In terms of pop culture cred, Karl Urban is up there with the best of them. He’s been in Star Trek, an MCU character, Judge Dredd, and a Lord of the Rings character. The latter was one of his earlier successes, and the story of how he got the role in the legendary fantasy movies is a good yarn in itself.
Speaking to The Guardian, he revealed that it start with a move from New Zealand to Australia. “I was very adamant that I wanted to work internationally, to work with the best calibre of film-maker that I could,” Urban says, “but [living in Australia] was probably one of the toughest years of my life. I was actually questioning if I really wanted to do this.”
Eventually he went back to New Zealand, where doing a small indie drama movie turned out to be the best decision he’s ever made. “I went back to New Zealand and did a bunch of New Zealand films. One of them was a little film called The Price of Milk, which was directed by Harry Sinclair. Harry was a good friend of Peter Jackson, so he took a rough cut down to show Peter,” Urban recalls. “And I just happened to be in Peter’s face when he was looking for someone to cast as Éomer in The Lord of the Rings.”
The rest, as they say, is history. Urban joined The Lord of the Rings movies, which became some of the biggest films ever made, and he’s gradually become more prominent ever since.
He played a major role in Thor: Ragnarok as Marvel villain Skurge, portrayed Bones in JJ Abrams’s Star Trek reboot, and was involved in cult sci-fi series Almost Human. Right now, he’s bigger than he’s even been, leading TV series The Boys, about a group of superhero-hating vigilantes who want to take out corporate supes.
Urban plays Billy the Butcher, the leader of the group, and you can find out about the next chapter in those escapades in our guide to The Boys season 4. Over in Middle-earth, Amazon’s new fantasy series based on Tolkien’s work has kicked off, check out our The Rings of Power review for the lowdown on that.