LFCC 2012: Dredd Panel Report And Scene Description

New film will be R rated, and could potentially form part of a trilogy, with the Dark Judges involved later.

LFCC 2012: Dredd Panel Report And Scene Description

As part of our adventure at the London Film and Comic Con this weekend, we were given a sneak preview of the upcoming Dredd. Being shown a brief scene from the film, followed by a panel discussion with Dredd actor Karl Urban, artist Jock, writer Alex Garland and producer Allon Reich, we found out plenty about the latest take on the iconic 2000AD character, out this September.

The first and most important piece of news for Dredd fans is that we got confirmation that the Judge keeps his helmet firmly on for the entire film – news that was greeted with a cheer. Urban then related an early meeting about the production;

“In that first meeting they said to me ‘you do realise he keeps the helmet on?’ and I said ‘I wouldn’t be here if he didn’t'…”

Cue enthusiastic applause. The panel were asked what they made of the last attempt at a Dredd movie, the critically panned 1994 version starring Sylvester Stallone.

Karl Urban: I was a long-term fan of the character and appreciated the ’94 version - Mean Machine was wicked. I also found it handy to look at to see what did or didn’t work.

Alex Garland: The ’94 version is very different but that gave us the freedom to do different things. I liked Mean Machine too and the ABC Warrior.

Jock: Dredd, the comic, is 35 years of different kinds of stories: horror, thriller, comedy. We had to choose one specific angle and John Wagner has seen it – he says the new film is “tough, brutal, violent and exciting.”

Scene Description Below

We then got shown a scene from the film – it was clearly an early scene designed to set the tone and get across the design and character elements of the film, but nevertheless if you don’t want to know anything that happens consider these mild spoilers. We see Dredd called out to a hostage situation at a mall. Creeping with militaristic precision through the complex, he encounters an armed thug in a diner kitchen, holding a hostage in front of him at gunpoint. Dredd offers the perp life imprisonment without parole in exchange for the release of his captive, which the criminal rejects with derision. Asking what Dredd intends to do about the situation (It was difficult to get the words exactly, since the room was very noisy), the Judge replies something along the lines of “your call, hotshot.” Whilst raising his weapon. Now, any Dredd fan will know that the weapon is voice-activated, and that the hotshot is a particularly nasty form of ammunition. Firing the hotshot into the captor’s mouth, we see the man’s head light up like a Jack O’Lantern from inside, as the white-hot projectile burns out. This is a truly violent kill, and the scene is concluded by the panicked hostage whimpering her thanks to Dredd, seemingly as much out of fear than of gratitude. The scene showed off some great production design, with the setting really capturing the look of Dredd, and the position of the Judges in the society of Mega City One is nicely hinted at. There isn’t too much to go on here, but Urban certainly seems to have done his homework with the physical side of the role – he moves with authentic menace, and it appears to be a heavily authoritative performance.

End Scene Description

The most interesting news of the day, however came from Garland, when asked about the possibility of the Dark Judges making an appearance;

In the sequel. Which we can make as long as the film grosses over $50 million in the States. It might be tough – this is an 18, an R rating. The first time I sat down to do the script I did sixteen drafts of (Judge) Death. It didn’t feel right. We needed to set it all up first. The next version was all sort of the Long Walk and America but we needed to get to know Dredd and everyone first. The trilogy would be this film, then Origins and then the Dark Judges.

While we certainly didn’t need confirmation that this would be an 18 after seeing that clip, it is good to hear from one of the key creative people behind the film that they expect this to get the commercially dreaded R. Although this is by no means official, we would imagine that if Garland sees this as an 18, then the MPAA and BBFC won’t think too differently.

What do you think of the upcoming Dredd reboot? How awesome could the Dark Judges be on film? Glad it’s an R-rated, hard-edged take on the character? Let us know on the comments below, and on Twitter.

For more information on the LFCC, and other upcoming events, check out the Showmasters website.