The Art of Random Willy-Nillyness: Thor's Skurge - an interview with Karl Urban! #thorragnarokevent
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Thursday, November 2, 2017

Thor's Skurge - an interview with Karl Urban! #thorragnarokevent

Disclosure: I attended the #ThorRagnarokevent and my expenses: flight, accommodations, transportation and some meals were be covered by Disney. All opinions, however, are always 100% mine.

I have to say that the best interview we had during the Thor Ragnarok event was Karl Urban. What a nice man. He came into the room and shook every single one of our hands. Then he sat down and gave us a great interview.

The other thing about Karl is that he is charming and funny and so unlike his character in Thor Ragnarok. In Ragnarok, Karl's character Skurge is a man who makes the wrong decision in order to stay alive. His wrong decision leads to a lot of conflict. Karl's acting is amazing because you see the pain, indecision and realization of his choice. Of all the characters in Ragnarok, Karl's is the most emotionally compelling.

You probably recognize Karl from Star Trek and Dredd. He was so different than I imagined him to be. He was a real gentleman and such a great guy! Here are the highlights of our interview!! Enjoy!

Photo Credit: Allison Waken / 

Q: I heard that a lot of the movie is improvised, can you go into that?

Karl: Allegedly. I guess full credit to Marvel. They hired a director who has a very strong comedic style and sensibility and they actually 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 and then shoot a wealth of material that Taika [Waititi] quite frankly just made up 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 line. It was actually kind of liberating because you felt comfortable in that you could- there was no such thing as a bad choice that, there was nothing precious about it. I think that really kind of afforded everybody a wonderful freedom to fully explore all the options. I can't wait to see the extras on this movie. 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.

Photo Credit: Allison Waken / 

Q : Do you have a favorite scene that didn't make it in that you wish it had?

Karl: I like Skurge’s introduction when I'm trying to woo the young ladies. They had a whole collection of stolen stuff that Skurge had had pillaged from the universe. You only got to see one thing of me shaking whatever that thing was.

[From the group] it's a shake away.

They had all sorts of stuff. We shot for hours with me with fishing rods with lures and all sorts of crazy stuff, so I'm looking forward to seeing that.

Q : Was last night the first time you saw the movie?

Karl : Yes, it was.

Q : What did you think?

Karl: I just you know what it was it was and I feel so blessed. It was such a pleasurable experience to not only see the with my friends and colleagues but to to see the film with an audience who were thoroughly entertained. Again, you have to give full credit to Taika and to Marvel for producing a film that I think reboots Thor in a wonderful healthy positive way. And I'm so happy for Chris that he's finally been given the opportunity to spread his wings. I think that this film showcases his complete full potential. Everyone is allowed to bring it.

Q : I really like the arc of your character, how he wanted to be part of the warriors?

Karl: I got a call from Taika saying listen there's this character in this movie that I I’d love you to go and 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. He had my half hooked right just by calling me but he sent me the script and I immediately recognized that there was actually something 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 in order to survive. I thought that was a very interesting moral dilemma. And 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. It resonated on the page.

I had full confidence that left unmolested it was going to translate onto the screen.

Q : 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?

Karl: It's always a mistake to play a stereotypical caricature of the villain, you know, just to twirl the moustache, wear a black hat, that's pretty boring. What makes a character, in my opinion, interesting is the faults and the flaws that you you can understand. In this case, it's pretty clear this character is just trying to survive.

You could see what it meant to him, like his fear, his re- regret, his internal repulsion at what he was seeing was palpable. But he had no choice. It just felt like it was eminently relatable.

Q : What kind of things did you do to help get into character?

Karl: 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 really handled himself with quite 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 an environment that was not only fun but it was focused. And, that's a rarity.

Q : [Women] are awesome and were fighting against everything, what does that mean for you? Is that important for you?

Karl: It's imperative. I think it would have been a boring movie without Cate and Tessa [they] 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 in to redemption, to reclaiming herself with her identity.

I thought it was a strong compelling journey. I had such a wonderful time working with Cate Blanchett. 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?

Q : What's it like being part of Marvel Universe and what's next for you, will we see you in any of the Dredd films?

Karl: Being part of Marvel Universe is an absolute pleasure, they are a wonderful collaborative company. I just have a huge degree of admiration or respect for what they have done. Particularly what they have done on this film and how they've supported Taika and put a network around him and gave him the freedom and had the courage to let him do his job.

Nobody does it better than than these guys. Many people try and copy them, they have got a formula and they they are heavily aligned with the creative element of the process. And I think that's to their benefit.

Rebellion who own the rights to Dredd are in the process of developing a a TV show that won’t be a sequel to the movie, but it’ll be I guess a reboot or a reimagining. And I've said to them I'm interested in reprising that role if they write a character that has a purpose and a function and an emotionally compelling story, then I would love the opportunity to go back and continue to explore that character.

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, 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. 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 she's going to blow people away.

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THOR: RAGNAROK opens in theaters everywhere November 3rd! 

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