Urban Talks McCoy + Surprise Guest On The Set

Another actor we haven’t heard much from is Karl Urban, the new Dr. Leonard McCoy. The actor is appearing in the CBS mini-series Comanche Moon in January and in an interview about that he also took some Trek questions. Urban tells TheDeadbolt.com that it is difficult for him to deal with all the security surrounding the film, saying “you feel your freedom is a big challenge.” Urban also talked about the faithfulness of the characters and a surprise guest who dropped by the set…

From the interview:

THE DEADBOLT: How will McCoy be different than what we already know?

URBAN: The film that we are making is very faithful in ways to the original series and the characters are the same archetypes which were established in the original series from the ’60s. And I think the fact that Leonard Nimoy has chosen to reprise his role as Spock for the first time in 15 years is an incredible endorsement and he wouldn’t be involved if he didn’t believe in J.J. [Abrams] and the authenticity of the project. I’m just really excited about this film and it’s amazing [how] every day someone new comes in and turns up on set, like we had Stephen Spielberg pop in yesterday. Everybody is thoroughly intrigued to see this one and it’s going to be phenomenal. I think the teaser trailer comes out on the front of Cloverfield in January, so people will get their first kind of taste of the look and feel. And I think after Indiana Jones opens in May, this film is going to be the most highly anticipated film of 2008.

Before DeForest Kelley, the original McCoy, boarded the Enterprise in Star Trek he was mostly known for playing heavies in many TV and film Westerns. Urban was asked about his first foray into the genre:

THE DEADBOLT: How hard was it for you to relate to the American Western since you’re from New Zealand?

URBAN: Not at all. I mean you have to understand that American culture has been exported in the form of film and television and the written medium for over 100 years, so I was very familiar with the sort of icons.

Urban’s answer about about his preparations for the role in Comanche Moon give an insight into his acting process.

DB: How did you get into the world of a Texas Ranger?

URBAN: It was very much a case of just total absorption. It was reading everything by McMurtry that I could get my hands on and research about the Old West and the hardships and the struggles of the settlers to establish new colonies out in the West. And, of course, I was able to use my experience from Lord of the Rings from the horse fighting aspect of it.

…did he go for ‘total absorption’ of Star Trek and McCoy too?

Star Trek is Urban’s second prequel playing a southerner

Urban’s work as a Texas Ranger in the western mini series Comanche Moon should have given him some good practice for playing our favorite country doctor. And since it is a prequel to Lonesome Dove, it should give him some experience on stepping in and playing the younger version of an established character. The character of Woodrow F. Call has been portrayed previously by Tommy Lee Jones, Jon Voight and James Gardner. The Comanche Moon mini series airs on CBS January 13th, 15th and 16th.

The rest of the interview is available at TheDeadbolt.com

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Speilberg? thats awesome.

WOW STEVEN SPEILBERG DROPPED BY, LET’S HAVE HIM MAKE A STAR TREK MOVIE NEXT. And the more I dwell on it, i think Urban will do DeForest justice.

Man, thanks Anthony for this newsbit!

Spielberg…wow, that’s cool.

Neato Skeeto!

It sure is nice to see Star Trek getting attention from a film mogul like Spielberg. Very cool.

Was always kind of disappointed Spielburg never directed a Trek film. Imagine TMP with his human touch!!!

Bring on the trailer!! 2008 is gonna rock your soxors!

Nice to finaly start getting some quotes from the cast, outside of Qunto… I’m firmly of the opinion that Urban will make a fine Bones… Certainly, coming off working on a western can’t help but move Karl into the realm of “Southern” gent. I am encouraged by the fact that he watched many westerns as a youngster in N.Z. I for one, am looking forward to seeing what he brings to the role…

As long as he says, “Dammit Jim!” once, I’ll be fine.

An old-west Texas Ranger?? This seems like pretty good experience that would help this New Zelander in portraying a convincing “simple country doctor'”.

oops!…I didn’t read the whole article…you already said what I said in my post above.

About the faithfulness of the character of McCoy…one thing that worried me about that casting call description that circulated a while back (don’t know if
that turned out to be B.S. or not) was that McCoy was described was as kind of technophile, very keen on the cutting edge of medicine, or something like
that. (Does anyone else remember that?) Which, if true, is a pretty big leap from the simple country doctor who hates all this new-fangled gadgetry on a spaceship. (‘They turned my sickbay into a damn computer center!’) So I don’t know. Maybe they’re just setting the character up for his later disillusionment.

