Five Favorite Films

Five Favorite Films with Karl Urban

The Star Trek and Red star also talks about working with Ernest Borgnine and Bruce Willis

by | July 23, 2010 | Comments


Karl Urban isn’t a household name… yet. But the rising star has had his share of memorable roles in some pretty iconic movie franchises. Chances are you’ll recognize the native New Zealander as Eomer, the exiled leader of the Riders of Rohan in the Lord of the Rings trilogy; or as Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy in the 2009 Star Trek prequel; or as Kirill, the Russian assassin on Jason Bourne’s tail in The Bourne Supremacy. This October, Urban stars alongside such premiere talent as Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren, and John Malkovich (among others) in the action film Red, based on the comic series of the same name. We were able to sit down with Urban at Comic-Con to talk about his Five Favorite Films, as well as what it was like to work with Ernest Borgnine and Bruce Willis. Read on for the full interview!

Out of the Past (1947,
96% Tomatometer)

Out of the Past
The first one I’m going to go with is a Robert Mitchum film called Out of the Past. Classic noir. You’ve got to see it. It’s cool as s—.

Queen Margot (1994,
77% Tomatometer)

Queen Margot
It’s difficult; I have so many. But moving right along, a French film, Queen Margot. I love the story, and I love the performances. Jean-Hugues Anglade plays the phenomenal character of this sort of sick, dying king. So that’s one of my favorites.

Cool Hand Luke (1967,
100% Tomatometer)

Cool Hand Luke

One of the inspirational films for me, Cool Hand Luke. Paul Newman. He’s just phenomenal. I mean, really. It’s the template for many films. You know, Jack Nicholson in [One Flew Over the] Cuckoo’s Nest, it’s the same kind of thing, the individual against the system. “What we’ve got here is a failure to communicate. Some men, you just can’t reach.” I love that film. Love it.

Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981,
94% Tomatometer)

Raiders of the Lost Ark

I’m gonna have to say, because of my childhood, and it’s such a strong influence for me, Raiders of the Lost Ark. I would define my interest in acting as a long-standing compulsion, and I was interested in pursuing this career since I was five years old. But it was films like Star Wars, or, you know, films that really got me interested. Star Wars, Raiders, JawsAlien. Alien I have to put on the list… I feel like… Every time, if I name a film like Alien, I say, “Well, I should really say Blade Runner as well.” You can’t… I mean, the attention to detail, and the characters. I just can’t wait to see where [Ridley Scott] goes next. The fact that he’s doing prequels has just got me giddy.

A Prophet (2009,
97% Tomatometer)

A Prophet

I just saw a phenomenal French film recently called A Prophet. Have you seen that? Got to check it out. It’s amazing, it was an amazing film. Oh oh, No Country for Old Men. Gotta have that in there. This five is expanding to 10, 12! No Country for Old Men. Phenomenal film. Loved that film.

Next, Urban talks about the experience of working with Ernest Borgnine, Bruce Willis, and whether or not he’ll have a part in the upcoming Hobbit films.

RT: So let’s talk about Red for a minute. Amazing cast!

Karl Urban: It’s insane. When I first signed onto the film, Bruce [Willis] was attached, Morgan [Freeman] was attached. I met the director, I read the script, and I loved the material, loved the character. “Yeah, I’m in!” And then it was just bizarre! Every week, it was like, “Oh, Helen Mirren’s just joined the cast. Oh, John Malkovich has just joined. Richard Dreyfuss. Ernest Borgnine.” It just became stupid, that this film was just turning into this beast with the most phenomenal cast. You know, they tested the film the other day, and apparently it went through the roof. The audience really loves this film, so I’m really looking forward to it getting out there.

Did you have any scenes with Borgnine?

I did, I did. He’s phenomenal. I mean, that was one of my most favorite days on this shoot. Getting to work with him and hearing him tell stories about Lee Marvin and [Sam] Peckinpah and From Here to Eternity. He’s one of the last real old-school guys around, back from the ’40s, the ’50s. He was kicking it with Monty Clift and [Frank] Sinatra and [Robert] Mitchum and all those guys. Yeah, so that was a real treat. And to have the opportunity to work with him? He’s 90-something, sharp as a tack and on his game. He put in a full day.

