Urban plays it roguish in Amazon’s ‘The Boys’


When superheroes go bad …

Karl Urban

Karl Urban laughs at the suggestion that his character in the irrevent new Amazon superhero series “The Boys” is a rogue.

“Yeah, I think that’s a great adjective,” the affable New Zealander says. “He’s a rogue, he’s a scoundrel. (There are doubts about) whether he’s trustworthy or not. And he’s the kind of character that nine times out of 10 you’re hoping is going to make the right decision but more often than not will make the wrong decision.”

Premiering Friday, July 26, the series takes place in a world where superheroes have celebrity status and all the trappings that come with it, including agents, endorsement deals and talk-show appearances. On the down side, they’re also very human and susceptible to corruption, and when that happens “The Boys” take action to rein them in.

Urban plays Billy Butcher, a detective type of dubious motives who comes to the aid of a young computer store worker (Jack Quaid) after a superhero accidently kills his girlfriend, then bolts the scene.

In the opening episode, that eventually leads him into a fight scene with an invisible character, in which Urban had to rely on his imagination to react to what was coming at him.

“Oh my gosh, I’ve never shot anything quite like it,” says Urban, who gained acclaim for his portrayal of Dr. Bones McCoy in the “Star Trek” movie reboots. “You know, usually when you are shooting a fight sequence, you’re fighting against someone and it’s kind of like a choreographed dance. But in this instance we shot it multiple times. The first time was with someone and then we did multiple passes where I was fighting against no one. And that is actually more difficult than you’d think because typically you’re reacting to what’s coming at you. But when you have to imagine what’s coming at you and remembering it, it’s a whole lot harder.”


Full name: Karl-Heinz Urban

Birth date: June 7, 1972

Birthplace: Wellington, New Zealand

Alma mater: Victoria University of Wellington

Family ties: Has two sons – Hunter, 18, and Indiana, 14

TV credits include: “Hercules: The Legendary Journeys,” “Xena: Warrior Princess,” “Comanche Moon,” “Almost Human”

Movie credits include: “Heaven” (1998), “Ghost Ship” (2002), “The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers” (2002), “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” (2003), “The Chronicles of Riddick” (2004), “The Bourne Supremacy” (2004), “Pathfinder” (2007), “Star Trek” (2009), “Black Water Transit” (2009), “RED” (2010), “Dredd” (2012), “Star Trek Into Darkness” (2013), “Star Trek Beyond” (2016), “Thor: Ragnarok” (2017)

George Dickie

George Dickie

George Dickie has been a features writer for Gracenote/Tribune Media Services since 1989, when “Hee-Haw” was still on the air and George “Goober” Lindsay was his first interview. His early interviews ranged from Jim Henson and Dick Van Dyke to Phil Collins and the Dixie Chicks.

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