I just don’t know. In spite of all the talent involved, I’m just getting the feeling that this movie is going to be “‘Friends’ in Space”, and it shouldn’t. (This is aside from the fact that I HATED ‘Friends’) All of the original crew seems to be played as being the same age (are they going to have them all be in the SAME graduating class?), while there was a mix of ages in the original. McCoy had a daughter that was old enough to be a serious love interest for JTK, which means Bones should be AT LEAST 10 years older than Kirk.

Dammit, I just hope that we don’t see ‘The Star Trek Kids’ or ‘Vulcan Babies’ or even ‘Scooby Dooby Horta’ sometime in the future!

Urban is such a great guy… he was awesome in The Lord of the Rings, and I look forward to seeing him as our legendary healer.

The set may be secure, but it doesn’t sound boring!

Spielberg on the set of Trek? Wow. I like the comments from Mr. Urban about the characters and the movie. I think Abrams and his team are truly going to bring Star Trek back to what it was!

Spielberg direct the next trek?

Star Trek: Close Encounters of The Vulcan Kind

#10:”As long as he says, “Dammit Jim!” once, I’ll be fine.”

Of all the “first meetings” that potentially take place in this film, the only one I’m really dying to see is the first meeting of McCoy and Spock. :)

Those who have a “memory” for McCoy’s disdain of scientific advancements always leaves me bewildered. The only technology he truely hated that I recall is the Transporter. Don’t any of you remember in STIV when he told the doctors to “put away your butcher’s knives?” He then went on to use the “advanced technology” to save Chekoff’s life.

Urban is to DeForest as Rural is to DeCity…hehe. No wait, that’s wrong.

I always think “Beware the white wizard…He walks here and there, they say…” etc.

I like his work, and I think he can muster McCoy’s dour veneer over the liberal heart of gold, but I cannot get Eomer out of my silly head.

Mint Juleps anyone?

Wheeew. At least it wasn’t shatner.
Spielburg, no pressure hey JJ?

I bet Speilburg didn’t have to sign a non-discloser form.

Oh like anyone being paid for this is going to jeopardize their paycheck and go “yeah, it’s going to suck”. :P

But he is right on one thing… I for one am anticipating quite a bit about it. ;)

Abrams has a history with Spielberg – Spielberg and Cruise asked him to write the screenplay for “War Of The Worlds” and he demurred because he was writing the pilot for “Lost.” Of course, Cruise later insisted on him directing “Mission Impossible III.”

There seems to be a good deal of mutual respect and admiration between Spielberg and Abrams.

The Great One himself dropped by.

How nice of him.

Probably to steal ideas.


It’s true, Karl Urban is not 10 years older than Pine; he’s 8. Shatner was 11 years older than Kelley. You might personally think McCoy should be at least a decade older than Kirk, but according to canon, their age difference is smaller than that between Urban and Pine: 6 years.

What’s my point with all this? I think all of these numbers are totally negligible compared to each other. “Within the margin of error,” if you will. Sure, it’s POSSIBLE that the new movie will totally mess up their chemistry (or anything else, for that matter), but until then, why not give the new dudes some benefit of the doubt?

#20. LOL.

It is great to see Steven Speilberg on the set as a surprise guest. Maybe he gave J.J. a few tips or advices to make it a great movie.

Next surprise guest is George Lucas! Who knows? He was a Star Trek fan when he was a young man.

I read a magazine article about Clint Howard. He said he stopped by George’s office for the talk about a movie and project. George said to him, “Hey Barok!” and Clint was stunned. According to Clint, George talked a bit about the Star Trek during the meeting.


Well played old chap. Well played indeed.

#13 – The casting sheet was published on this site, link here:


The descrip for McCoy says:

“[LEONARD (BONES) MCCOY] -28-32 Medic on the Enterprise. Smart, clever and a bit danger-loving. Dark hair, blue eyes.”

#14 – I think you might be jumping a little too much. Not sure where you got the idea about “Friends in Space” or that they are all being played as the same age. Urban is older than Pine, McCoy is older than Kirk.

ive said it before and ill say it again i love the western link between urban and dekelley


If there’s anyone in the industry to have on your side, it’s SS.

