Karl Urban Talks PRIEST and STAR TREK 2

     April 19, 2010

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As Dr. Leonard ‘Bones’ McCoy in director J.J. Abrams Star Trek, Karl Urban delivered a fantastic and memorable performance and it’s one even diehard Trek fans loved.  And since before the film got released, fans have wondered what’s the status of the sequel.

As a result, when Paramount announced a June 29, 2012 release date for Star Trek 2 (or whatever it’s called), people have wondered when the film would go into production.   According to Karl Urban, who I recently got to speak with, the film “will start to shoot at the beginning of next year.”  He also talked about director Scott Stewart’s vampire movie Priest.  Hit the jump for what he said on both films:

And just to be clear, what you’re about to read is part of a roundtable interview with a few other journalists.  I’ve been asked to not mention where or when it took place.  Just know I’ll have a lot more with Karl Urban down the road….

Karl Urban  (2).jpgQuestion: Can you talk about who you play in Priest and have you seen dailies?  Have you seen a rough cut?

Karl Urban: I haven’t seen anything. I heard the other day they showed the film to Sam Rami and a bunch of execs over at Sony and they were just really thrilled with it. I’m really looking forward to seeing it. I play a character called Black Hat, who is the villain of the film. I think that’s coming out early next year, I believe.

Did you enjoy playing a villain?

Urban:  I did. The fun things about villains is that they get to do and say those things that we can never do in real life. They walk on that precipice that’s unblinking.  I love that.

Was there any kind of villain that was inspiring that role?  Anybody you pulled from?

Urban:  Well, you know, really it is a big nod back to the silent movie days.  You had westerns, and obviously the villain in the western typically wore a black hat.  So, visually it takes its cue off that.

Is the body language the same? Any twirling of mustaches?

Urban:  No, no.  I think that’s mistake.  You go into a generic area there.  I guess the thing about that character is that he was a former priest and his job was to hunt down vampires.  And then he was captured and turned into one, and found himself on the other side.  And I guess it’s sort of a do or die situation. It’s more fun playing the villain, though, because they’re more complex.  There’s a lot more layers to them.  I would think, as an actor, it’s just much more fun to be the bad guy.

Priest movie poster.jpgIt’s more fun playing the villain though because they’re more complex right?

Urban:  I had a lot of fun on that.  There was, emotionally, quite an interesting complexity about it in terms of the fact that I felt betrayed by Paul Bettany’s character for having let me go.  Him letting me be captured or not killed me.  And there’s interesting layers like that you can infuse.  And the depth of that kind of rage and anger and longing and lust, even.  Wanting Paul Bettany’s character, Priest, to come and join me, and so together, as brothers, they can sort of exterminate humanity.

Killing vampires is just one more thing you can now add to your skill set.

Urban:  Yeah. [laughs]

Vampires seem to be…that whole genre seem to be taking off.  Summit has the Twilight franchise.  “Priest”, “True Blood” – it seems like everybody is making vampire movies.  What do you think is the appeal right now of the vampire genre?

Urban:  I think it’s kind of sexy.  Most definitely after, you know, post “True Blood” and Twilight it’s…yeah, it’s really interesting how that whole genre has taken off.  I think there is something taboo about it and that is always, I think, very attractive.  There is something forbidden about it and sexual, and I think that is a great hook for people.  You always want what you can’t have.

Were you kind of hesitant to take the role because you didn’t want to make it seem like you were jumping on the bandwagon for the genre?

Urban:  No, no I wasn’t at all, actually.  I thought, “Well, I can take that one off. I’ve done that.”  I’d love to…I just want to…You know, that is what interests me.  If I can find something that I haven’t done before, then that is an immediate…it peaks my interest.

What do you think of evolution of your character is going to be like in the next Star Trek?

Urban:  I have no idea.

You haven’t seen a script yet?

Urban:  I haven’t seen the script.  I just know it is going to be good.  I am really looking forward to getting onboard that one.  And I feel now that we have introduced all these great characters and it is just going to be really interesting to see where we can take it.

Will you start shooting soon?

Karl Urban Star Trek movie image (6).jpgUrban:  No, I think it will start to shoot at the beginning of next year.

You’ve signed on for two Trek sequels, right?

Urban:  Correct.  Yes.

Do you see yourself going beyond those two?  Is it going to be just a three movie deal with you guys?

Urban:  Again, I don’t know.  I think that is sort of dependent upon many factors.

Will you get bored with it eventually?  It sounds like you like a new challenge.

Urban:  Yeah.  Well, I mean that is entirely dependent, I guess, on…You know, like anything, whether you are in a long running TV show or a play, if you are running out of new territory or new gold to mine, then sure, that could potentially stagnate.  But the thing, specifically, about Trek is you can have a look at who is involved.  I mean, you know, J.J., and Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman are all incredibly creative.  So I’ve got faith in them.  If it goes beyond three, then, you  know, I’d go for it.

Have you made any requests to the writing to J.J. or any of the other people working on it where you want your character to go?  Have you said something you’d like to be included in the next one?

Urban:  No. I kind of think…you know, I kind of think they are geniuses.  We should just let them do what they do.  Officially bestow a genius label on them and just let them do it.  You know, I’ve just got full faith that whatever they come up with is going to equal and surpass the first installment.

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