Following DeForest Kelley‘s Leonard McCoy was a challenge for Star Trek XI‘s Karl Urban.
Being a long-term Star Trek fan gave Urban a different perspective on playing McCoy than might have been true for actors who were not fans of the original series. “Yeah, well I have to say that it was daunting from the perspective that I was already a long-term fan of the show,” said Urban. “I was one of the older cast members who actually was into it and knew the original series, so for me to approach such an iconic character that was so wonderfully-crafted by DeForest Kelley for over forty years was daunting to say the least.”
Making sure that today’s McCoy was connected back to the McCoy played by Kelley was important to Urban. “…the challenge for me was… having this appreciation of it, I felt that it was essential that there be some continuity between what he’d done so wonderfully well with the older version of the character and what the younger version that I play, there had to be a link between the two,” said Urban. “So it was really about identifying and establishing the essence of what that character was and imbuing a younger version of that and making sure that he [was] Bones and identifiably Bones.”
Urban is ready for the sequel, due out in 2012. “I think we’re going to start that film mid next year, May or June, going to start the next one, and I’m super-excited about that,” he said. “Obviously, the first film was phenomenally received and I just can’t wait to see what J.J. [Abrams] and Roberto [Orci] and Alex [Kurtzman] are going to cook up for the sequel.”
In the meanwhile, Urban’s latest film RED (Retired Extremely Dangerous) in which he plays CIA agent William Cooper, is due out next week. In RED, Cooper has to clean up a loose end (Frank Moses, played by Bruce Willis) for the spy agency.