Actor Karl Urban said taking on the role of Judge Dredd in the upcoming movie was ‘an extraordinary challenge’ at London’s Comic Con on Saturday (July 7).
Returning to the big screen for the first time since Sylvester Stallone’s much-derided 1995 flop, the 2000 AD comic figure is reborn, with Urban cemented into the title role for a movie that promises plenty of action and thrills.
The New Zealand-born star said looking at the Stallone movie gave him some good pointers.
“I personally actually found it quite handy to look at that film to see what worked and what didn’t work. It really helped me to inform me, as I was approaching the character, about choices I wanted to male and choices I didn’t want to make,” he said Dredd’s helmet remains firmly affixed to his head throughout the entire reboot, with Urban saying the producers warned him about this from the outset, and that it stays true to the comic books.
“You know entering into any film is a challenge and this was an extraordinary challenge. First off the bat, knowing that I wasn’t going to have the benefit and use of my eyes which is such a valuable asset and tool for an actor. And by the way, that’s the way it should be done,” he said, to the approval of the science fiction fans in the audience, who later applauded the statement.
Urban also explained to fans about the gruelling physical schedule he put himself through to prepare for playing the futuristic action hero.
“The first thing I started to do was stop drinking beer and eating hamburgers coupled with the fact that I had to start lifting lots of heavy things multiple times a day - a lot of gym work. I found that quite a daunting proposition. I was working out twice a day, eating six times a day and everytime I would come back and there’s my pile of Dredd comics and there’s this ripped figure just goading me everytime I am looking at this comic,” he told fans.
London’s Comic Con is an annual an event for fans of films and comic memorabilia.
Dredd is released in the UK on September 7 and in the U.S. a fortnight later.
Speaking at London Film and Comic Con 2012, actor Karl Urban candidly revealed that he did watch and study the 1995 Sylvester Stallone Judge Dredd film. Who do think uttered “I am the law” the best?
Mark Julian - 7/10/2012
Said Urban, _”I personally actually found [the previous adaption] quite handy to look at that film to see what worked and what didn’t work. It really helped me to inform me, as I was approaching the character, about choices I wanted to male and choices I didn’t want to make.”_ And as far as his preparation, Urban admitted that acting in a film where his face is 75% covered was a bit of a daunting task. _”You know entering into any film is a challenge and this was an extraordinary challenge. First off the bat, knowing that I wasn’t going to have the benefit and use of my eyes which is such a valuable asset and tool for an actor. And by the way, that’s the way it should be done”_
Running Time: Unknown
Release Date: 21 September 2012 (USA))
MPAA Rating: R
Starring: Karl Urban, Olivia Thirlby and Lena Headey
Directed by: Pete Travis
Written by: Carlos Ezquerra (characters), Alex Garland (screenplay), John Wagner (characters)
Running Time:As a Thank you for your Subscription - Receive a Free copy of my book “Ed-isms” Confirm Your Sub with an email here: email@example.com://dlvr.it/1r0Xfv Subscr Get a Book!
So, other than the pictures, I made a few videos as well, this being the longest. I thought I’d throw it up here, but than it took an age and a half to do so with my shity net, so now I hope the effort was worth it for everyone. :)
The “questioner” asked them to address the issue of Dredd not having a secret civilian life like a proper superhero.
Karl speaks from about 2:24, the first guy is the writer (Alex Garland?). Sorry, Karl stole all my attention. :D
This isn’t really anything because you can’t see very much but I just wanted to get Karl Urban’s introduction during the Dredd panel.
Also we got shown a clip that only one other audience had seen before and I can tell you now that this movie is going to be cool as fuck. It kind of reminded me a little bit of The Warriors.
Also the people who asked the panel questions were kinda dicks, or at least phrased them in dickish ways, the panel just got done going into detail about how they wanted to make this movie as true to the comics as possible and this dude was like “you said you wanted to be as faithful as possible so why did you change the costume?” but it’s okay though because Karl Urban and one of the writers put him in his place by explaining it was for logical practical reasons
Yesterday, 7th July, saw the London Film & Comic Con host an exclusive panel for Dredd, with star Karl Urban, writer Alex Garland, artist Jock (the pseudonym of Mark Simpson) and producer Allon Reich talking to fans and introducing a world-exclusive clip.
Strangely, director Pete Travis - the helmer of Vantage Point and Endgame - was not only physically absent, but not mentioned once during the panel. There had been rumours - subsequently denied - that the director had been shut out of the editing room, and that Garland was seeking a co-director credit.
