Karl Urban Talks ‘Character-Driven’ Star Trek Sequel + How He Approached Role Of McCoy

Karl Urban is back on the big screen in a couple of weeks, starring in the new Judge Dredd movie. While doing publicity he is trying hard to not talk about his role as Dr. McCoy in the 2013 Star Trek sequel, but some bits are sneaking through. Below we have some excerpts from recent interviews, plus the latest Dredd commercial. 


Urban Talks Trek Sequel

 Speaking to Digital Spy, Karl Urban offers up a few adjectives to describe the Star Trek sequel (now known to be titled Star Trek Into Darkness). He offers "relentless," "engaging," "action-packed," and "character-driven."

Karl offers more to Huffington Post, talking specifically on how he approaches the role of McCoy first played by Deforest Kelly…

DeForest Kelly is so known for that role. Do you go in trying to do what he did? That seems like a slippery slope.
Oh yeah. It’s a slippery slope. Here’s the thing: As a longtime fan of "Star Trek," I would have felt short changed if I had gone into that cinema and not seen a character that was identifiably McCoy. So, for me, it was the process of analyzing DeForest — sort of internalizing, I guess, certain elements about that character. And, then, from there it was a process of presenting a younger version of what that character would be. And I think what we ended up with was kind of a combination of some obvious nods to DeForest, but then, you know, I also have to make the character my own. And it is, ultimately, my interpretation of what Bones is. But, having such huge admiration and respect for what he did before, it was important that the character be recognizably Bones.

Dredd in theaters September 21

You can see Karl star in the new Judge Dredd movie which opens up in two weeks. Here is the latest TV spot.


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Hey, Karl… we need more of that Dr. McCoy Surfing Video! :)

“relentless,” “engaging,” “action-packed,” and “character-driven”

In short, another “space spectacle” that has nothing to do with classic science fiction. But then again, that genre is dead and has been dead for years.

I liked how he portrayed McCoy in the last movie. It worked for me. I’d like to see more debate discussions from McCoy to the other characters. He was always good at picking out moral values.

@ 2 Vulcan Soul

What is your definition of “classic science fiction”?


Classic science-fiction isn’t “relentless,” “engaging,” “action-packed,” and “character-driven?” Some of the most science-fiction-filled stories I know of are all those things, or at least parts of those things.

Would you not want your science-fiction to be “engaging,” for instance? Or “character-driven?” Those two above all one would think are important to classic science-fiction especially. What kind of classic science-fiction are we talking about? Because it’s pretty varied.

In my opinion, science-fiction has always been about the human condition, about placing what constitutes humanity in a position beyond our time and place, to experience things beyond our current understandings, and deal with it. To push humanity to the breaking point and see how it might adapt and grow.

I know, on the surface, it’s easy to disagree and say that the last Trek movie didn’t have the depth for such things, but I feel it did. And all the same…these things still have to be entertaining enough to enjoy on some level… =P I recall the classic TOS had plenty of seemingly minor philosophical moments going on between the phasers and drop-kicks, heh.

Maybe to him classic sci-fi is a bunch of people in weird costumes sitting around and talking about martians

I love Karl in the role. I can’t really expect much from an interview where he’s sitting in front of a Judge Dredd poster. He’s doing his day job — pitching the films he’s in.

I really, really want to know more about Trek’s plot. We now know the Enterprise enters a mysterious zone of action-packed, engaging Darkness. Is Cumberbatch playing the giant space Amoeba? Hmm…

Could this be an alternate, alternate universe movie? Will we see spocks beard and is it played by nimoy or the new guy?

Will cat woman be in Kirk’s quarters?

I am excite.

Karl Urban absolutely nailed it as McCoy. He did a great job channelling DeForrest Kelley.

I remember in the days leading up to the release of “Star Trek” how everyone was hyping up Zachary Quinto’s Spock, but it was Karl Urban as McCoy who stole the show, for me at least.

More Kirk-Spock-McCoy moments, please!

@9 here here!

I especially want to see Spock vs. McCoy!! I love their relentless bantering in TOS.