It’s got to be a thrill to work with a guy like Bruce Willis, having presumably grown up on movies like his.

Oh yeah, absoultely.

Is it tough to keep from being starstruck?

No, I mean… You know, I’ve been doing this long enough that what you come to realize is that people are all the same. We have the same basic needs and functions. So I don’t get starstruck so much, but for me, certainly, to have the opportunity to go head to head with one of the most iconic action heroes of all time was an offer I couldn’t refuse. It was really wonderful because, quite often, these stars like Bruce are highly revered and you hear so much about them, there’s a high degree of expectation about who they are and what they can deliver and what they’re like on set. And I have to say that it was such a pleasant surprise to me that all my expectations were thoroughly exceeded by how cool this guy is and how wonderful he was to everybody and how he was just a rock solid captain of the ship. Fun to be around, relaxed, you know, just one of the guys. There was no sort of air or pretenses like “I’m Mr. Superstar.” He was really humble and welcoming to be around.

Not a lot of people seem to be able to bounce between heroic and villainous roles. Is there one you prefer to do? Is there one that’s more fun?

I have no preference, no. To me, I’m just attracted to what fuels me creatively. I don’t really plan out to any great degree what I do, and perhaps I should. But if I read a script and I respond to the characters, and I start making decisions on how I would play them, then that is, to me, an indication of “Well, that’s something I should do.” In the case of Star Trek, I was a longtime fan of the show, so I actively pursued that. But no, you know what? The bad guys are fun to play because they get to do and say the things that we never can in real life, and as far as playing a hero or good guy, it’s one of the things that attracts you as a kid when you’re watching movies. You know, you put yourself in the position of the hero and you want to be that hero, so that’s a lot of fun as well.

So I have to ask, since it’s in the news all the time now. Presumably, Eomer’s not in the Hobbit movies, but any chance you might talk your way into a different role?

No, no I don’t think so. I have enough respect for Peter Jackson and Fran [Walsh] and Phillipa [Boyens] and all the team there. I just feel very grateful to have already worked with them on such a well-renowned and -loved bunch of films. Would I like to do The Hobbit? Absolutely. But I couldn’t conceivably do it as Eomer; he wasn’t even born when that period of Tolkien was set.

Red, starring Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren, John Malkovich, and of course, Karl Urban, opens in the US on October 15.

Be sure to check out the rest of our 2010 Comic-Con coverage in our San Diego Comic-Con 2010 Headquarters.

