Sunday, May 10, 2009

Star Trek's Karl Urban Brings Dr. "Bones" McCoy to Life

Karl Urban Doctor Leonard Bones McCoy Star Trek bridge screencaps images screengrabs photos pictures stills capsKarl Urban as Dr. Leonard "Bones" McCoy in the new Star Trek.

When the cast list started making it into the press for the new Star Trek film, I thought many of the choices were excellent. Zachary Quinto, in particular, seemed made to play Spock. The casting looked to be following the age ranges correctly as well.

While his age was right, I was skeptical about Karl Urban as the choice to play our favorite space doctor "Bones" McCoy. Sure, Urban was striking, powerful, and menacing in macho roles for Lord of the Rings, Bourne Supremacy, and Chronicles of Riddick. How was he going to play the wiry, crotchety, spiky doc who rolled his eyes at Kirk, grumbled his exasperation at his green-blooded antagonist Spock, and most often supplied the moral center and voice of reason against his more rash and analytical friends?

The answer is: brilliantly. Karl Urban breathed new and exciting life into McCoy, reminding all of us who watched the original Star Trek series (either when aired or in reruns) why we loved Bones so much. His first growly meeting with James T. Kirk (Chris Pine) is a joy to watch as he complains about his divorce-induced poverty and then energetically rants about all the ways one can get killed while on a space shuttle (the perfect nod to our doc's fabled fear of using the transporter and tearing himself into tiny molecular bits).

Urban gives McCoy his lovable crankiness and passionate rages against Spock's icy demeanor, and doesn't skimp on his intellect, quick thinking, and loyalty to his friends. His rapport with Pine's Kirk is an instant reminder of the emotional and diehard friendship we've always loved in the series. And of course it wouldn't be McCoy without derisive mutterings about Spock's green blood, and Urban lands the snarky jibes perfectly.

The New Zealand native doesn't try to imitate DeForest Kelley's distinctive accent, but there's a hint of a twang to his ascerbic wit that hits the right notes--and after all, if you check a map, Kiwis are pretty much the Southerners of the whole world.

To put it simply, Karl nailed it. In an interview with, Urban admits to being a Trekkie who watched the whole Star Trek series when he was a kid, and then again with his own son. It shows in his performance how much he knows and loves this character.

And if you don't trust me, just ask Leonard Nimoy:
"When Karl Urban introduced himself as Leonard McCoy and shook hands with Chris Pine [as Captain Kirk], I burst into tears. I thought that performance of his would be so moving, so touching, so powerful, as Dr. McCoy that I think [DeForest Kelley] would be smiling, and maybe in tears as well." --, May 7, 2009.

PHOTOS: Karl Urban as Dr. Leonard "Bones" McCoy and Chris Pike as James T. Kirk, Star Trek screencaps, c2009 Bad Robot, Paramount Pictures.


  1. Wow, that's quite an endorsement from Leonard Nimoy! I usually don't go to see the Star Trek movies, but I think I'm going to go to this one.

  2. I've been a Trekkie girl forever--I watched the reruns with my dad when I was a kid, and we saw most of the original series films together as well. The big draw of the original Star Trek TV series was always the people, and their relationships and snappy rapport--and the film really revives that feeling of camaraderie and fun. *glee*

    If you see it, let me know what you think!

  3. lol methinks you're a fan? I remember him as Julius Ceasar on Xena:WArrior Princess. Haven't seen Star Trk yet. Gonna got his weekend. From what I hear, it totally awesome! (doubt it's nbetter than Wolverine,

  4. Oh wow, that's right, he WAS on I only saw that show a couple times, so it doesn't stick in my brain.

    You know, I have some LOTR fangirl friends that go ga-ga over Karl and I've never been one of them--I enjoy his performances and can acknowlege he's on the hotter side...heh...but I wasn't delirious over him. Which I feel makes my opinion here more valid, even if it sounds completely I just had a lot of uncertainty about him in this role, and then when I saw him in action, he's truly one of the best parts of the film.

    Let me know how you like the movie when you see it! I'm assuming you're being sarcastic about Wolverine? I love Wolvie, and Hugh was great, wasn't the movie it could have been.

  5. well, his role on Xena wasn't like major, but he did make quite a few appearnaces.

    totally srious about Wolvie. could have been better, but it was still awesome (could be the fanboy in me talking, though)

  6. I think it's the fanboy talking...hee. But really, I think the critics were a bit harsher on Wolverine than warranted. I enjoyed it the whole time I was watching it, and Hugh Jackman really worked overtime to make ti all work.

    I just didn't appreciate the number of cool characters that get offed right away. And it was seriously lacking in girl power. This is a common flaw in comic book movies, however. They cram too much in and then aren't able to figure out how to write for multiple characters.

    I would readily see another Wolverine, though...and hope that they could improve on the formula the next time.

  7. i think they were harsh on it, spirit, watchmn, and prettym uch any other comic movie that comes out becuse of how good dark knight and iron man were. they set the bar so high, that ever comic book movie from now on is gonna get ripped a new one if it doesn't live up to them.

    i know what you mena about all of the cool characters getting killed quick, and just lack of screentime. not so sure about the girl power, though. wolverine doesn't have many girls following him around. from what i hear, though, there'll be some in the sequel

    i'm sure they'll make it even better second time around....(and make sure it doesn't get leaked out)

  8. I saw it! I enjoyed it, and agree with you that the characters were very well done.

    P.S. How weird is it that Mystery Man and Ms Terri (say it fast) are posting in the same thread? Cue Twilight Zone music ... ;-)



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