge-dreddHeroComplex recently held the interview with Wagner and it can be read in its entirety here. He had a lot to say concerning the history of the character and how he’s changed over the years, as well as what he would have changed storywise. Regarding the Stallone-version of Judge Dredd, Wagner said the following:

“They told the wrong story — it didn’t have that much to do with Dredd the character as we know him. I don’t think Stallone was a bad Dredd, though it would have been better and lent him more cred if he hadn’t revealed his face. He was just Dredd in the wrong story. I envy their budget, though. Some of the CGI was very good, and the re-creations of the Angel Gang and the robot. The robot actually came from a [Judge Dredd editor] Pat Mills story and didn’t belong in Dredd, but it looked good. If the plot had revolved around characters like them the film would have been more successful.”

judge-dredd-lawmaster-bike-set-photoNow, compare that to what he’s saying about the Urban-version:

“The plot is about Dredd and his world. It’s impossible to cover every aspect of the character and his city – perhaps that was one of the failings of the first film; they tried to do too much and ended up with not a lot. Dredd homes in on the essential job of judging – instant justice in a violent future city. I like the actors, they’re well cast and they handled their parts well. Olivia Thirlby (Juno) is perfect as Anderson, the young psi judge. She gives the character a touching vulnerability. Karl Urban will not remove his helmet and will not kiss his costar.”

That should make a lot of Dredd fans happy and it sounds like this could be a solid start to a worthwhile franchise. Dredd, directed by Pete Travis (Vantage Point) stars Urban, Thirlby and Lena Headey (300) and opens September 21st. You can get caught up on all of our previous Dredd coverage here.

Here’s the official synopsis for Dredd:

DREDD takes us to the wild streets of Mega City One, the lone oasis of quasi-civilization on Cursed Earth. Judge Dredd (Karl Urban) is the most feared of elite Street Judges, with the power to enforce the law, sentence offenders and execute them on the spot – if necessary. The endlessly inventive mind of writer Alex Garland and the frenetic vision of director Peter Travis bring DREDD to life as a futuristic neo-noir action film that returns the celebrated character to the dark, visceral incarnation from John Wagner and Carlos Ezquerra’s revered comic strip.

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