Karl Urban has been the doctor on a starship and a god in the Marvel universe, but he’s returning to Earth for his latest movie, Bent. The film is a noir thriller written and directed by Bobby Moresco. Urban plays Danny Gallagher, a former detective who went to prison for three years after being framed as a dirty “bent” cop. Now that he’s out, Danny is looking for answers and payback.
Bent opens in theaters this weekend. PopCulture.com spoke to Urban about the movie, his character, and his co-star, Sofia Vergara.
What attracted you to the role of Danny Gallagher in Bent?
Two things really. It was firstly the script, the character of Danny Gallagher, and secondly Bobby Moresco, whose work I admired from Crash and Million Dollar Baby.
Someone scanning the film’s synopsis might expect an action movie, but Bent really leans into the noir genre.
Yeah, you know, when Bobby and I were discussing Bent and sort of a collective vision for it, we both really gelled on our mutual love for classic noir and particularly a lot of the Robert Mitchum films, the RKO films. You know, that golden era of Hollywood, and I think it was important for us that tonally somehow we can capture the essence of that, and in a sort of very subtle way contemporize it.
Your character is part of a long line of hard-boiled detectives in the noir genre. What classic characteristics were you trying to infuse Danny with?
A lot is informed by the writing, and Bobby's a great writer. He wrote very snappy dialog, and we really looked at how the dialog used to be processed. So, tonally we kind of took the signal from that. And Gallagher has a lot of traits of the quintessential iconic role, leading men of the past.
What can you say about working with Sofia Vergara? She’s best known for her bubbly character on Modern Family, but she’s someone very different in Bent.
I had such a fantastic time working with Sofia. She's absolutely amazing and completely professional. I think that her work in this movie is going to blow people away. Like you said, she is most commonly known for Modern Family, but what she manages to do in this film is take a classic femme fatale and really infuse the character with this incredible vulnerability. She was just so awesome to work with. I think she's just an absolute treasure.
How did working on the action scenes for Bent compare to the blockbusters you’ve worked on?
Really, our approach to that was to try and keep it as realistic as possible. There's nothing, no sort of action or fight sequences that are laboriously extensive. If you look back at films like Michael Caine in Get Carter, and it's like, you know, you hit a guy once, he goes down. So, we were kind of playing with that quite a bit.
After doing big science fiction work like Star Trek Beyond and Thor: Ragnarok the last couple years, was it been refreshing to play a character grounded in our reality?
Yeah, it was nice to be able to play a character that was grounded in a contemporary world. You know, I always enjoy the opportunity to get to do something different, and this character presented that opportunity.
Bent opens in theaters and on demand March 9.