Urban: Garland Really Directed “Dredd”?

Before he got into directing with “Ex Machina” and “Annihilation,” filmmaker Alex Garland was best known for his writing work for a whole bunch of notable genre fare including three Danny Boyle films with “28 Days Later,” “The Beach” and “Sunshine” along with the solid literary adaptation “Never Let Me Go” and the under-appreciated video game “Enslaved: Odyssey to the West”.

One that has found a post-release life though is “Dredd,” the 2012 adaptation of the “Judge Dredd” comic book series. The film disappointed at the box-office but the reviews were good even as the movie was compared unfavourably to the then recently released “The Raid,” a movie written and shot months after “Dredd” wrapped filming.

With time, the comparisons have dropped off and “Dredd” has stood on its own two feet, becoming something of a minor cult hit. Garland began writing the script for “Dredd” in 2006 with filming beginning in South Africa in late 2010 with Pete Travis as director, a budget of $30-45 million, and the hope of getting it into cinemas in late 2011.

Then things get murky. In late 2011 it was reported that Travis was prohibited from participating in the editing process following creative disagreements between producers and executives. Garland then took over and his contribution was considered significant enough for him to seek a co-director credit. Shortly after Travis and Garland released a joint statement saying they had agreed on an “unorthodox collaboration” before production had even begun, that Travis was still involved and that Garland was not seeking a co-director credit.

That was the official line. Unofficially, however, rumors sprang up that we had another “Poltergeist”-style situation and that while Travis’ name was listed as director, Garland was really the one who truly directed much of the film. Now adding fuel to that fire is comments from actor Karl Urban this week who, while speaking with JoBlo, was asked if he might reprise the titular role in a “Dredd” sequel. His response:

“There’s so much interest in that particular character and I would dearly love to have the opportunity to get in there and play that again. There are so many wonderful stories in the 2000 A.D./Judge Dredd canon that we’d be remiss not to have the opportunity to tell them. If it were up to me personally we would have been making ‘Dredd 2’ two years ago.

I would love to have the opportunity to play ‘Dredd’ again, but if it doesn’t happen then I’m happy with the fact that we’ve made a film that has become a cult classic and that people have discovered over time. A huge part of the success of ‘Dredd’ is in fact due to Alex Garland and what a lot of people don’t realize is that Alex Garland actually directed that movie.”

Asked would he be excited if Garland would come back to officially direct a sequel, Urban added:

“Right? That would rock my world. I just hope when people think of Alex Garland’s filmography that ‘Dredd is the first film that he made before ‘Ex Machina.’ You think about it in those terms; it goes ‘Dredd,’ ‘Ex Machina,’ ‘Annihilation’.”

Urban also confirmed the franchise’s rights holders are in their process of developing their “Mega City One” series and he’s had many discussions about being involved, but he’s still waiting on seeing if the series comes together.

Urban’s new film “Bent” hits VOD on March 9th.