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Karl Urban Was Ready For Star Trek January 9, 2008

by Charles Trotter , Filed under: ST09 Cast , trackback

Apparently playing Dr. McCoy in Star Trek isn’t just another high profile acting job for Karl Urban. In a new interview with IGN TV promoting his role in the CBS mini-series Comanche Moon, the actor also talked Trek. Urban said that he actively pursued the role and he didn’t need to review the old shows since he has been watching Star Trek since he was a kid. .

Urban explains:

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!

Naturally, Urban was careful not to reveal any details about the film or his character. He could not even reveal whether or not he uses the character’s trademark line ("Dammit, Jim, I’m a doctor…"). "You’ll have to wait and see," he says. However, he did give some insight into how he was approaching the role while also commenting on his being a different physical build than Kelley.

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.

Urban had nothing but praise for his co-star Chris Pine, playing the part of Jim Kirk.

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.

He also praises the talent of the film’s director, J.J. Abrams.

…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.

A fan of Star Trek, Urban had this to say about the film:

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.

The Comanche Moon mini-series kicks off January 13th at 9PM on CBS.

See IGN for the full interview.


1. Izbot - January 9, 2008

Glad to hear he’s a fan. Great actor!

2. JBS - January 9, 2008

I knew there was something I liked about Karl – he’s a trekkie!

3. The Vulcanista - January 9, 2008

Cool Beans!

Urban’s a fan! Hopefully, we’ll hear from some more of the cast soon.

Peace. Live long and prosper.
The Vulcanista }:-|

4. Kirk, James T. - January 9, 2008

this movie sounds better and better every time i hear something new about it – the cast and crew just seem so excited about it, i’ve been excited about past Trek movies but this one is just something else! i can’t wait.

5. chain of command - January 9, 2008

Awesome. See, it’s going to fine

Now if people will get over the whole canon crap…….

6. Harry Ballz - January 9, 2008

Notice he says, “the project as a whole is very faithful to the original series”

Not the movies, or later incarnations of Trek, but THE ORIGINAL SERIES!!

I am greatly encouraged by that simple remark!

7. sean - January 9, 2008

As long as they capture the ‘spirit’, as Karl mentioned, I’m a happy dude. I don’t care whether the Enterprise looks like a turkey or Chris Pine wears a tribble on his head! Though I guess that would be in keeping with canon, right? ;)

8. Headless Redshirt - January 9, 2008

I just saw Mission: Impossible 3, and I was really impressed…not only it is a great movie, but in that one, J. J. Abrams kept the spirit of the original show, too. There is a sequence in the middle of the movie where the team has to kidnap someone, and it could’ve been an episode of the original with Peter Graves. It’s just terrific.

And it wasn’t as obvious, but that movie used its music score in almost the same way as the original show, with many of the original parts of the music used in the same way! Kind of a trip if you were a fan, because they had such good music on that show.

9. Bobby - January 9, 2008

Who’s down for a shot of some Tennessee Whiskey? Looking forward to Urban as McCoy.

10. Ro-Dan - January 9, 2008

Very cool to know that Urban is a fan. I’m confident his McCoy will be memorable.

11. Paul B. - January 9, 2008

I have very high hopes for this movie because the cast and crew all seem to really care about it. That counts for a lot. I think they really are trying to give us the best Star Trek possible AT THIS POINT. Maybe it’ll flop, but I’m pulling for them because everybody involved seems to be passionate and caring about the Trek legacy.

It reminds me of the making of “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy movies. I was able to accept a lot of the changes/deviations from the book because the cast and crew shared a genuine love and respect for Tolkien’s words. I’m not thrilled with some of their changes (Sam would never turn back!), but they gave us the best LOTR that we can expect…again, at THIS point.

Even if Trek 11 doesn’t live up to my hopes, I believe it will be a genuine “best effort” by all involved. I can’t WAIT for next Christmas, to find out one way or the other.

12. S. John Ross - January 9, 2008

Lookin’ good, soundin’ good. Happy happy, joy joy.

13. Bronto Dan - January 9, 2008


Nice!!! :D

It’s true that all the cast and crew his exited. Some would say: “well what did you expect? Of course they will not trash the movie or their co star in the media”

Of course they woud not. But they don’t have to be excited to that level. That make it’s more genuine. And it gives me great hope for the movie.

Next step his the teaser… oh bay can’t wait for that either. The first look at the movie!! We’re not gonna see much, but still I think that’s the best for teaser… And if i’m able to… I’ll try not to watch the trailer… if it’s posssible…

14. what - January 9, 2008


Let’s boycott.

