Karl Urban was born on 07 June 1972, the son of a leather
goods manufacturer. His first serious acting break was in
the New Zealand drama series Shortland Street between
1993-1994. Over the next few years he worked in the theatre,
before landing work as a guest star on numerous New Zealand
TV shows. Sci-fi fans will remember him for his numerous
appearances on Xena: Warrior Princess, but it is as
Eomer in The Lord of the Rings movies that first propelled
him to a wider audience. Since then he has gone on to appear
Chronicles of Riddick and The Bourne Supremacy.
Darren Rea spoke with him as his latest movie, Doom,
was due to be released in cinemas...
Rea: What was it that attracted you to the role in Doom...
apart from the money?
Urban: [laughs] That's classic! They really had a slick script
with these fantastic characters.
was the character of John Grimm and his story that attracted
me. He's this guy whose really sheltering a lot from his past,
some disturbing things happened to him in his past, and he
ran away and joined the military instead of becoming a scientist.
Through the course of the film he's forced to face his inner
demons in order to triumph.
really is this reluctant hero. And the thing that really attracted
me about the film, apart from being quiet a fan of the game,
was the fact that it was essentially the story about the birth
of a superhero, but not done in a flashy way. He's a very
humble character, who happens to be an extremely proficient
killer and I thought that was quite a unique combination.
The games are well known, and much loved, for being extremely
violent and quite sick. Is this something the movie's successfully
managed to capture?
I think that the movie is probably one of the most faithful
renditions of a videogame adaptation that I've ever seen.
The film itself is just awesome - it's like a ride. After
about a two minute introduction it just picks you up and it
doesn't let go. It's like a fuse that just burns and each
act tops the last act and I think, to my mind, that it's probably
the first time in cinematic history where, for a period of
the film, the audience becomes the hero of the film as it
goes into first person shooter. Its got a lot going for it.
In the film, like the game, death lurks around every corner.
Have you ever had a brush with death? And did that make you
re-evaluate your life at all?
Err... I got a really bad case of food poisoning once... aeroplane
Yeah, sure. There's actually been a couple of instances in
my life where it's been a very, very, very close call. But
you know what? It hasn't really made me re-evaluate my life.
Maybe in the short term, but at the end of the day you just
keep on going.
think if that were the case that we would become so constrained
and so inhibited that we wouldn't lead our lives normally.
Londoner's wouldn't get on the tube and go to work if that
were the case.
You've starred in several TV and movie roles (Xena, Lord
of the Rings) which involve old fashioned hand to hand,
or close combat. Why do you think people are fascinated by
I think it's just escapist entertainment, because people can
explore the extremities of the human condition in the safety
of a movie theatre, or the confines of their own home, and
they can feel all the emotions that go along with that and
come away relatively unscathed. But, at the end of the day,
In reality, if you were faced in a similar position, would
you fight or run?
Urban as John Grimm and Dwayne "The Rock"
Johnson as Sarge in Doom
Interesting question. It would really depend on what the situation
I'm always an advocate of using the mind first before resorting
to physical violence. If you do that then you improve the
What would be your ideal job if the acting work dried up tomorrow?
That's a really tough question. I have interests, but really,
to make a living... boy, that's tough. I don't know. I like
being outdoors. Maybe I'd be a landscape gardener.
money wasn't an option though, I'd probably be a professional
golfer. That would be a great job. To get paid to play golf...
that's a good deal.
Can you tell us about your next project Outlander?
No! [Laughs] Sorry. I can't at this point in time. Things
went a little crazy in the last week and I actually have four
films on offer at the moment and in the next week I'm going
to have to make a decision as to what the slate is for the
rest of the year. That information will be coming out in the
next week or so. I apologise for not being able to elaborate.
Thank you for your time.
thanks to Matt Park at Way to Blue
is released in UK cinemas on 02 December 2005