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Karl Urban on Learning from Anthony Hopkins and Xena: Warrior Princess

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The star of The Boys reflects on some of his most iconic characters.

Although Karl Urban may be best known for his powerful roles in blockbuster movies, the New Zealand native is no stranger to the world of TV. In fact, the actor owes a lot of his work ethic during his new hit TV show The Boys to working with Lucy Lawless during the filming of Xena: Warrior Princess. “Having the opportunity to work with Lucy Lawless and to see how a number one drives the ship was an invaluable inspirational experience,” says Urban. “I still think of her, even today when I’m shooting The Boys, and the example she set. She is an amazing woman.”

He’s also worked with some of the most renowned actors, writers, and directors in the industry, most recently while shooting this summer’s Thor: Love and Thunder. “I remember turning up to work one day, on set, and there’s Sam Neill and Anthony Hopkins,” Urban says. “Sam Neill was one of the actors that really inspired me to be an actor. Coming from New Zealand and getting an international career. Same with Anthony Hopkins.” While shooting Star Trek, meanwhile, J.J. Abrams encouraged Urban to take ownership of the role he inherited from DeForest Kelley. “As a long term fan of Star Trek, it was important to see some recognizability. Especially in the character of Bones,” explains Urban. “For me it was about cherry picking some of the essence of what DeForest Kelly did and imbuing into the character without it being an imitation.”

Another area he’s spent plenty of time: stunt training, from live action horse charges in The Lord of the Rings to being his own stunt man during a car chase in Bourne Supremacy. “They trained me to do a reverse 180 in a Mercedes G-Wagon. That was a lot of fun. They actually let me do it!” says Urban. “I can never look at a Mercedes G-Wagon the same way.”

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