Considering his previous experience essaying the recurring role of Julius Caesar on the popular small screen fantasy adventure series Xena: Warrior Princess, it seems only natural that New Zealand born actor Karl Urban would advance to slay orcs in Peter Jackson's epic Lord of the Rings trilogy. Appearing as a somewhat more rugged version of screen heartthrob Leonardo DiCaprio, it's obvious from his work in such films as The Price of Milk that the handsome young actor has the looks and the skills to make it on his own.
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A Wellington native and son of a leather goods manufacturer, Urban's first acting experience came with an appearance in a New Zealand television show at the age of eight. Though he would subsequently eschew an acting career until after graduating from high school, Urban was drawn back in front of the cameras when he was offered the opportunity to appear on an evening soap opera entitled Shortland Street while preparing to attend Victoria University. The acting bug was a bit harder to shake the second time around, and after a mere year at Victoria, Urban abandoned higher education for a career on the stages of Wellington. A relocation to Auckland found Urban gaining exposure on New Zealand television, and after a turn as a heroin addict in Shark in the Park, he made an impression in the 1998 Scott Reynolds thriller Heaven. An unaired pilot for a show called Amazon High was eventually incorporated into an episode of Xena, and Urban would next take to the screen for the gory horror outing The Irrefutable Truth About Demons.
A turning point of sorts came when Urban was cast as the lead in the romantic fantasy The Price of Milk, and his performance as a milk farmer whose relationship is on the rocks found him gaining increasing recognition on the international art house circuit. Though mainstream American audiences would begin to get acquainted with Urban courtesy of his role in the seafaring horror outing Ghost Ship, his role in the Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers later that same year ensured that audiences would be seeing plenty more of him in the future. Following his escapades in Middle Earth, Urban would take to the stars opposite Vin Diesel in The Chronicles of Riddick (2004). Action roles continued to come at a clip when, after dodging bullets in the fast-moving sequel The Bourne Supremacy, Urban jettisoned to Mars to do battle with a particularly nasty breed of evil in the video game-to-screen adaptation Doom. From the far future to the distant past, Urban next laid down his plasma rifle to take up sword against his own people when he assumed the role of a Viking boy raised by Native Americans in director Marcus Nispel's 2006 fantasy adventure Pathfinder.
He had his widest success to that point when he was cast as Bones in J.J. Abrams reboot of Star Trek, returning for the first of that franchise's sequel as well. In between he could be seen in the action comedy RED, as well as the 3D comic-book adaptation Dredd. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi