Photo by Tom Gardiner

Wizard World NOLA 2015 – Karl Urban on Star Trek, Dredd, Almost Human

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It was a packed house when actor Karl Urban took the stage. The hall was literally filled to capacity with excited fans as the new(ish) face of Doctor Leonard McCoy sat down for a chat with the audience.

There was no shortage of questions from fans who formed two very long lines at the microphones set up in the hall. Not surprisingly, many of the questions focused on his role as Bones in the series of rebooted Star Trek films. Urban tells the audience the story of how he auditioned for, and eventually got, the coveted and iconic role of everyone’s favorite cranky space doctor. The only thing he did to study the mannerisms of the late, great DeForest Kelley was to watch the box set of the original series with his son.

There was also a lot of interest in Dredd and whether there’d be a sequel. (Urban would like that a lot) A fan asked him if he studied the Stallone version of the film “to learn what not to do”. While this elicited chuckles from the audience, Urban gave a thoughtful explanation of how differently comic book films were treated back then compared to how they are now. Today, they’re given a much greater degree of realism than they were a couple of decades ago, so an outright comparison of the two versions isn’t really fair.

We also had to visit the still somewhat sore subject of Almost Human, the buddy cops-and-robots drama taken from us all too soon. Judging by the reaction from the crowd, everyone really wanted it to continue, which again is no big surprise. Urban said the work involved long, hard hours and he expressed his respect for television actors who regularly put in those long hours for up to nine months at a time to make episodic television. It turns out a lot of the banter between Urban’s John Kennex and Michael Ealy’s Dorian was unscripted improvisation. The two actors had great chemistry in that show and apparently they “clicked” when working together.

Urban will be donning his Starfleet uniform once again for a third installment in the rebooted Star Trek franchise which is currently scheduled for release some time in 2016. Until then, dig out your copies of the previous Trek films or maybe marathon watch the precious few episodes of Almost Human FOX gave us. If you’re feeling really nostalgic, you can rewind a couple of decades and catch Urban during his Hercules and Xena: Warrior Princess days. That ought to make you feel really, really old.

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Tom Gardiner