Who would have thought Kiwi actor Karl Urban would land one of his most successful lead roles by fluke?

Urban's new Disney film, Pete's Dragon, has been getting shining reviews by critics who say the remake of the 1977 original exceeds all expectations, particularly in regards to Urban's performance.

It has a whopping 86 per cent approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, 2 per cent higher than his role as 'Bones' in Star Trek Beyond, which rates him at 84 per cent.
In comparison, Dredd scored 74 per cent.

And it turns out Urban wasn't supposed to be in Pete's Dragon at all.

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Due to time conflicts, American actor Michael C Hall was unable to commit to his role as 'Gavin', so director David Lowery was desperate for a replacement.

Michael C Hall was meant to play 'Gavin' in Pete's Dragon, instead Karl Urban took his place.
Michael C Hall was meant to play 'Gavin' in Pete's Dragon, instead Karl Urban took his place.

Fairfax

reports Urban was in the country at the time and jumped at the opportunity to snap up the villainous role, without knowing it could be one of his most successful to date.

Lowery told Fairfax: "Suddenly, we had this part that needed to be filled and we were in New Zealand already and Karl happened to be here as well, so we thought, how could we refashion the part to fit him?"

Karl Urban, right, in a scene from Pete's Dragon. Picture / Disney
Karl Urban, right, in a scene from Pete's Dragon. Picture / Disney

Urban came to the rescue but the role had to be adapted to fit Karl's physique.

"He wasn't written to be a tough guy and Karl is a magnificent specimen of a man, he's very tall and handsome, and so we hadn't considered him for that reason."

Pete's Dragon has already premiered in USA, UK and Australia and Urban tweeted about taking "younglings" to see it.

Pete's Dragon

hits New Zealand cinemas on September 15.