There are only a few people that have taken the time to shake everyone’s hand before or after an interview. Angelina Jolie did it, Don Hahn, and a few others. When Karl Urban walked into the room for his interview during the Thor: Ragnarok Event, he came into the room and made sure to shake everyone’s hand. Introducing himself and grateful for our time. His performance in the new Marvel movie will quickly answer the burning question, who plays Skurge?
Who plays Skurge?
Let’s start with who is Skurge. An Asgardian soldier with an obsession for armaments from other worlds, Skurge has collected an arsenal of strange and incredible weapons from across the Nine Realms. Now, in Asgard’s time of struggle, Skurge must use his amazing armory to ensure its survival.
Karl Urban Interview
So, what was the experience seeing the movie for the first time?
Oh, I just feel so blessed. It was such a pleasurable experience to not only see the film with my friends and colleagues but to see the film with an audience. They were thoroughly entertained, and again you have to give full credit to Taika and Marvel for really producing a film that I think reboots Thor in a wonderful healthy positive way. And I’m so happy for Chris that he’s actually finally been given the opportunity to spread his wings. I think that this film showcases his complete full potential. And, you know, everyone is allowed to bring it.
I heard that a lot of the movie is improvised, can you go into that?
Allegedly… I guess full credit goes to Marvel. They hired (Director) Taika (Waititi), who has a very, strong comedic style and sensibility and they let him do his job.
There was already a brilliant foundation in the script, and we would shoot a couple of versions of what was on the page. Then shoot a wealth of material that that Taika quite frankly just made up (Laughing), and there was nothing sacrilegious about a take. You’d be in the middle of a take, and he’d be, “oh why don’t you say this, say this line.”
And it’s, you know, or a piece of direction just yell it out. And it was kind of liberating because you felt comfortable in that there was no such thing as a bad choice. There was nothing precious about it. And I think that really afforded everybody the wonderful freedom to fully explore all the options. I can’t wait to see the extras on this movie. It’s like the movie is funny and entertaining but I think the extras are going to be as equally entertaining and I can’t wait to see them.
I like the arc of your character, how Skurge wanted to be part of the warriors.
Well, it was on the page. I got a call from Taika and saying listen there’s this character in this movie that I’d love you to give a go. I’d wanted to work with Taika for a long time. I’m a huge fan of his work from What We Do In The Shadows to Wilderpeople, and Boy. So already he had my half hooked right just by calling me, but he sent me the script, and I immediately recognized that there was something, uh, profoundly emotionally compelling about this character’s journey that was eminently relatable.
Here’s a character that’s put in a situation where he has to make a decision, he has aligned himself with a cause that he does not believe in but it’s the only thing he can do to survive. I thought that was a very interesting moral dilemma. And then, of course, you know, once he’s crossed that bridge and he realizes there is no turning back, then he is looking for a way to redeem himself, and that was ultimately his journey. And it resonated on the page. So I had full confidence that left unmolested it was going to translate onto the screen.
I heard you didn’t realize what the role was at first, what did you think when you found out that there was a transition?
Yeah well, it’s always a mistake to play a stereotypical caricature of the villain. Just to twirl the mustache, wear a black hat, and that’s pretty boring. What makes a character in my opinion interesting is the faults and the flaws that you can understand. In this case, it’s pretty clear that this character is just trying to survive. You could see what it meant to him, like his fear, his regret, his internal repulsion at what he was seeing was palpable. But he had no choice.
What kind of things did you do to help get into character?
I can say this is one of the most fun sets that I’ve ever been on, Taika is constantly playing music in between takes. I’m so proud of him. He handled himself with quite an aplomb, and I imagine it would have been a pressure cooker situation to be responsible for this behemoth movie. But he did it with such aplomb and such grace and style. And he created an environment that was not only fun, but it was focused. And that’s a rarity.
Cate and Tessa are awesome in Thor: Ragnarok. How important is it to you to see that kind of strong women presence in a movie?
It’s imperative. I think it would have been a boring movie without them. Cate and Tessa are so wonderful in this film. They are my favorite parts of the movie, and I love seeing Tessa’s swagger. I love the journey of her character from the dark place that she was into redemption, reclaiming herself with her identity. I thought it was a strong, compelling journey.
I had such a wonderful time working with Cate Blanchett. I mean to be perfectly honest, she was the reason I decided to do this movie. It was the opportunity to work with Cate Blanchett. I read that script and saw that ninety percent of my material was with her, I’m like where do I sign up? How much do I pay you?
What’s it like being part of Marvel Universe? And will we see you in any of the Dredd films?
Being part of Marvel Universe is an absolute pleasure. They are a wonderful collaborative company. And I just have a huge degree of admiration or respect for what they have done. And particularly what they have done on this film and how they’ve supported Taika. They put a network around him and gave him the freedom and had the courage to let him do his job. That’s what nobody does it better than these guys. Many people try and copy them, but they have got a formula and they are heavily aligned with the creative element of the process. And I think that’s to their benefit.
And about the Dredd TV show, okay well, Rebellion, who own the rights to Dredd is in the process of developing a TV show that won’t be a sequel to the movie. It’ll be, I guess, a reboot or a reimagining. And I’ve said to them yes I’m interested in reprising that role if they write a character that has a purpose and a function and there’s a sort of an emotionally compelling story. Then I would love the opportunity to go back and continue to explore that character.
And so we’ll see what they do. I guess the movie that I’m most excited about apart from Thor is a film that I shot this year with Sofía Vergara, who’s so brilliant. It’s this movie called Bent that was written and directed by Bobby Moresco, who wrote Crash and Million Dollar Baby. It’s got a great pedigree it’s a sort of a modern take on a classic noir genre, and I just had the best time working with Sofía I think you all know her for her comedy, which she does extraordinarily well. In this film, she engineers a real paradigm shift, and she plays this femme fatale, and she’s going to blow people away.
How is your process different working on TV as opposed to a Marvel film?
Well, the last television project I did was a few years ago now. I found that to be quite grueling. Quite often working seventeen hours days six days a week. I loved working with the cast and crew on that, but it wasn’t my most pleasurable experience. Tactfully diplomatically put, but it sucked. I don’t believe all television is like that.
It was just my particular experience on that production. That being said, working on this film was a sheer pleasure, and we worked hard. We worked some six-day weeks but we worked ten hour days, we didn’t stop for lunch. And so there was a constant momentum. And so between that sort of demand and had a limited amount of time to get it and with Taika providing the soundtrack made it enjoyable.
Having twelve and sixteen-year-old boys, you’re trying to survive and do the right thing. How do you teach that to your boys?
I think with parenting the key is to lead by example, and provide a lot of love and support for them. I’m also a firm believer in allowing them to fall and allowing them to make mistakes because that is ultimately the way we learn. If you can learn from somebody else’s mistake, then you’re smart. But most of us learn by making mistakes.
It’s wonderful to watch them grow and flourish when you don’t push them too hard. I think that’s when I’m most proud of my sons. When out of their own volition, they start to make the right choices in life. Like, “I’m going to go and get a part-time job.” Or, “I’m going to start eating healthier.” They try and give you credit, but really, they just make their minds up themselves. It’s what they want to do.
Imprisoned on the other side of the universe, the mighty Thor finds himself in a deadly gladiatorial contest that pits him against the Hulk, his former ally, and fellow Avenger. Thor’s quest for survival leads him in a race against time to prevent the all-powerful Hela from destroying his home world and the Asgardian civilization.
THOR: RAGNAROK opens in theaters everywhere November 3rd!
*I was invited by Disney to attend the Thor Ragnarok Event to share my experience with my readers. All opinions are my own.