Karl Urban is an ideal tough-guy actor precisely because he's not exactly showy about it. It's not as though he's got Schwarzenegger-scale muscles or some bad-boy persona in real life (he's actually a great family man, but more on that in a bit), he just has an intimidating air to him. Even in something like Star Trek, where he plays the ship's reluctant doctor, there's still a formidable edge to Urban.
Naturally that's why Urban has been cast in so many action-heavy roles like Lord of the Rings, Chronicles of Riddick, Dredd and Doom. But now he's taking that tough-guy edge into kids'-movie territory thanks to Pete's Dragon, Disney's remake of its beloved classic about a young boy who befriends a mythical creature hiding in the woods.
Granted his character is set up as the movie's bad guy, but when Fandango spoke to Urban recently about the movie, the actor explained his attraction to the project, saying "I guess one of the reasons I wanted to do it is because it is different from other projects I've done before. I like playing a flawed character. I like playing someone who isn't perfect, who makes bad decisions and then tries to rectify them. He's a character who isn't taken seriously, who doesn't have the respect that he wants, he sees this as his ticket to earn that and I found those to be quite endearing flaws."
That's just one of the reasons behind why he signed on to the movie, though. The other one is much more practical, and is why we called him a great family man. Most projects he works on film all over the planet, taking him away from his wife and children for months at a time, but Pete's Dragon had an extra appeal, "they were shooting it in my home country, so I could be close to my family. It ticked all the boxes."
Urban continued with the family talk, explaining how he admired the way director David Lowery handled the tone. "I think it's going to have a wide-ranging appeal, particularly for younger kids to early teens and even parents are going to enjoy it. It's in a great tradition of Disney films that were around in the '70s and '80s. I think it's going to entertain a lot of people. ... It was shot by and large using natural light with old-school lenses, though obviously we have the benefit of great, modern CGI effects to help bring to life this beautiful creator of Elliott."
Pete's Dragon is in theaters August 12, 2016.