Karl Urban On Lena Headey's Performance, Finding The Humanity Of DREDD, And More

Karl Urban On Lena Headey's Performance, Finding The Humanity Of DREDD, And More

Portraying the edgy, futuristic Judge in this year's Dredd, Urban recently spoke to Movie Fanatic about the film, and the villainous performance of Lena Headey that really got under his skin.

On watching Stallone's version as a form of research for playing the character in a better way:

When I read the script, it became obvious to me that what we were endeavoring to do was completely different. Tonally, you couldn’t get more different. Going into this movie I watched the Stallone version to see what worked and what didn’t work. The way that I approached the character was not to have the character be a posturing, bellowing character that was kind of grounded in ego.

On faithfully interpreting the character on-screen, as opposed to Stallone's version:

To me, that wasn’t the Dredd that I knew. To me, it was far more interesting to have a character with this inner rage and struggling to contain it, rather than letting it all explode. That’s the direction that I was going in. I decided that what I wanted to do was find the humanity within Dredd. He’s not a superhero. He’s a cloned man, but he’s just a man. He doesn’t have superhero powers. His heroism is defined by the fact that he’s walking into a building while everybody else is running out.

On not being able to use the eyes to properly express the character:

The challenge was: How do I convey all that without the eyes? There’s a wariness too about the character which is really important. Your voice becomes extremely important. In my research I discovered a passage in one of the comic strips that described Dredd’s voice as a saw cutting through bone. Other tools were the physicality. What can I express with my movement? It’s also really important to identify where the humor lies. That’s one of the things I really loved in the comic is just the really dry, dark humor.

On Urban's views of Lena Headey's performance as the villain Ma-Ma:

I think there is a scary, beautiful, violent, way off-beat, amazing performance that Lena has delivered in this film. She’s enigmatic. You’re drawn to her when she’s on the screen. The choices that she made were so interesting. I have to confess, there was one day we were shooting the scene where I’m confronting her and we’re at opposite ends of the room and I’ve got my helmet on looking at her and she’s looking at me. And she just starts laughing, manically laughing. And I just feel within me the rage growing. She is that (expletive) good. She knows how to push your buttons.

Dredd stars Karl Urban, Olivia Thirlby, Lena Headey and is directed by Pete Travis. The film is set to hit theaters September 21st.

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