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Interview: Karl Urban

Karl Urban, right, wages a violent, personal war against marauding Vikings

Karl Urban speaks to Stax of about his starring role in Pathfinder. Read on:

IGN recently spoke with actor Karl Urban about his starring role in Fox’s forthcoming historical actioner Pathfinder. The Marcus Nispel-directed film stars Urban as Ghost, a Viking boy shipwrecked on the coast of America centuries before the arrival of Columbus. Although he was raised by the indigenous people who found him, Ghost is not truly one of them and remains torn between two worlds. When the “Dragon Men” return fifteen years later to conquer the Indians and plunder their land, Ghost stands with his adopted tribe against the ruthless invaders.

Urban believes the premise of the film — which, in terms of its look, owes more to fantasy than to straightforward historical movies — has its roots planted firmly in historical fact. “There’s Viking ruins and artifacts right down the east coast of America right into New Orleans,” the New Zealand-born actor explained. “So there is evidence to support the notion that it was indeed the Vikings who first discovered America a thousand years before Christopher Columbus.”

But he is quick to add that Pathfinder “is not a documentary. … In our film, (the Vikings are) really a bad bunch and we’ve really portrayed them that way. And with respect to the Viking culture, I think the Vikings in our film were probably closer to the berserkers than more traditional Vikings. From what I read, they were quite an extraordinary culture in their own right and had so much knowledge and they basically invented a democratic system.”

Although he co-starred in the mammoth Lord of the Rings trilogy, Urban was still struck by the rigors of shooting Pathfinder, which was filmed in frigid Vancouver. “We had one day where we shot on interior and the rest of it was shot 100% on location. That was a very grueling shoot. We were sliding into winter and I had the wardrobe lady outfitting me in a very traditional Indian costume, which consisted of a leather thong. [laughs] It was challenging at the time but, certainly, some locations were very dangerous. Thirteen members of our crew got injured while we were working in the cave system, either smacking into the roof of the cave or twisting their ankles on the slippery rocks. So it was a pretty tough, dangerous set at times.”

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In Theaters: April 13th, 2007

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