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Karl Urban

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Real World article
(written from a Production point of view)
Karl Urban
Karl Urban
Birth name: Karl-Heinz Urban
Gender: Male
Date of birth: 7 June 1972
Place of birth: Wellington, New Zealand
Character(s): Dr. Leonard "Bones" McCoy
...as Leonard McCoy
...as Leonard McCoy

Karl-Heinz Urban (born 7 June 1972; age 41), known simply as Karl Urban, is an actor hailing from Wellington, New Zealand who plays Dr. Leonard "Bones" McCoy in Star Trek. [1] Initial reports claimed that he had been offered the role of a Romulan villain in the film, but these were later debunked. [2] [3] Urban will also portray McCoy in the Star Trek Into Darkness, directed by J.J. Abrams.

He may be best known for his portrayal of Éomer in Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings film trilogy. He played the role in the second and third installments of the trilogy, The Two Towers and The Return of the King. He is also known for his supporting roles in such films as The Chronicles of Riddick and The Bourne Supremacy and for his lead roles in films such as Pathfinder.

Early life and New Zealand career

Urban was educated at St. Mark's Church School in Wellington and later attended Wellington College, where he began to pursue acting. After graduating from secondary school, Urban won the role of homosexual paramedic Jamie Forrest on the hit New Zealand television series Shortland Street. He appeared on the show during the 1993-1994 season. He then attended the Victoria University of Wellington, but left after one year to continue his acting career.

Shortly after leaving Victoria University, he began appearing on the hit series Xena: Warrior Princess and Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, both of which were filmed in his native New Zealand. Between 1996 and 2001, Urban appeared in twelve episodes of Xena and two episodes of Hercules, playing four different characters, primarily those of Cupid and Julius Caesar. He even played a character named Kor, not to be confused with the Klingon of the same name. Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman, the writers and two of the executive producers of Star Trek, were writers and co-executive producers on both Hercules and Xena.

Urban's first major film role was in the thriller Heaven, which was filmed in New Zealand and which opened in the United States in 1999. He continued working in New Zealand, starring in the 2000 films The Irrefutable Truth About Demons, for which he received a New Zealand Screen Award nomination as Best Actor, and The Price of Milk. His performance in the latter film won Urban acclaim as well as a nomination from the New Zealand Film and TV Awards.

In 2000, Urban was cast as Éomer for The Lord of the Rings film trilogy, which was filmed in New Zealand. Among the other Star Trek alumni who appeared in these films were Brad Dourif and John Rhys-Davies. With his prominent roles in the Hercules/Xena and LOTR series, in 2009 he would be interviewed in Reclaiming the Blade, a documentary, narrated by Rhys-Davies, about swordsmanship in Hollywood.

Before he was even cast as McCoy in Star Trek, Urban already had one connection with Star Trek: The Original Series: he co-starred with Walter Koenig (the original Pavel Chekov) in an unsold science fiction pilot called The Privateers. Several other Star Trek alumni appeared in this movie, including Jack Donner, Ray Proscia, Benjamin Lum, and Urban's Star Trek co-star, David Jean Thomas.

International career

Urban's first Hollywood production was the 2002 horror thriller Ghost Ship, although the film itself was shot primarily in Australia. Following the 2002 and 2003 releases of The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers and The Return of the King, Urban had supporting roles in two 2004 summer blockbusters: The Chronicles of Riddick and The Bourne Supremacy. In the former, he played the role of Vaako and worked with Roger Cross. On the latter, he played the Russian assassin Kirill, who was responsible for killing Jason Bourne's girlfriend, Marie. Bourne was played by Matt Damon, who was approached for a role in Star Trek.

Afterward, Urban played the lead role in the 2005 adaptation of the video game Doom, opposite Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. He then played the lead in the Viking adventure film Pathfinder, in which he worked alongside Clancy Brown. Urban returned to his native New Zealand to star in the 2006 crime drama Out of the Blue, which won him a New Zealand Film in the category Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in Film. He then played as Woodrow Call in the CBS mini-series Comanche Moon.

In addition to his role in Star Trek, Urban has also filmed the crime drama Black Water Transit with Bill Cobbs. In August 2009, he was cast as the vampire villain Black Hat in the action-fantasy film Priest, based on the comic book published by TokyoPop which centers on a war between Humans and vampires, and also featured Alan Dale, Brad Dourif, Christopher Plummer and Madchen Amick. [4]

More recent film projects he completed include the thriller Loft (2012) and in the leading role in the science fiction reboot Dredd (2012). Beside his work on the Star Trek sequel, Urban will also reprise his role as Vaako in the Untitled Chronicles of Riddick Sequel (2013) and appear in the action thriller Overdrive (2012).

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