In a shocking display of a comics creator using social networking to engage his audience rather than broadcasting his disdain for them, John Wagner invited fans to query him via Facebook on the progress of Dredd, the new film based on his and Carlos Ezquerra's ultra-violent anti-hero Judge Dredd. The writer just returned from a visit to the Cape Town, South Africa studio where he inspected the sets and watched Karl Urban perform the iconic role, which was previously ported to the big screen in the form of Sylvester Stallone. While expectedly cagey with some details, Wagner's candid Q&A with fans revealed a few interesting facts about the production of Dredd, its use of 3D, the script by Alex Garland (Sunshine, 28 Days Later), and the performance of Karl Urban.

More details after the jump.

  • Wagner was "extremely impressed" by the 3D footage he's seen. "This is going to be good."
  • Wagner and screenwriter Alex Garland initially disagreed on the scope of the script, with Wagner eventually coming around to Garland's way of thinking. "On the main issue, concentrating the plot on a slice of life rather than trying to convey the whole sweep of Dredd and Mega-City life, I now see that he's right. It was one of the flaws of the first movie, they tried to do too much."
  • Karl Urban rocks. "There was one shot where the camera focused in on his face, a reaction to Anderson, and I swear Carlos could have drawn that scowl."
  • Special effects artists were challenged by the task of exploding a Lawgiver without killing the performer using it.
  • The South African location is an ideal stand-in for Mega-City. "On the morning I was supposed to do an interview with a reporter from Time Magazine I got a text from the studio: "Time reporter has been mugged - interview is cancelled."

Directed by Peter Travis, Dredd will be truer to the over-the-top satirical source material than the disappointing 1995 effort that starred Sylvester Stallone and Rob Schnieder. The new film is being shot by much of the crew responsible for District 9. No release date has been set, but Dredd will be distributed in North America by Lionsgate.

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