Tag Cloud

mission: impossible GoT Emmy Nominations Columbia Pictures vampires ITV Family E3 Christmas A24 series news golden globes 20th Century Fox MSNBC 2018 Country animated comic Apple spy thriller revenge Lifetime Christmas movies Freeform SXSW miniseries nature DC streaming service TCA Awards IFC Lifetime President Funimation ESPN Cosplay die hard rotten American Society of Cinematographers technology indiana jones Fox News VICE 72 Emmy Awards Crunchyroll anime 4/20 The Walking Dead Stephen King spider-man psycho Pop TV video on demand Schedule Oscars richard e. Grant police drama 007 TV HBO FX on Hulu halloween tv Epix nbcuniversal tv talk Ellie Kemper Martial Arts Food Network romance 2015 remakes OneApp Nat Geo GIFs CNN child's play disaster Rom-Com Brie Larson Pop RT21 spain Binge Guide cinemax blockbuster Reality Competition TCA Winter 2020 obituary natural history Anna Paquin Holiday cars franchise BET Marvel cartoon Extras DC Comics Pirates GLAAD Arrowverse discovery NYCC Shondaland dogs USA HBO Max ABC ghosts elevated horror directors MTV cancelled TV series Amazon Prime Video strong female leads Elton John best Mudbound Disney+ Disney Plus Hear Us Out casting concert Netflix Christmas movies Academy Awards docudrama Crackle canceled TV shows Awards Tour PlayStation Black History Month TLC See It Skip It TCM Tarantino 2020 Musical japanese asian-american Musicals The Academy TCA cops unscripted boxoffice Winter TV Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt green book Paramount award winner Grammys independent Nickelodeon dark Year in Review Esquire Animation anthology war Classic Film science fiction Mary Poppins Returns Walt Disney Pictures toronto sequels Warner Bros. documentaries cancelled chucky E! Pride Month game of thrones Captain marvel National Geographic cults X-Men stand-up comedy documentary BBC One Britbox hist 24 frames RT History quibi children's TV APB Bravo FXX Action adventure Writers Guild of America movies Watching Series TBS TV Land hollywood zombies Comics on TV facebook dc CBS All Access criterion Summer travel cooking Sneak Peek Rock emmy awards Sundance Reality transformers medical drama latino Tomatazos australia Ghostbusters Comedy Central werewolf Mindy Kaling Amazon Prime Song of Ice and Fire renewed TV shows 21st Century Fox composers IFC Films Rocky Disney streaming service free movies Box Office Cartoon Network worst movies 71st Emmy Awards YouTube Premium Polls and Games The CW Hulu Marvel Television Red Carpet Netflix ratings DC Universe comiccon talk show Discovery Channel ABC Family FOX doctor who Star Wars aliens diversity Peacock video AMC spanish Lucasfilm Acorn TV The Arrangement Pet Sematary History SDCC screen actors guild El Rey Amazon Studios Logo scorecard Travel Channel Amazon 2019 Comic Book LGBTQ canceled Countdown game show Television Academy teaser Set visit BET Awards sequel french toy story hispanic black BBC America blaxploitation Winners DirecTV films NBC batman a nightmare on elm street Apple TV Plus Fantasy BAFTA Avengers Heroines Masterpiece parents TV renewals Horror Mystery fast and furious joker Baby Yoda HBO Go halloween Starz Calendar venice CBS breaking bad Disney Plus Turner Spring TV crime Mary poppins FX cancelled television CMT italian Valentine's Day dragons biography ID Nominations south america Infographic politics Apple TV+ 45 TNT Best and Worst WarnerMedia historical drama VH1 Disney Spike Superheroes Toys Marvel Studios Teen classics crime thriller Dark Horse Comics SundanceTV robots comedies romantic comedy social media political drama Trophy Talk festival Fox Searchlight thriller adaptation comics San Diego Comic-Con serial killer boxing james bond Video Games Super Bowl scary movies Women's History Month jamie lee curtis Premiere Dates foreign harry potter Disney Channel Trivia Quiz Sundance Now VOD television Holidays CW Seed dramedy Sony Pictures TCA 2017 universal monsters Awards Paramount Network The Witch Tumblr rt archives Sundance TV Turner Classic Movies Endgame Shudder The Purge book Kids & Family stop motion satire crime drama Alien Photos Hallmark Christmas movies spinoff theme song worst rotten movies we love Thanksgiving movie Rocketman Film Festival dceu Fall TV Western Music Lionsgate Character Guide Spectrum Originals YA sitcom festivals A&E zero dark thirty streaming Sci-Fi Film Syfy sports christmas movies mutant singing competition USA Network Comedy 2016 Election Opinion Black Mirror space Chernobyl Trailer Certified Fresh sag awards reboot true crime YouTube First Reviews mockumentary Creative Arts Emmys First Look MCU Tubi Star Trek Adult Swim Superheroe crossover Vudu stoner deadpool fresh Podcast LGBT versus kids spanish language Mary Tyler Moore PBS Hallmark OWN psychological thriller BBC nfl archives laika football cats 99% Ovation 2017 superhero period drama screenings justice league Universal YouTube Red based on movie Pixar DGA PaleyFest supernatural critics finale all-time comic books TIFF Drama cancelled TV shows slashers zombie Showtime binge witnail reviews what to watch TruTV Biopics Emmys Marathons Chilling Adventures of Sabrina WGN indie twilight Cannes New York Comic Con Interview name the review Television Critics Association