Quint interviews Karl Urban about monsters, Hell, Mars and all sorts of DOOM!
Published at: July 22, 2005, 5:24 p.m. CST by staff
Ahoy, squirts! Quint here with a little chat I did over the phone with Karl Urban about DOOM. I had just gotten in from Comic-Con and LAing with Tenacious D when I got a call telling me that I had a phone interview scheduled with Karl Urban in about 15 minutes time. So, I quickly thought up some DOOM-ish questions, prepared my tape recorder and dug out the old speakerphone. The below is the result. For maximum effect you may want to read my report on the DOOM panel from Comic-Con (CLICK HERE TO DO SO!!!).
We go over what's in the movie, what's not in the movie and all points in-between. Enjoy the chat, squirts!
QUINT: All the early word on the DOOM movie was that there was going to be no Hell, no Mars and very few creatures, so fans were kind of in an uproar...
KARL URBAN: Fair enough, too...
QUINT: ... That's why I was so glad to see the panel at Comic-Con where the record was set straight...
KARL URBAN: I just saw the film today for the first time and it is awesome. It's like a rollercoaster. Once it grabs you it just grabs you by the nuts and doesn't let go.
QUINT: At the panel, they confirmed that Mars is the setting, but can you tell me how much of the film is set on Mars?
KARL URBAN: It's entirely set on Mars, as is the game. I'd say 90% of the film happens on Mars.
QUINT: That's great... I remember the early word was really weird... how it wasn't on Mars, but like a random space station or something...
KARL URBAN: Yeah, there was a lot of disinformation and misinformation out there. I think that maybe people got ahold of early drafts, but no... that's not the case. In my mind, this film is probably a direct adaptation of a game as you can get. In fact, I think it's probably the most honest video game adaptation that's ever been made.
QUINT: That's really great to hear because so far there hasn't been a truly great video game movie.
KARL URBAN: No, there hasn't...
QUINT: I've had arguments with people... I think there can be great movies based on video games if the right people get involved and are true to the source material... it's like any other adaptation... I remember when people thought it was impossible to make a good comic book movie...
KARL URBAN: Well, fundamentally... The thing with video games, obviously, is 90% of the time they're not plot driven. I mean, really it's about that immediate visceral kind of excitement of the challenge and killing things and whatever the excitement of the game is.
So, a lot of the time when people are trying to adapt them into film they have to augment that with some sort of plot and a story and so many times they get it wrong.
The great thing about DOOM is we actually keep it really quite simple. It is a thrill. It's just hardcore, it pulls no punches, it's scary, it's ultra-violent... (laughs) It's certainly not a film that is going to appeal to everybody, I think, but it's my sincere hope that it appeals to those who cherish the game. That's who it's aimed.
QUINT: They kind of glossed over it on the panel, but can you tell me to what extent, if any, that Hell is involved?
KARL URBAN: Um...
QUINT: Because on the panel it seemed like they were hinting at the creatures having a more biological origin than spilling out of a portal from hell...
KARL URBAN: Yeah... I think that's probably more the case. Hell is there in a multitude of forms. Maybe not as literal as some people would like, but is basically represented in a kind of multi-faceted way. There's references to where these creatures come from... I mean, my character makes a reference in the film about the origin of the creatures. You know, it's really up to... well, it's down to your personal belief system and what you believe hell is. There are so many different interpretations of that concept.
I think I can safely say that I believe we are faithful to a multitude of concepts of Hell.
QUINT: What of the creatures was your favorite to shoot with?
KARL URBAN: My favorite creature... I loved the Pinky Demon. The Pinky Demon just rocks... it's just a vicious little bastard.
QUINT: Doug Jones (Abe Sapien from HELLBOY) is in the suit, right?
KARL URBAN: Yeah, yeah, yeah... he is... He's in the Imp suit, I think it is...
QUINT: Oh, the Pinky Demons are a different breed of...
KARL URBAN: Yeah... but Doug did a fantastic job. I mean, he comes across really awesome. It's just spooky and terrifying.
QUINT: That First-Person-Shooter sequence you showed at Con was the perfect thing to show the geeks...