Hey! The poll of polls!
Anthony, you are so on top of things, it’s scary.
I’m surprised, most think Shat won’t be in it…

funny how mr urban has a western background as deforest kelley did before embarking on the role of leonard mcCoy. spooky
i like what he has said here too with a reassurance that it is going to be faithful to the original series. thats great news.

With the people who have such recognisable work to their names (Lost, Alias, MI:III, Transformers, etc.) this will be a well anticipated film anyway even without the rabid Trek angle.

You don’t suppose it’s going to be (adopt gravelly voice):

“From the people who brought you Transformers and MI: III. A new Space Adventure:

Staaar Trek (rated 12 for semi naked green women)”

It’s cool that Spielberg was there. Can I just ask that they keep Lucas WELLL away from the set please? Just in case he pollutes it with Vulcan Medicholians or something? (OK, so I’m holding a grudge on that).

Oh, and #20… very nicely done there… :)

Good golly this film is getting a huge interest from some top names.

Star Trek is really going up in the world… firstly it has a great popular modern director, well-known-ish young cast wiith great talent like Simon Pegg and Winona Ryder and of course Urban n Quinto (not all young I realise), Quinto was also featured on FHM magazine which is pretty mainstream and finally through his arguably annoying relentless whining, The Shat has given the new film great publicity in mainstream media.

Its going to be a great picture!!

lol anyone else noticed the ad at the top right of the page??

“Urban Attack!!”


Let’s not. I don’t need a Star Trek movie with screaming kids being chased by stuff. Unless it’s Chekov. But he got him already.

Oh why not? Spielberg could direct And the Children Shall Lead: The Motion Picture!

30, Damnit, so it was ‘danger-loving’ I was half-remembering. I knew I got the impression that they were talking about McCoy being kind of a brash neophile and I remember thinking ‘That’s Kirk, not McCoy’. McCoy is probably the most risk-averse member of the crew (“You really piss me off, Jim. Human life is far too precious to risk on crazy stunts!”). But oh well. No need to start an argument now since I got it so wrong the first time.

In any event, thanks for the clarification. I assume that unless they’re completely re-imagining his character, it’s probably an intentional move on their part to set up a character arc for him.


yes i agree lets not have him make one , enough said there . and yea lets keep George Lucas away from the set , he might sabotage stuff ,

Danya Romulus,

You said, “Shatner was 11 years older than Kelley.”

Your numbers are wrong. DeForest was born in 1920, whereas Shatner was born in 1931. Therefore, DeForest was 11 years older than Shatner.

Hey guys you’re entitled to your opinion, but Spielberg IS the best storyteller out there PERIOD. There are others who come close, but I think people forget how good he is, since he’s been around for a long time (over 30 years).

He would make a great Star Trek; I have no problems with JJ because he has a good resume.

But if Spielberg did not direct a Star Trek movie I dare you to give me a better name!

#39 Or maybe it’s just that in that period of time, the character of McCoy is “danger-loving” because he’s depressed or feels his life is worth crap, something you’d feel like after getting a divorce. After all, you’d have to be a bit crazy to join Starfleet when you had never considered it before in your life. A civilian country doctor who decides someday to join the Fleet and sign up to maybe get killed around the corner has to be a bit danger-loving, if you want my opinion ;-)

BTW, glad to hear more and more about the other actors :-)

I’ve always sensed that Spielburg perhaps sees a bit of himself in J.J. Abrams.

43: Nice one. McCoy also has a daughter, Joanna. Tough decision to leave for the service, I would think.

I would hope that all the JJ versions of the characters can maintain the complex backstories.


Im glad some people are thinking outside the box.

Looking back at my younger self ..I realise how different I was..I use to be wild,rebellious and stupid ..and now Im a pussy-cat.

so I can understand McCoy as a bit of danger-loving in the past…
maybe something happened to him that will change his life forever…

#42: But if Spielberg did not direct a Star Trek movie I dare you to give me a better name!

One word: SHATNER!

just kidding.

Shatner is to directing what Britney Spears is to parenting! :)

#42: “But if Spielberg did not direct a Star Trek movie I dare you to give me a better name!”

Peter Jackson

duno why- but I am struggling to picture anybody but Deforest Kelley playing Bones. Such a well loved character and actor.
It will be tough to watch.