Classic science fiction would be, for instance, “2001” and even Star Trek: The Motion Picture.

But ever since Star Wars, cinematic science fiction is all rayguns and spaceships.

That’s not science fiction – that’s just space opera.

Not that there’s anything wrong with a good old-fashioned shoot-em-up (I personally always liked “Moon Zero Two”) – but the problem is that’s what too many people think “just science fiction” is. (Asimov wrote an essay on “just science fiction” in his magazine’s review of “Close Encounters” way back when).

Karl absolutely channeled DeForest. It wasn’t an impersonation, but a dead-on interpretation of the character. He was the most perfect match for his character in the film. I really hope we get more of him in the new film.


Urban is exactly right in his approach to Bones and that’s why his performance stood out against the rest of the cast.

They were all great, but he truly understood the need to combine elements of homage to Kelly with the common elements he had within himself to the character.

Hence every scene Bones appears in, he steals the show.

Dredd is opening on September 31st? Is it only opening in some alternate universe?

Bones is probably my favorite character & Karl played him pitch-perfect … loved the bit where he expalined his nickname ‘Bones’. Am I right in saying that Karl actually came up with that?

Pretty sure Dreddi s opening on the 21st.

#15: I think that info was somewhere in the “behind the scenes” stuff in “Star Trek” 09 DVD, or in one of the Star Trek magazines.

And I agree about Karl’s pitch-perfect Bones.

Hope to see more exchanges between Bones and Spock in the new movie. I loved their “debate” in the first one, and the look on McCoy’s face when Spock “scored “with his last comment!

Karl’s portrayal of McCoy was great. I thought he nailed it very well.

I thought his McCoy was excellent, except everyone had a last line at the end, except him. They cut the “Same ship, different day” line.

Vulcan Soul: Then, pray tell, what would you call “The Wrath of Khan?” Go away, troll.

I can’t praise Karl enough. He’s absolutely perfect in that part. DeForest Kelly would be very proud of him.

Kelley not Kelly.

Yep, Karl was great. Hope to see more of him in the next one.

Of all the characters on Star Trek (2009), Urban’s portrayal of McCoy was probably the best. He did the best job of channeling DeForest Kelley without mocking him. I really hope he has a larger role in the next film.

Do you think JJ coaches tham on the words & phrases they use?

I hope the new movie has more Kirk-Spock-McCoy interplay. McCoy felt underused in ST 2009 like he was in the background so Uhura could be pushed into the spotlight. My love for Trek has always been because of the emotional core of Kirk-Spock-McCoy, be it Shatner-Nimoy-Kelley or Pine-Quinto-Urban or even Pine-Quino-Nimoy-Urban!

I’ve said this many times before but I would like to see more Dr. McCoy. In the series, he was this passionate man whose heart was in the right place even if he didn’t win the argument all of the time. He always got the funniest lines, Remember McCoy might fight with Spock but he really loved him. And Karl Urban does a great McCoy. Just a fun character.

Karl Urban totally inhabited the character of “Bones”. He stayed true to the original “Bones” but brought his own twist to the part, making it my favorite
character in the movie. I don’t think he received the kudos he should have for last film. Hoping he will have a bigger role.
As someone who watched the original series in the 60’s (and to many repeats to count) as well as every other series and movie that followed,
I was very nervous about the last movie before it came out. The thought of someone taking my beloved Star Trek crew and recasting them and possibly changing relationships just made me sick, but when I saw the movie I couldn’t believe how true to the original they kept it while making it feel new and up to date.

You know what would have been really hilarious? If Nimoy Spock met Urban McCoy! Could you imagine that dialogue? Also suppose that Urban McCoy walked into the conversation between Quinto Spock and Nimoy Spock!

#29 lol now that would be worth the admission fee alone!

Urban was fantastic as McCoy and I hope we get to see more of him in the upcoming movie

I’ve always been a McCoy fan. But ever since Karl Urban I love that character even more. He really is the perfect actor for that role and I hope to see a lot more of him in the next movie. :)

Urban has the wrong build for McCoy and that made me have low expectations but he made up for it in his portrayal. I think his take was the most accurate of any of the principals.