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Karl Urban on Dredd: The Helmet Stays on

By on September 5, 2011
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With production on the new Dredd movie continuing in South Africa, leading man Karl Urban took some time to speak with Total Film about the movie’s titular character, Judge Dredd. Urban was keen to reassure fans of the original British comic series that his Judge Dredd, unlike Sylvester Stallone’s 1995 version, would not be removing his helmet for the duration of the film.

Dredd, based on 2000 AD‘s Judge Dredd comic, is set in a violent and dystopian futuristic city called Mega City One, in which the overstretched police force has the authority to act as judge, jury and executioner.

“If anyone if familiar with Dredd, over the years there are many times when he removes his helmet but you never fully see his face,” said Urban. “This was a construct by the creators because he represents a faceless system of justice and law.”

“I say this hypothetically. If I went to a movie called Judge Dredd and the lead actor at one point took of his helmet so we could see his full face I would just puke in my popcorn because that’s not Dredd. He is mysterious and enigmatic. We’re doing it right, it’s gonna be harder, grittier and above all faithful to the comic. It’s gonna kick ass.”

In a previous interview with Empire, Urban referred to the 1995 Sylvester Stallone movie Judge Dredd as a missed opportunity.

I think somewhere along the line Stallone’s film was a missed opportunity. As soon as he took his helmet off the enigma was blown. Our film is going to be darker in tone, and we’ve got the benefit of modern filmmaking and technology to help us.”

Urban is aware that keeping his face covered for the duration of the movie will necessitate thoughtful interpretation of the Dredd character, if audiences are expected to be won over.

You’re taught as an actor that if you take away the eyes you have to think about what you’re left with – there’s the voice; there’s body language. How a character does what he does speaks volumes. So those are the tools I will have to employ.”

Dredd is expected to hit theaters on September 21st 2012.