(Just beatin’ ’em to the punch, folks!) :)

15. The Vulcanista - January 9, 2008

# 9 Bobby:

[Vulcanista slams her shot glass on the bar]

Fill it up & keep ’em coming!

Peace. Live long and prosper.
The Vulcanista }:-|

16. what - January 9, 2008


…from the TREK O.C.D. Canon-ites:

“The original actors in the ’60s never even knew what a ‘Star Trek’ was when they signed on for their roles! Hence, all actors in TREK XI should be NON-FANS in order for this film to work! This movie is DOOMED!”

Am I wrong?

17. steve adams - January 9, 2008

Urbans comments were reassuring.
Dammit Jim……!
#8, saw MI3 and it was good.
Not so reaasuring..
So he didn’t get the flava of the tv show til the 3rd installment eh…

18. SPB - January 9, 2008


(Those “What” comments belong to “SPB.” My brain’s fried tonight.)

19. ShawnP - January 9, 2008

Wow, that was just really cool to read and know about Urban and his opinion about how this production is going. However, like SPB, I’m bracing for the inevitable negative spin of these comments… :-/

20. Tyronius - January 9, 2008

#17, JJ Abrams wasn’t involved in MI or MI2. So there’s nothing to be worried about in that regard.

I’m glad to hear that Mr. Urban respects the original material and will be honoring DeForest Kelley with his work.

21. Anonymous Gasbag - January 9, 2008


Other folks made the first two, in case you weren’t being sarcastic.

22. sed - January 9, 2008

#17: The third “Mission: Impossible” movie was the only one that involved J.J. Abrams (as a first-time film director with writing credit, along with current “Trek” scribes Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci). The second was directed by John Woo (with a screenplay by Trek alums Ronald Moore and Brannon Braga), and the first was directed by Brian De Palma from a story by David Koepp and Steven Zaillian.

So Abrams got the “feel” of “Mission: Impossible” from the get-go, despite what had been established in two prior films, and despite the fact that it was the first major motion picture that he ever directed.

That’s no small feat.

23. Pragmaticus - January 9, 2008

We are definitely going to hear “Dammit, Jim!”

24. Star Quack - January 9, 2008

#17. I don’t think Abrams did the first two MI movies. Am I wrong?

25. Star Quack - January 9, 2008

No! I’m right!

26. Dan - January 9, 2008

I didn’t know Orci and Kurtzman were involved with MI3. That is reassuring. It was by far the best of the three and the duel between Cruise and the villain (Phillip Seymour Hoffman) was very intense. The pacing, suspense and character development were outstanding. I think the music was by Giachhino as well, who is also working on Trek, and it was perfect. All of which bodes very well.

It also is clear JJ Abrams is hiring people who can ACT, and not just lookalikes, which is another huge plus. With all that in place, we may forget about set design upgrades in about the first ten minutes of the film. If they get the characters right, it will be Star Trek Plus.

27. JBS - January 9, 2008

Very well said Paul B. #11 I agree.

28. Harry Ballz - January 9, 2008

Dan, eloquent statement and I agree wholeheartedly!

29. Leonel - January 9, 2008

Oh, great.. ;-) Now I want to, and have to, to watch MI:3.. I was totally turned off of the MI movies because of how the first movie departed drastically from the original series. Much more open minded about Trek, and I love Star Trek more than Mission Impossible..!

30. The Vulcanista - January 9, 2008

I guess I’ll give it a shot and put MI:3 in the Netflix queue as well. Maybe I can get past Tom Cruise. {{shudder}} *Not* a big fan.

Peace. Live long and prosper.
The Vulcanista }:-|

31. Lt. McFibberich - January 9, 2008

“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.”

So the fake Kirk will the comic relief… :)

re: 4. Kirk, James T. – January 9, 2008
“this movie sounds better and better every time i hear something new about it – the cast and crew just seem so excited about it, i’ve been excited about past Trek movies but this one is just something else! i can’t wait.”

What else would they do? Part of their job is to promote the movie. I don’t think they are going to say it stinks.

It takes very little to get some people excited.

32. Loving the New Film - January 9, 2008

They weren’t about to transform the MI television show onto the big screen. They wanted – and need – a new generation of people. Such as myself, never able to see many episodes of the original show.
That was the TV show, this is the movie.
We’re all concerned about consistency from TOS to the new film, but how much consistency was there between TOS and The Motion Picture? The outside of the ship was even different!

