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Karl Urban Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (3) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (1) | Trade Mark (3) | Trivia (29) | Personal Quotes (23)

Overview (3)

Date of Birth 7 June 1972Wellington, New Zealand
Birth NameKarl-Heinz Urban
Height 6' 1" (1.85 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Originally from Wellington, New Zealand, Karl Urban now lives in Auckland. Born on June 7, 1972, he is the son of a leather-goods manufacturer (who had hoped that Karl would follow in his footsteps). His first acting role was when he was 8 -- he had a line on a television series. However, he did not act again until after high school. He was offered a role in the NZ soap opera Shortland Street (1992) as he was preparing to attend Victoria University. After appearing on the series for the 1993-1994 season, he attended the university for one year, then left to pursue his acting career. Over the next few years, he landed several theater roles in the Wellington area. Eventually, he moved to Auckland, where a number of guest roles in NZ television followed. One of his first roles was that of a heroin addict in the drama series Shark in the Park (1989). He was in a movie as well, entitled Once in Chunuck Bay (aka Chunuk Bair (1992)). Other television roles followed, including a guest-starring role in the series White Fang (1993). Karl's biggest roles include Éomer in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, as well as Dr. Leonard "Bones" McCoy in Star Trek (2009), William Cooper in RED (2010) and Judge Dredd in Dredd (2012).

- IMDb Mini Biography By: AvidDark <jdh@g33k.net>

Spouse (1)

Natalie Wihongi (16 September 2004 - present) (separated) (2 children)

Trade Mark (3)

Deep commanding voice
Dark intense staring eyes
Often plays wisecracking, highly adept characters

Trivia (29)

He is, and has almost always been, very active. He worked on his aunt and uncle's farm for many years doing odd jobs. For filming the Lord of the Rings movies, he realized that Eomer was a consummate horseman and he was nowhere near that level, so he invested a lot of time learning: six to eight weeks, five days a week, two hours a day. He wanted to learn to neck rein, a method of steering a horse using one hand while leaving the other hand free to wield a sword. He wanted to be so at one with the horse that he wasn't conscious or concerned about what the horse was doing. In addition, he also enjoys indoor rock climbing.
Has a black Lab terrier named Ire (pronounced eye-ree) after a Bob Marley song (from the album "Uprising").
His hobbies include fishing, surfing, golf and gardening.
Had a beret and coat to perform self-written Frank Spencer skits at ages 11 and 12 as school assembly entertainment.
Primary school classmates with Jack Yan.
Reportedly received a $400,000 bonus for his work on "The Lord of the Rings" [London Daily Mail, December 5, 2003].
Has a son, Hunter Urban (born November 1, 2000), with wife Natalie Wihongi.
Did roles on Xena: Warrior Princess (1995): Emperor Julius Caesar, Kor the caveman, and Mael (biblical character), Icas's brother. Also did roles on Hercules: The Legendary Journeys (1995): Cupid, son of Aphrodite and Caesar.
His character of Cupid was originally written into the Xena: Warrior Princess (1995) Season 5 finale episode "Motherhood", but Urban was unavailable because he was filming The Lord of the Rings elsewhere in New Zealand. As compensation, Rob Tapert wrote the Season 6 episode "When Fates Collide" specifically for him, this time for his more-popular character of Julius Caesar. Tapert also used this episode as an opportunity to bid farewell to two other fan-favorite recurring characters: Alti and Brutus, portrayed by Claire Stansfield and David Franklin. "When Fates Collide" became one of the most popular episodes of the entire series.
Was introduced in the second installment of each of the three huge franchises he has appeared in: The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002), The Bourne Supremacy (2004) and The Chronicles of Riddick (2004).
Good friends with co-stars Viggo Mortensen from The Lord of the Rings and Renée O'Connor from Xena: Warrior Princess (1995).
Was considered for the role of Kainan in Outlander (2008), which went to Jim Caviezel.
Has appeared in The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003), which was previously made as an animated film with the voice of John Huston. Urban later appeared in Comanche Moon (2008), a prequel to Lonesome Dove (1989), which featured Anjelica Huston.
Has German ancestry on his father's side.
Has played the younger versions of iconic characters in two "prequels". He plays Woodrow Call in the Lonesome Dove (1989) prequel Comanche Moon (2008), and Dr. Leonard "Bones" McCoy in Star Trek (2009).
Very good friends with his Star Trek (2009) co-stars Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto.
Has replaced Tommy Lee Jones as Woodrow Call in the Lonesome Dove series, and Sylvester Stallone as Judge Dredd. Both characters previously appeared in films opposite Diane Lane.
Has two sons: Hunter (born November 2000) and Indiana (Indy) (born January 2005).
Is an ambassador for KidsCan, a charity that supports more than 16,000 disadvantaged children by providing shoes, food, and coats.
Started his acting career at the age of 8.
His father is a German immigrant and owned a leather-goods factory. His mother worked for Film Facilities in Wellington, New Zealand.
Was a huge fan of both the Doctor Who and Star Trek franchises long before being cast as Dr. Leonard "Bones" McCoy in the Star Trek (2009) remake.
Has stated that his favorite Xena: Warrior Princess (1995) episode is Xena: Warrior Princess: A Day in the Life (1997), in which he did not appear.
Enjoys video games, which is what influenced him to take a role in the film adaptation Doom (2005).
His accent as Dr. Leonard "Bones" McCoy in Star Trek (2009) was so reminiscent of DeForest Kelley that it reportedly moved Leonard Nimoy (who starred alongside Kelley in the original series and films) to tears.
He named his son "Indiana" after Harrison Ford's iconic character Indiana Jones, of whom Karl is a huge fan.
Has been a huge fan of the 2000 AD Comics' character Judge Dredd since his teens and got to play the character in the film adaptation Dredd (2012).
On the set of The Chronicles of Riddick (2004), he passed the time by playing Dungeons & Dragons with Vin Diesel, Judi Dench and Thandie Newton.
Is a huge fan of rugby union; in particular, the New Zealand All Blacks national team.

