Rafael Motamayor chats with Karl Urban on playing in some of the biggest film franchises, what he kept from the set of Lord of the Rings and more…
You have been in some of the biggest franchises in the world, yet you haven’t been typecast. How do you manage that? How do you choose your projects?
It all comes down to the script, to finding the story and character compelling. For me it doesn’t matter if it’s a small indie or a huge blockbuster, it comes down to the character. Then of course I also look at who’s involved and where it is shooting. For example, when I played Skurge in Thor: Ragnarok I was first interested in the arc that character goes through, he starts in one place and ends up somewhere completely different. There was a significant change in the character, which you don’t get that often in a character.
In Thor: Ragnarok you work really closely with Cate Blanchett, who also starred in Lord of the Rings but you never shared a scene together, how was that like?
It was actually one of the reasons I chose the job, and it was a lot of fun. She is a phenomenal actor and I am grateful for the opportunity to be on set with her every day.
Do you ever go back and watch your work?
No, I don’t. I like to see them once, maybe twice to see what the film is like and then I have no real interest in returning to them. That being said Doom was on TV the other day, I was having dinner with my kids and we watched the last 20 minutes where I beat up The Rock, which is something you don’t see anymore, The Rock getting beaten up in an action movie.
Do you keep anything from the sets of your movies?
I do actually. For example, Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh very generously gave me the helmet that I wore during the Lord of the Rings films as a gift.
Did you have dreams about your glorious mane in Lord of the Rings while playing bald in Thor?
(laughs) I just hoped that A) it would grow back and B) it would be the same colour and not turn out grey.
What drew you to your new film Bent?
I was drawn to the direct nod to the classic noir films of the Golden Age of Hollywood which both the director and I have a huge love for.
How was working with Andy Garcia and Sofia Vergara?
It was a lot of fun. They both came in for a week, Andy first and then Sofia. It was wonderful to have these extraordinarily talented people and they are both professional and fun to be around.
What movies influences your performance in Bent?
Me and the writer and director Bobby Moresco? We discussed classic noir films like Farewell My Lovely, Out of the Past and a multitude of others. And we infused the elements of the script and the performance with subtle nods to those great films.
I feel like I can’t let you go without mentioning Dredd. You have been vocal about your passion for the film, and they are making a new TV series. Have you heard anything about that?
You know, I have had conversations with them and both parties are interesting in the prospect of working together. They are in the process of developing that TV series so that’s where that is. We have talked and I hope to hear more soon.
Karl Urban, thank you so much!
Bent opens in select theaters and on demand Friday, March 9th.
Rafael Motamayor is a journalist and movie geek based in Norway. You can follow him on Twitter.