How Urban nailed McCoy
Q: How tricky was it capturing the essence of Dr. Bones McCoy in the “Star Trek” movie reboots?
A: Well, that was the challenge with Dr. McCoy, was to try and identify what the essence and spirit of what the late, great DeForest Kelley had done so wonderfully well and then try and imbue some of those qualities in a younger version of him and obviously in an alternate timeline. And for me, it was really important that the character be recognizable. You know, I think if I wasn’t in the movie, I would have felt somewhat disappointed had I have gone to see it and not seen characters that were recognizable.
Q: How daunting was it taking on such an iconic role?
A: Oh, it’s huge. I won’t lie to you and say that I didn’t have any sleepless nights over it. I mean, there were certainly some days driving back from the studio when I had sort of a cold sweat of anxiety coming over me. But you know, thankfully I was in good hands with J.J. (Abrams) and he really was a fantastic director and he made sure that we were one cohesive unit and everybody was acting in the same film. And that was such a fantastic experience. Hopefully, we’ll get to repeat it one day soon.
Q: There was a story going around that your audition for McCoy moved Leonard Nimoy to tears. Is that true?
A: Oh no. What happened was we were going to a charity event and I was walking in with Leonard, and his wonderful wife Susan sort of leaned over to me and said, “Hey Karl, I just want you to know that when we were at the screening the other night, when you came on Leonard was moved to tears.” And that blew me away, I guess just by virtue of the fact that what I’d done reminded him of his friend DeForest, who’s no longer with us, was I guess just the best sort of validation that I’ve ever had in my career in terms of, “You’re on the right track with this character.”