The panel were enthusiastic, with Garland - the brilliant writer of 28 Days Later, Sunshine, The Beach and Never Let Me Go - speaking with the confidence of a director. It was hard to judge the quality of the clip on a projector screen in a noisy hall, but it takes place early in the film. Urban’s Dredd is shown taking down a criminal holding a woman hostage in a shopping mall. Dredd offers two choices: let the woman go and it’s life without parole, or if he doesn’t comply, it’s death. Dredd gets to launch a “hot shot” from his lawmaker gun, gruesomely burning the villain’s face from the inside out.
Highlights of the talk below, with Garland’s story ideas for two sequels, Urban’s joy at Dredd keeping the helmet on, and why it’s going to be an 18 certificate movie.
Dredd, based on comic writer John Wagner and artist Carlos Ezquerra’s 2000 AD dystopian law enforcer, is released in the UK on 7th September.
On the original 1995 film Judge Dredd.
Karl: I would consider myself a long-term fan of Dredd. I first started reading it when I was 15, 16, so I was quite excited to see the 1994 version of the movie. It wasn’t quite what I imagined. I still appreciated it, I thought Mean Machine was really wicked and well done. As we approached this film, I personally found it quite handy to look back at that film to see what worked and what didn’t work. That helped inform me as I was approaching the character about choices I wanted to make.
Jock: Dredd the comic has had different kinds of stories over 35 years. It can be a horror story, thriller, comedy - you really have to choose one specific angle on it to make a movie. When I first met Alex and the guys, I was super-impressed by how specific their goal was and what they wanted to achieve. The tone of it is exactly what Dredd is - it’s tough, brutal, violent and exciting. I was thrilled to be a part of it.
On the fact that Dredd keeps his helmet on throughout.
Karl: It was an extraordinary challenge. First of all, knowing I wasn’t going to have the benefit of use of my eyes, such a valuable tool for an actor. By the way, that’s the way it should be done. When I first had a meeting with Alex and the gang, they said to me, ‘you do realise Dredd keeps his helmet on in this movie?’ I said I wouldn’t be having this meeting if I read the script and he took his helmet off. Right from the beginning we were all on the same page - authenticity. Then it became, how can I convey so much without the use of my eyes? That’s when it became about using the grace of movement, the voice becomes very important, body language, wry and dry humour - it was important to find opportunities to inject that.
On preparation for the film.
Alex: The first thing I did was contact John Wagner. I started reading when I was about 10 or 11, with the Judge Child. I wanted to know he was okay about us doing it, so I contacted him and told him the budget and the aesthetic. He ended up drawing us a whole comic of the script which we distributed amongst ourselves. He did a lot of our concept art, and informed a great deal of the film.
Karl: My preparation for the film was to stop drinking beer and eating hamburgers, and started lifting heavy things multiple times a day. I had this image of this ripped figure goading me every time! I had some good conversations with Alex about how we wanted him to be - muscular, but not overly ‘roided. I didn’t want to place this character with false ego - I didn’t want him to be a posturing Judge Dredd. I wanted him to be a tightly-wound coil who could leap forth with violence at any minute. To me it’s much more interesting to see a character trying to control his anger. We had military men training us how to move. They would be on set with airsoft guns, and you knew you’d screwed up when you got an airsoft pellet in the face! Don’t try this at home! We had two or three weeks of rehearsals, and I wore that costume as much as I could.
On setting the scene in the clip we saw.
Alex: That clip was part of the reshoot - we shot it in December last year. We shot that in an abandoned shopping mall in Colindale. It was a scene we needed because, everyone working on the film felt very familiar with Dredd, and it’s a surprisingly easy mistake to make that everyone else is familiar with Dredd. They’re not, and we hadn’t really done enough to introduce the character. Dredd didn’t have much of an exchange with that man, so we went back a year after principle photography to expand that shot. It’s a nice, contained scene, something about how the citizens of the city feel about the Judges. It’s important. It gives you a feel for Dredd, with slight ironic humour.
Allon: The “hot shot” idea really makes it work, and we have to give that to Mr Urban, who came up with the idea pretty much on the floor.
Jock: The 3D is most prevalent in the slo-mo scenes; there is a drug which slows people’s perception down by, what, 1000%? There’s this stunning footage of slow motion, and it’s very specific why it’s happening. Those scenes are beautiful. There’s the extremity of the violence you see Dredd do, but there’s these beautiful elements as well.