KARL URBAN: It went down really well, didn't it? Those that weren't really convinced by the trailer, when they saw the First-Person-Shooter they got it. You know, when you see someone's head blowing off and when you see the game brought to life in that kind of way, you kinda get what we're striving to achieve.
QUINT: It's funny... one of the producers on the panel said that it was something that hadn't been done before, but if you wanted to step back you could say that POV has been part of film for a long, long time. But what hadn't been done anywhere near as specific or as well in that sequence were the nods to the game and the gaming experiences... Like when the character shoots...
KARL URBAN: Shoots himself.
QUINT: Yeah, shoots the reflection. Anybody that's played the game has...
KARL URBAN: Has done that, yeah... Absolutely.
QUINT: It's just a small thing and it works in the movie even if you haven't played the game... it's funny little moment, a tension-reliever, but if you have played the game you'll enjoy it on a whole other level.
KARL URBAN: I'm very happy. I'm still kind of buzzing from seeing it. You know, I've never seen a film quite like it. Literally, once we get started there's a build-up of about 5 minutes and then BANG, you're into it. It's relentless. It doesn't let go. It just really grabs you by the nuts.
QUINT: For clarification, this is based mostly on DOOM 3, right?
KARL URBAN: Right.
QUINT: If you had to focus on one thing that you do in the movie that'll appeal to the gamers the most, what would it be?
KARL URBAN: Definitely First-Person-Shooter. But if I was to expand on that, I think that the fans are going to be relieved to see that aesthetically the look and feel of the film is an honorable one, true to the original material and the film is just dark! I've never seen a film quite like it. I've never seen a film quite like it. It's actually really fucking dark. And it's tense. It's just a trip. It's a ride.
QUINT: Do you think that aspect of it will also appeal to general audiences or do you think they'll grab onto another aspect of the film?
KARL URBAN: People who understand the game, I think, will get off on the whole first-person-shooter aspect of it, but then, of course, beyond that there are some really, really wonderful characters in the film. Al Weaver who plays The Kid is sensational, as is Richard Brake who plays a character called Portman.
There are some really quite despicable examples of humanity in the squad. It's fun. I kind of aliken to a whole lot of kittens tied into a sack and thrown into a pool. It's just that brutal...
QUINT: And they're just that screwed?
KARL URBAN: They are THAT screwed! What's really appealing about it is this is a film about many things. This is a film about the disintegration of this elite squad. It's a film about the rise of a reluctant hero. It's a film about the psychological damage and effects and strain of this hellish scenario and all these people and how they just start to unravel and come apart as all hell breaks loose.
QUINT: What's next for you?
KARL URBAN: At the moment I'm in negotiations to star in a film called OUTLANDER, which is going to be shot in New Zealand and it's a sort of pseudo-science-fiction/Viking film. I've never read anything quite like it, I've never seen anything quite like it. The director is Howard McCain and he has an amazing vision for this movie.
Weta... you know Weta?
QUINT: Oh yeah.
KARL URBAN: They're doing the creatures for the film. They're so phenomenal. They're really continuing to set the standard. So, yeah... I'm just sort of hoping that it'll all come together. I'm pretty excited about it. I think it will be a sort of mini-classic of the genre, it's that good.
QUINT: What's your favorite dirty joke?
KARL URBAN: What's my favorite dirty joke? Hmm... Wait a minute... Okay... How do blondes like their eggs in the morning?
KARL URBAN: Unfertilized! What's the first thing a blonde does when she gets up in the morning?
QUINT: Don't know.
KARL URBAN: Goes home.
KARL URBAN: Or opens the car door and goes home, I dunno...
So, interesting about Hell. I'm a little sad we won't see Hell as Hell, but to me... if they get the atmosphere of the game in there, the creatures as badass as can be and take it as hardcore as they're saying they are, all while keeping it faithful to the source material, then I can forgive not seeing Hell. Matter of fact, it sounds like they're not saying it isn't there, but just not focused upon... Anyway, I can't wait to see the flick. If it's half as awesome as Urban says it is then we're all in for a good time next Halloween!