Personal Quotes (23)

[on his fondest memory of working with Peter Jackson while shooting the Lord of the Rings trilogy] Peter's really open to the humor in the day-to-day. One time, we were referencing a line in the book, "We counted all the slain and despoiled them, then we piled the carcasses and burned them." Of course, we went on all sorts of disgusting tangents about what else these Rohan soldiers did to the poor Orcs.
[on a Dredd (2012) sequel] It's not off the agenda. Clearly everyone has woken up to the fact that an audience has found this movie and loves it. It's entirely possible, and if people want to see another installment then they should be vocal about that, because it can happen. The power of fandom can resurrect projects. In fact, that's what happened with Star Trek (1966). They weren't going to do a third season until fans did a letter-writing campaign and they continued that series.
When I work, I try to eat as much vegetarian as possible. When I do Cupid, I eat vegetarian because I need the energy. I've got those wings on my back.
Nothing beats a great smile.
I don't believe I could work as effectively at what I do without the support of my wife.
I like the time frame involved in being an actor.
I love fishing and surfing, and I work out every day.
I never envisioned when I was reading that comic as a 17-year-old that I would have the opportunity to actually play the character.
I was a fan of the Dredd comics when I was a teenager.
I'm high-energy.
Now I'm this far up the ladder and I've got so much farther to go with what I want to achieve with it.
I did a little theater work after that and the following year I got another part in a television series. Then it was almost to the end of the year before I got more work. That was coming to terms with the reality of the vocation I had chosen.
I don't see a benefit in accepting every single little morsel of work that comes along because I think, in essence, what you're doing is you're raping yourself really.
I'll need every ounce that I have to drive it through. Film and TV require that energy. Sometimes fight scenes can be pretty intense. When I was shooting Heaven (1998), it was truly guerrilla filmmaking.
If I read a script and find it engaging and I start making choices in my mind on how to approach the work, than that's a good indication that it is something worth pursuing.
It was always something I knew I was capable of and from an early age my mother was involved in the film industry. She used to work at a production company. So I was exposed to a renaissance period of films in New Zealand back in the early 80s.
It's such a small industry here, you inevitably end up working with the same people over and over again. There are only so many actors to go around, which is good for us.
My philosophy is whatever you do, you've got to invest in yourself. If you don't, there are a lot of people out there who will get the job because they're more prepared than you.
That is a big danger, losing your inspiration. When I work in film and television I try to do each take a little differently. I never want to do the same thing twice, because then you're not being spontaneous, you're just recreating something.
That's always an interesting concept when you try to make your dream into a reality and you come up against the facts of exactly what it is you're attempting to do.
There's only so much you can do until you get on set and see the aesthetics of what you're dealing with. Then you see what the other players are giving to you. It's all about the transfer of energy between different actors.
When you work so hard on making a film, it's all worthwhile when you get to experience seeing that film with an audience who thoroughly enjoy it and react to the movie.
Dredd (2012) represented a failure in marketing. I saw the tracking of that film weeks before it came out and the fundamental problem was no one knew it was being released. Once it came out on DVD and it sold 750,000 copies in the first week alone in North America alone, it was very clear that the audience had discovered it. [2016]

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