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Michael Keaton Brings A Little Bit Of Batman To RoboCop

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They haven’t shot a single frame yet, but MGM’s remake of RoboCop has already hit a fair number of speed bumps. The other day director Jose Padhila (Elite Squad) was quoted as saying that working on his first studio picture was “hell.” While that’s not a particularly good sign, it isn’t the worst thing that could happen. Who out there doesn’t need to vent about work from time to time? A bigger problem is the departure of British actor, and former House star, Hugh Laurie, who was slated to play the primary villain in the film.

Michael Keaton replaces Hugh Laurie as the villain in RoboCop

Though this is a definite hurdle, it’s one that the production has seemingly already cleared. Deadline reports that the role Laurie vacated has been filled by none other than Michael Keaton. Keaton joins a cast that includes Joel Kinnaman, Gary Oldman, Samuel L. Jackson, Jennifer Ehle, and Abbie Cornish.

Here’s what Padhila said about the casting:

Michael is the final addition to the amazing cast we have assembled for this film and it is so great to have the last puzzle piece in place. It is thrilling that everything has come together to bring this innovative new vision of RoboCop to life. We’ve got a great script, a great cast, some killer ED-209’s and I can’t wait to get Alex Murphy back on the streets.

Those don’t sound like the words of a man currently burning in hell, do they?

One of the great things about Paul Verhoeven’s 1987 original is the wing-nut sense of humor. No one in the original embodies that more than Ronny Cox, who played the main antagonist with a manic, over-the-top bluster. The thing I’m most curious about is whether or not the new script follows the original’s lead, or if it plays the story straight. Keaton is no Ronny Cox (who is?), but he could pull off a decent power-hungry lunatic with too much power and a robotic army at his fingertips. I hope he gets the chance to get a little crazy.

Whatever happens, it’ll be nice to see Keaton get a chance in another big mainstream film. In recent years his highest-profile parts have been voice work in movies like Toy Story 3.

RoboCop is scheduled to open August 9th, 2013.

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