Karl Urban: From Comanche Moon to Star Trek by Eric Goldman
IGN TV: Before you began work on Comanche Moon did you re-watch the Lonesome Dove miniseries and look to previous performances for inspiration or did you set that aside?
Urban: We did watch Lonesome Dove. I didn't endlessly pour over it. I think it's really important not to do some sort of carbon copy or facsimile of what another actor's interpretation of the role is. You know, physically I wanted the character to look like a younger version of what Tommy Lee had done, but beyond that my main point of reference was really the script.
IGN TV: I assume it must have been fun, on that primal boyhood fantasy level, to get to play a cowboy?
Urban: Oh, absolutely, absolutely! I absolutely relished riding around the desert in New Mexico, and firing guns and playing cowboys was great fun.
IGN TV: You're going from one iconic character to another with your role in Star Trek. How did that role come about?
Urban: Well it was one that I actively pursued and was very fortunate enough to be offered.
IGN TV: You're obviously a very different physical type than DeForest Kelley. How are you approaching the role?
Urban: Again, it comes down to the script and it comes down to following J.J.'s lead and working in conjunction with this great cast that he's assembled and being faithful and honorable to the very essence and spirit of those characters that were created back in the late '60s. Again, it is a case of not doing some sort of facsimile or carbon copy, but really taking the very essence of what DeForest has done and honoring that and bringing something new to the table.
IGN TV: This is similar to my Comanche Moon question, but I'm curious if you re-watched old episodes of the show before you began working on the film?
Urban: Well, I've been watching Star Trek since I was, oh gosh, seven years old so I was very familiar with the original series and with those characters. I didn't actually even have to go out of my way to re-watch old episodes. I've just been watching them for over 20 years! [Laughs]
IGN TV: You might not be able to answer this question, but are you looking forward to saying "Damn it Jim, I'm a doctor!"?
Urban: Oh, you'll have to wait and see! [Laughs]
IGN TV: McCoy was usually more hands off than Kirk and Spock, but you have done some pretty physical roles. Should we get ready for a more bad ass McCoy here?
Urban: I can't divulge any secrets. I would love to spill the beans, but I'm really not at liberty to say. But I just will say that the project as a whole is very faithful to the original series and I think that J.J. has a very fresh and exciting approach and I think that he's an incredibly talented visionary. I believe that he is going to reinvigorate this franchise in a really healthy, positive and exciting way. I really think that the Trekkers and the long time fans will be really pleased with it, because it really does honor the very spirit of what we are all really quite crazy about, in a good way.
IGN TV: How's it working with your fellow cast members?
Urban: J.J.'s assembled an absolutely awesome cast. Everybody is really great. It's very exciting to be a part of.
IGN TV: I happened to go to high school with Chris Pine, so I was excited to see him cast as Kirk.
Urban: He's very good. He's very good. I'm so pleased that we've got someone of his caliber and ability in the role of Kirk, because he's extraordinarily talented and funny. I think he's got a big future ahead of him.
IGN TV: The last few years you've been part of some very noteworthy series, from Lord of the Rings to Bourne and now with the Lonesome Dove series and Star Trek. I imagine it must be a very exciting time?
Urban: Yeah, absolutely! I mean I didn't plan it that way. I'm just kind of going with the opportunities that are presenting themselves. Obviously in the case of quite a few of these projects I've had to actively pursue them. I'm just a staunch believer in being specific and doing the work and I feel very fortunate to be in this position. At the same time, I work like a bastard! [Laughs]