Karl Urban talks resurrecting Dredd for new film audience

The comic book antihero was previously portrayed onscreen by Sylvester Stallone in a camp 90s movie – but Dredd 3D, out in cinemas this weekend, looks to do justice to the vengeful Street Judge.

Stallone’s version disappointed fans – but the newest version, directed by Pete Travis and featuring Star Trek actor Karl Urban as Judge Dredd, aims to be more faithful to the ultra-violent source material.

Urban said: “Reading the script, it was pretty obvious that tonally you couldn’t get more different.

“The Stallone film was a product of its time. It was a time when Joel Schumacher was making fluorescent Batman movies.

“We’ve moved on from there.”

Dredd 3D posits a violent, futuristic city where the police have the authority to act as judge, jury and executioner.

In the film Dredd teams up with a trainee to take down a gang that deals the reality-altering drug, SLO-MO.

Most of Dredd’s face infamously remains hidden behind his mask (something fans took issue with in the Stallone version), so how did Urban make the character somebody that the audience can identify with?

He explained: “Certainly for me that was the challenge, to identify the humanity of the character.

“While he does see the film in a black and white way, there’s an interesting transformation that happens throughout the course of this film – where he does something at the end that would have never done at the beginning.

“So it was important to me to find that humanity, and you can see that in the way that he reacts to the massacre of innocent women and children. There’s a gear shift within the character at that point.

“But definitely a challenge to communicate to the audience without the use of your eyes.”

In the video interview above Urban also discusses the physicality of Dredd, and how he approached his voice which according to one comic was like "saw cutting through bone".

Dredd 3D is out in cinemas from Friday

People who read this story also read