Karl Urban: New Zealand born. Lord of the Rings alum. Pretend doctor (see: Star Trek). And now, dystopian-future street regulator as Judge Dredd, opening nationwide today. We sat down with him in a former prison (and now a posh hotel) in Boston to discuss suit preferences, beards and how not to woo a Kiwi woman.

Let’s talk leather. Specifically, you being covered head-to-toe in it the entire film.
A lot of leather there. It was quite an extraordinary uniform.

Did it give you new respect for the stuff?
Oh yeah, I mean, I’m wearing a complete leather outfit in 80-plus-degree South African summer. It was a “dealio.” But in some weird, sadomasochistic way, I really enjoyed the uncomfortableness. For me, it lent to the character.

Who tends to skew angry.
Yeah. Just [always] slightly pissed.

And never takes off that helmet.
At this stage of his career, and right throughout the majority of the comics, his identity is never revealed.

What kind of hair do you see him having underneath there?
Well, for the movie I had a kind of a buzz cut, and in the comics there are shots of him where you can see his hair: cropped short.

Like a cop cut, basically.
Yeah.

How would you, as Dredd, judge particular men’s fashion and style choices? Say, rolled pants.
I wouldn’t pass a judgment on someone with rolled pants.

Square-toed shoes?
I like square-toed shoes.

Huh. Well, is your look today all you, or is this the work of a stylist?
I did a photo shoot for a magazine, and this was the suit that I wore. I thought, “I gotta have that. I like it.” I like suits.

So do we. Favorite cuts or styles?
I like the classic ’60s look. Thin legs. Like Michael Caine in Get Carter.

It seems like there’s a rash of actors doing a lot of different things with their facial hair lately. Beards. Mustaches. Have you noticed anything that’s on the right track, or maybe something people should avoid at all costs?
I think with sculpted beards, one has to be particularly careful.

Sculpted meaning a hard, razor-crisp edge?
Yeah, that’s not a good look

It almost makes one look like a club dancer or something.
I think a man should have a certain amount of ruggedness about him, and I’m totally into refinement, but there’s something about not giving a shit. I have a short haircut, so I can just muss it up and walk out the fucking door.

We liked the fact that your rendition of Bones in Star Trek seemed very handy with a nip from the flask. What’s your favorite flask filler?
My favorite flask filler would be Laphroaig scotch.

Peaty. Bit of bite.
Yeah.

Do you have any advice for the modern-day gentleman/American guy to court a New Zealand or an Aussie lady?
Probably check your one-liners at the door.

Noted. Last question: would you ever consider changing your name to Karl UrbanDaddy?
[chuckles] I’ll consider it.

—D.M.

CONTRIBUTORS

  • Dan McCarthy