33. MikeG - January 9, 2008

I’m looking forward to seeing how the new cast gets into these legendary roles. It has got to be a daunting task, to take on a role that is so intricately connected to a specific actor. No matter how many “alternate-Treks” I have seen, I cannot, for the life of me, picture anyone other than William Shatner as Capt. Kirk, Leonard Nimoy as Mr. Spock… you get the picture.
With that said, I have seen most of the new cast in other projects, and I think they are all bright, young actors. Each of them has got to feel a kind of awe just to think, “Gosh, I’m going to be Dr. McCoy, or Mr. Sulu,” and so forth. These aren’t “just another gig” roles, are they? Maybe I’m just superimposing my own feeling of awe… It is a comfort to hear Karl Urban say things like, “I’ve been watching Star Trek since I was 7,” because we know he’ll be bringing a part of himself to the role that understands what Dr. McCoy was all about. And I think this is true of the other actors, to varying degrees.
I think the bottom line is this: the producers, the writers, the cast, and crew seem to love and respect Star Trek, which is mostly what Trek-fans have prayed for since the death of Mr. Roddenberry.

34. Jon C - January 9, 2008

I’m sure Urban will bring great talent to the role of McCoy.The issue I have ,however, is with the casting of McCoy.McCoy as portrayed by established character actor DeForest Kelly was a relatively frail body type.Throughout TOS He routinely backed out of armed and hand to hand conflict perhaps for some good reason (physical weakness,and a combination of principles-hypocratic oath?).What I’m trying so say is..McCoy’s body type was part of his character make up.It kind of forced me to look for his bravery in other ways (his intellect ,principles,bold decisions etc).Hollywood can’t seem to help itself out of casting handsome, well built action star types in their male roles.McCoy’s not one of them

35. The Vulcanista - January 9, 2008


Remember that he McCoy of the series is 10-15 years older than the McCoy Urban is going to portray. By the time we see him in TOS, he’s probably stopped working out as regularly as he used to. It sux, but middle age is like that. :)

Peace. Live long and prosper.
The Vulcanista }:-|

36. The Vulcanista - January 9, 2008

And I would sincerely love to see *this* McCoy shirtless in the movie.

How’s that writer’s strike coming, Mr. O?

Peace. Live long and prosper.
The Vulcanista }:-|

37. steve adams - January 9, 2008

Sorry #20,21,22,and 24. I was wrong about that…
I have more hope for this now !!!
Thanks gang!

38. steve adams - January 9, 2008

I’m fricken pissed that all never get my Voyager film, but day by day I admit I’m jazzed about this new film.
Dammit…Jim! you better be right!

39. steve adams - January 10, 2008

Love this casting also…..
I won’t have a prob with the technical
upgrades they give the ship. Something tells me with the new effects the ship is going to become more alive than ever before seen…
One thing I love about this new film is, its really a prequel based on the only 2 part episode in TOS history. (The collected bits of the pilot called the Cage). ^
The Menagerie parts I & II….episode 16.
They came out with the 2 Cage episodes later but (IMO) they didn’t blend
it as well as they did with the Menagerie I-II.
Good choice to play off JJ, you could pull this off after all…
Roddenberry wrote both episodes…
IMO,to the fans of the orginal show the Menagerie is a powerfull episode and one that we all remember…

40. AJ - January 10, 2008

“What am I? A doctor or a moonshuttle conductor?”

Love that one!

41. Phil123 - January 10, 2008

The casting in this movie is funny!!

spaced guy and the dude from doom!!!

42. trektacular - January 10, 2008

I have a feeling Urban might do the best impersonation of all the recast actors.

43. Jeffrey S. Nelson - January 10, 2008

So, is the Guardian of Forever in the movie or not?

44. Dom - January 10, 2008

31. Lt. McFibberich: ‘It takes very little to get some people excited.’

It takes very little for some people to be miseries! ;)

45. TJ Trek - January 10, 2008

i suspect the guardian is not in the movie. I think if JJ had any idea of what Gods and Men was going to end up being about then he would say to himself “…hmm if i was a trek fan I would not be cool with two big trek things comeing out at similar times about the same thing….What would be the point of paying to watch a movie about the Guardian, when you can download a movie about Guardian for free.” I would certainly say that.

46. Vulcan Soul - January 10, 2008

We are all very pleased.

SCNR ;-)

47. Gerry Alanguilan - January 10, 2008

He was awesome sa Eomer, even more awesome as one of the bad guys in the Bourne films…. now I like him even more after reading this. McCoy is gonna rock!

48. MikeG - January 10, 2008

I think it was already announced, and Harlan Ellison was assured, that the Guardian is not in the movie.

49. YUBinit - January 10, 2008

#16 what

Wrong is so many ways your parents should start over. That was uncalled for. There are fans who are skeptical that TOS needed or warranted “reinvention” when the franchise could have been revitalized simply with everything new and fresh, and departed (to a degree) from what it evolved into. But instead they decided to reinvent the wheel simply because it went flat.

