The man who plays Leonard McCoy talks Beyond, the relationship between Spock and McCoy, and the reason he was initially hesitant to return.
Karl Urban, in an interview with StarTrek.com, felt that the version of McCoy depicted in Star Trek Beyond is the most complete version of the character he has had the benefit to play. Urban was thankful for the openness director Justin Lin and writers Simon Pegg and Doug Jung had, noting “I collaborated with Simon and Doug and Justin to bring a well-defined version of the character to screen,” adding “there’s a lot of material in the film that’s a direct result of e-mails and conversations and opinions that I held about what I wanted the character to do in this movie.”
Urban continues, “for example, when Spock stitches McCoy up, and [Spock] volunteers him for a dangerous mission, the whole sequence boarding the transporter pad was filled with dialogue that I had submitted and was approved. There was the scene before we go into the cave where Spock says, “Fascinating,” and McCoy says, “Dark. Ominous. Dangerous.” I can’t remember the exact words. But, you know. And it’s the direct opposite to what Spock’s saying. There’s a lot of other little instances of the little beats, like when McCoy’s in the hive ship and asks Spock if that was classical music, in reference to the Beastie Boys.”
Urban was hesitant to return to the franchise because he was in agreement with fans and critics that McCoy had become marginalized in Star Trek Into Darkness. Urban was out of contract and in negotiations for another film, “but I got on the phone with Justin Lin, and I raised my concerns and issues with him. And he outlined the story and the vision that he had for the character. And I was immediately intrigued and also somewhat reassured that he was a long-term fan of Star Trek, that he understood the weight and value of the character, and how the character interacts with Spock and Kirk. So that gave me a great deal of security, which enabled me to make the decision.”
Urban explains, “[exploring McCoy’s relationship with Kirk] was really kind of what drew me back to reprise the role again. I felt that in Into Darkness, Kirk’s relationship with McCoy was, by and large, completely inferred. And especially when you put it in context of the historical relationship that they share in not only the original TV series, but also in Star Trek: The Motion Picture and The Wrath of Khan. And then it was nice in this one to actually be able to see McCoy function not only as a friend, but also as a psychologist. And to help put Kirk in touch with his existential dilemma.”
For more from Urban on the film’s relationship between McCoy and Spock, filming action sequences, his admiration for Justin Lin, and his upcoming films, check out the entire interview at StarTrek.com.