Alex: The idea for slow motion came from high speed nature photography. The way a bird would flap it’s wings, it would be hypnotic. This coincided with a camera named Phantom arriving, which meant you could shoot very high speed stuff in film. I give credit where it’s due, it was down to Anthony Dod Mantle - for the aesthetic of the film, he deserves more credit than anyone else. He was a crucial part of the process. And the visual effects team, led by Mike Elson and Jon Thum, who would take all the elements of the photography and add blood splatters and effects.
Allon: We could use slo-mo in a narrative, organic way, as opposed to The Matrix - which is beautiful, but an action idea. Here, slo-mo is integral to the story.
On shooting in South Africa.
Allon: When we were thinking about where Mega-City One could be, we looked at a lot of huge, crime-ridden metropolises in the world - Mexico City, Sao Paulo, and Johannesburg was one of those cities. For various reasons - language, flight-wise, there’s a crew there. Particularly as Andrew [MacDonald] had become friendly with Sharlto Copley, the star of District 9. We knew him a producer, and he came into our offices and said, ‘By the way, I’m acting now.’ We thought that wouldn’t go anywhere, and look how wrong we were! He introduced us to some of the South Africans who worked on District 9, who were then part of Dredd.
Alex: They shoot a lot of commercials there, and there’s brilliant crews. District 9 blew us away. There were a lot of good reasons to go there, and the crews were extraordinary.
On potential sequels.
Alex: We’ll see a sequel if the gross is above $50 million in the US. It’s a simple financial equation. We’re an independent movie, we’ve sold our films to various territories. It’s maths. In terms of Dark Judges, I wrote Death in the script, but it didn’t feel right for the first film. I thought it felt right, but I did about 16 drafts and it really didn’t work out. I needed to have set up the city and Dredd first before taking on what is essentially a riff on Judges. You need to know what the Judges are before you can subvert them. Then I wrote a second script which was about Dredd going out to the Cursed Earth, like an origins story. That was rejected for similar reasons. If you want to make sequels, I’ve got a story that goes from this one to the origins of Dredd and father and the city. The third one has a strange, existential attack from the Dark Judges. I’ve got to say, it’s an 18 certificate in the UK, it’s R-rated in the States. We’ve got our work cut out to hit those sorts of figures.
This photograph from the LFFC has been forwarded to the SJS as it might be evidence of judicial misconduct.
One of the Judge Minty team took their son to the London Film and Comic Con and he got his photograph taken with Karl Urban:
Here’s the picture of my son with Karl Urban. A big thank you to Mr Urban for going out of his why to make Joe’s day.
The first report has emerged from the Dredd panel at the London Film and Comic Convention - a nice piece of film and the tantilising outline of what the second and third Dredd films will contain, if the first one does well:
we moved onto the footage; taking place near the start of the film, the scene in question was filmed as part of last December’s reshoots and serves as an introduction to the character of Judge Dredd and his methods. Having chased down a criminal into a shopping mall, Dredd finds himself in a stand-off with the perp who has taken a woman hostage. If he let’s the hostage go, the sentence is life without the possibility of parole… if he doesn’t comply, then it’s death. Obviously it ends with the latter, as Dredd dispatches a ‘hot shot’ from his lawmaker, the round implanting itself in the perp’s face and frying his head from the inside out. The scene in question wasn’t too shabby, and if it’s any indication of the rest of the film, then Jock’s statement that Dredd is “tough, brutal, violent and exciting” may actually ring true.
Following the footage there was a brief opportunity for audience questions – the most interesting of which from a fan perspective concerned the possibility of a sequel, and the introduction of the Dark Judges. Garland stated that his first crack at a script actually included Judge Death, but he felt it would be too soon, and that Dredd needed to be established first. He said that a sequel would be possible if Dredd grossed over $50m in the States, before revealing he had plans for two further instalments – the second movie would see Dredd visiting the Cursed Earth and exploring the history of Mega City One, paving the way for the arrival of the Dark Judges in the third.
It is clear they are playing the long game here and have a plan in place for who all the films will build on each other.
Now onwards to San Diego Comic Con.
Photo credit: John “Commando Forces” Burdis (who gets name-checked in the Dredd trailer) arresting Karl Urban.
I was never going to London Film Comic Con cause it was a bit to close to my holiday and then a week befour the event they announce Karl Urban.
2 days later booked my bus ticket and bought the very importent bus snacks (yogurt biscuts) I will be in London less time than I will be traveling to and back from there:)
We will want reports.