Then there are the fans like you who will take anything labeled Star Trek, and that is what had become wrong and caused it to fizzle out like it did. They lost sight of what Star Trek was about, and pigeonholed the premise. And due to that the writing suffered (and just flat out had too many lousy writers and helmers).

Sorry for the flame, but your presumption was insulting.

50. SolFlyer - January 10, 2008

2. As Mr. Urban pointed out, its Trekk-ER, not Trekk-IE.

51. Trek Nerd Central - January 10, 2008

I, for one, am a proud Trekkie. Never really understood the need for a softer euphemism; is the suffix “ie” somehow insulting?

What’s nice, though, is his respect for the fans (-ies, -ers, -oids) and his obvious enthusiasm for the original show.

52. Captain Hackett - January 10, 2008

It sounds like it is going to be a great movie and I am looking forward to it!

53. Thomas Jensen - January 10, 2008

I always smile when a young person appreciates the original series. In my opinion it has never been recreated in spirit or tone. I’ve never felt that the subsequent spinoff series captured the chemistry of the original actors. I hope this group can do something similar.

54. CmdrR - January 10, 2008

Welcome aboard, Dr.
Again, hoping for a stand-on-its-own performance, not an impression of De Kelley. If Pine does Shatner, I will walk out of the theater. (Hey, everyone else has a protest. That’s mine.)
Might just have to check out Comanche Moon.
Vulcanista — MI:3 is sit-through-able. Shangai is nicely featured.

55. John from Cincinnati - January 10, 2008

Bourbon and beans, an explosive combination!

56. John from Cincinnati - January 10, 2008

SEE- The Original Series is the best! VINDICATION!

57. SPB - January 10, 2008

#49 YUBinit –

Can’t take a tongue-in-cheek ribbing, I see. If Trekkies can’t learn to laugh at themselves from time-to-time, then I guess I now have a better understanding of where all this uptight nitpicking comes from.

Sorry you were offended… thought it was pretty obvious I was just having some fun. Oh well.

(And no, I’m not a fan who will take anything labeled “STAR TREK”… I got burned-out on all things TREK shortly after VOYAGER hit the air. Never got into that, or DS9 or ENTERPRISE, for that matter. I follow TREK to have some FUN, first and foremost. I just don’t make it a 24-hour lifestyle. We come in all shapes & sizes, don’t we?)

58. Plum - January 10, 2008

Fav McCoy lines…

Colonist; We’ll have to find something for you to do, we don’t need a doctor.

McCoy; Oh yea? Wanna see how fast I can put you into a hospital?

59. Gottasmoke - January 10, 2008

Dammit Jim……. He’s a fan

60. Classic trek - January 10, 2008

im really encouraged by his comments. great to hear someone talk like this about the old series and how important it is to try to recreate that special chemistry. im very upbeat with karls message here.

61. Go Spock! - January 10, 2008


he did make a brilliant Eomer in LOTR, didn’t he?


62. indranee - January 10, 2008

“Dammit Jim, I’m a Trekker, not a Trekkie!”

(love that Urban’s been a fan since he was 7!! verrrrrry fun!)

63. John from Cincinnati - January 10, 2008

My respect for Karl Urban has just gone off the charts!

64. Daoud - January 10, 2008

I’m not concerned as some are about De Kelley’s general physique during TOS. I’ve seen plenty of his western roles as a “heavy”… and he was ample enough to convey a sense of a badass who’d beat the crap out of someone, if he had the need. That “simmering beneath the surface” is more important to capture than the exact circumference of various muscles. IN any event, were I Orci, a throwaway moment where younger McCoy is exposed to a patient with Xenopolycythemia, and we can extrapolate the early stages of its predecessor cause the “changes” from Urban’s musculature to Kelley’s. Or not. Maybe in the novelization that sort of thing would work.

#51… A Trekker is one who Treks… a Trekkie is one who IS trekked. ;) Would you rather be the Trekker, or the Trekkie? ;)

Seriously though… I think it was in the 70’s that we got tired of being called “turkeys” instead of “trekkies”…

65. I AM THX-1138 - January 10, 2008

I like Urban. I liked him in LOTR. I liked him in Bourne.

The fact that he appears to be a real fan makes me feel confident about his portraying the Dr.

66. Plum - January 10, 2008

… I will not pedal flesh!!!

67. I AM THX-1138 - January 10, 2008


I don’t blame you. I can never get the chain to stay on.

68. Plum - January 11, 2008

haaaaa! lol! :D

69. kim - May 11, 2009

Karl is awesome as Bones!!!! Loved him!!!!

70. Suely - November 24, 2011

Nobody would be more perfect as Bones than Karl. I loved him.

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