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'Dredd 3D' Writer-Producer Calls it 'Essentially a British Independent Movie' (Video)

Alex Garland, who also wrote "28 Days Later," says the ambitious movie was an attempt to "punch above our weight."

Dredd 3D, Lionsgate's ultra-violent adaptation of the British comic hero, is currently dominating the U.K. box office and is poised to do the same when it opens domestically on Friday.

But for those whose only associations with the title character are from the critically reviled 1995 film version starring Sylvester Stallone, producer and writer Alex Garland tells The Hollywood Reporter they should prepare to be pleasantly surprised.

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"This film doesn't have any relation to the previous film at all," Garland, the novelist and screenwriter best known for The Beach and 28 Days Later, says. "Dredd is a character in a British comic, 2000 A.D. It was borne from that."

The film, which currently boasts an impressive 85% Tomatometer score, was produced at a fraction of what it might have cost a major Hollywood studio -- but Garland says he and director Peter Travis took the budgetary constraints as a personal challenge.

"It's essentially a British independent movie," Garland tells THR. "We had a lot of creative freedoms, and could make it the way we wanted to make it."

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"This could easily be an $80-$90 million movie. And in effect what we tried to do is we tried to punch above our weight," he says.

Set in the futuristic U.S. metropolis called Mega City One, the film stars Karl Urban as Dredd, a hybrid judge, jury and executioner who patrols the crime-infested city streets. He's assigned Cassandra Anderson (Olivia Thirlby), a rookie enforcer with psychic abilities.