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Actor Karl Urban gets killer roles

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 17, 2010 12:13 pm    Post subject: Actor Karl Urban gets killer roles Reply with quote

'RED,' 'Lord of the Rings,' 'Star Trek': actor Karl Urban gets killer roles
The Kansas City Star

Karl Urban lives in two worlds.

He’s a citizen of Hollywood, thanks to appearances in such films as “The Lord of the Rings” (playing a warrior) and the recent reboot of “Star Trek” (as Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy).

But the 38-year-old actor is also a proud Kiwi, a resident of Auckland, New Zealand. And he doesn’t want to forget it.

“Like it or not, I’ve become a global citizen,” Urban said in a recent phone conversation, without a trace of a Down Under accent. “The challenge is to maintain your cultural identity, especially back in your home country, where it’s all too easy to be perceived as someone who ran off to Hollywood.

“So while I may work internationally, I live in New Zea-land and plan to always do so.”

Meanwhile, he’s all over the place. Recent film shoots have seen the actor on sets in South Africa (2012’s “Dredd”), Argentina (“And Soon the Darkness”) and New Orleans (“Black Water Transit”).

In his action comedy “RED,” which opened Friday, he portrays a deadly government agent assigned to eliminate retired CIA spies played by Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren and John Malkovich.

For an actor, Urban said, working with that bunch was like an extended master class.

“There was such a huge collective amount of experience going into this project. And it wasn’t about anybody being the star. … It’s very much an ensemble piece. So it was a fantastic experience to collaborate with people of this caliber.”

Though a secondary character, Urban’s William Cooper may have the largest story arc of any in the film.

“That was one of the attractions,” he said. “Cooper was very well-written, not just a two-dimensional man of action. When you first see him he’s an efficient, emotionless killer — kind of a straight man. That was hard because the other actors got to do funny things. I was suffering from yuk envy.

“But you enter Cooper’s story at one point and then go some place completely different. He’s a killer with a family, and that may be his weakness.”

Urban can identify.

“The worst part of what I do is spending so much time away from my own family. I try to bring the wife and kids with me when I can, but that isn’t often. The children have school, friends. … You can’t drag them all over the world.”

But then there are the rewards.

“There’s the pleasure of working with great actors. And recently I watched “RED” with an audience. They were laughing their butts off. That feels really good.”


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