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Karl
Urban

Written by admin, 11 months ago, 1 Comment

By Elle Morris  Photography by Dennys Ilic

“I do believe that we have become desensitized to the whole notion of consequence for acts or actions,” Urban says, “And particularly pertaining to death and the devaluation of human life… in a society that has become so enamored with the culture of lightweight fast food celebrity hits, we don’t really, I think, understand and value what life actually is.”

You may have heard of some of the small, obscure titles that Karl Urban has played in: The Lord of the Rings trilogy, the rebooted Star Trek series, and The Bourne Supremacy among them. Soon he’ll be stepping into a piece known as Thor: Ragnarok, an installment of the Marvel Cinematic Universe currently filming in Australia and set for a release in
November 2017. With a CV like that it sounds like he might as well have set himself a goal to be in all the greatest properties of Geekdom.

The idea [of appearing in a ton of superhero flicks] makes him laugh. “You know what, I don’t plan my career out like some Russian chess champion. If something comes my way and I respond to the material then I’ll do it. And the opportunity to work with Taika Waititi,” (What We Do in the Shadows, Hunt for the Wilderpeople, directing Thor: Ragnarok) “who I think is a brilliant up-and-coming director, and to portray this character was one that was too good to turn down.”

Thor: Ragnarok will mostly take place in outer space, but previous Marvel movies have been very earth-based and have attracted criticism for their lack of a sense of consequences following the mass destruction that follows the end battle. As CGI has developed and progressed, movies have leaned on it for bigger and better effects; but the constant use of CGI also means that we instinctively know that the destruction we’re seeing isn’t real. We spend so much time watching these movies, so does that disconnect affect us?

“I do believe that we have become desensitized to the whole notion of consequence for acts or actions,” Urban says, “And particularly pertaining to death and the devaluation of human life… in a society that has become so enamored with the culture of lightweight fast food celebrity hits, we don’t really, I think, understand and value what life actually is.”

Star Trek is and always has been about diversity and finding value in the unknown. The show, created by Gene Roddenberry, famously featured the first interracial kiss on TV in a time when that interracial marriage was looked down on, if not illegal; a Russian character on the bridge when we were supposed to hate Russians; and a black woman who held the rank of Lieutenant instead of a mop. It also espouses a future where humanity has not only put aside prejudice, but actively seeks to celebrate the diversity of the galaxy in the name of peace.

“I certainly hope that one day we get a united mankind that you know, is able to collectively protect this planet and join its resources together in the spirit of science and discovery and exploration. I mean it’s just a wonderful ideal,” Urban says of the show. “I think that’s part of Star Trek’s enduring appeal. Personally, do I see it happening? Probably not in my lifetime, if ever. I think it’s an ideal that I’m not willing to let go of, it’s just difficult to see the actual realisation of it at this particular point in time.”

Given the current events, it’s not exactly hard to see why he might think that way. The world recently held its breath while the UK held a referendum on remaining a part of the EU. Australia, where Urban lives, and New Zealand, where he hails from, are both countries in the Commonwealth, which are tied to the UK. The world markets all took a tumble when the referendum went to the exit camp, but does the “Brexit” referendum affect the Commonwealth all that much?

“I think that, economically speaking, the benefits of being part of the Commonwealth were perhaps more resonant in decades past,” Urban says. “But now there’s a multitude of free trade agreements with other countries, you know, particularly the States, particularly China and other Asian countries. So I don’t know if the market of the United Kingdom just by itself, or the lack thereof, is going to constitute some sort of drastic economic downturn in Commonwealth countries.”

He adds what we’re all thinking: “I think long term it has yet to be seen what the full ramifications of that decision are going to be. Particularly with consequence to trade and immigration—immigration being obviously, I think, the key argument of fear that won the pro-exit campaign it’s vote. What will be interesting to see is if the United Kingdom will remain united. Because Scotland voted to stay in the United Kingdom, but they also voted to stay to be a part of the European Union. So if they have another referendum, and if Ireland has a referendum and decides to go with the EU, then you’re gonna find the United Kingdom not that united anymore.”

In addition to the potential for yet another massive shake up, the US Presidential race this year will go down in history as one of the weirdest, and probably as one most driven by the same fears of immigration that saw the UK leave the EU. We may throw our hands up and try to block out the barrage of the news cycle here, but it’s not just America who has to worry about the eventual choice.

“I’ve traveled extensively on this tour promoting Star Trek, and from country to country what is resignating is a concern from people of all ages,” Urban says of the elections. “The fact that you have children between you know 10 years old, 11 years old being aware of the potential for change in America that they fear is pretty interesting and it’s pretty alarming.

“I don’t think many people could’ve envisaged Britain leaving the EU. So it’s sort of, I guess, showing that anything is kind of possible, and I think that’s kind of in some ways a little bit destabilizing. And I feel that the world at the moment is destabilized.”

Still, it’s unlikely, according to Urban, that we’ll see Hollywood step in to try to calm that destabilization: “The entertainment industry is a business and as long as there’s demand for big, special effects driven blockbusters, then Hollywood will continue to make them.”

Which is certainly good news for anyone who’s looking forward to Thor: Ragnarok, the next Star Trek, or any other big piece of Geekery that Karl Urban is able to get his hands on.

  1. Luna MorganDecember 6, 2016, 5:04 pm

    Oh my Sweet Lord! Karl is the best work of God! All the beauty of the world is in that man!
    I send all my love and a lot of kisses from Argentina!

    Reply

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