Now that AMC’s The Killing has wrapped up its second frustrating season, the focus of star Joel Kinnaman’s career can turn to the next project on his docket: RoboCop. Directed by José Padhila (Elite Squad), the remake of Paul Verhoeven’s 1987 film begins shooting later this summer, and has Kinnaman in the title role. He plays a Detroit cop, Alex Murphy, who gets blown to bits then resurrected as an ass-kicking cyborg crime-fighter.
Talking to TV Line, the Swedish actor talked about what drew him to the movie, his role, and working with a director like Padhila.
It really became a coveted role when it was [announced that] José Padilha [would be] directing it. A remake of RoboCop could really go both ways; that doesn’t have to be something interesting just because it’s a high-profile thing. And when I first heard of it, I thought I’d watch the movie, but I didn’t know if I wanted to be in it. When I found out who was directing it, all of that changed. After meeting José, I knew that it was super-interesting and really something that I wanted to sink my teeth into. We had a really good meeting. He was talking about not wanting a “star” [for the project]; he wanted a real actor to play it. He was also explaining what the character was going through, and it’s really challenging stuff.
He goes on to talk about the script, the casting process, and trying to become a big enough name in Hollywood to land some of the parts he didn’t get because he wasn’t a big enough name.
The script is still in process, but I’ve read a couple of the versions along the way, and that’s really what it is: very challenging actors’ work, and very interesting to portray. I’m a restless person, and I was tired of meeting with directors who were telling me that they’d love to have me play the lead in their movie, but there’s no way they could cast me because they needed a big name. After that, I started to chase a bigger movie so I could get in a position to do those things. And I’m so happy that the one I chose and that I got was one that also carries a core of substance.
Kinnaman’s descriptions of the physicality of the role should sound appealing to action fans. He’s doing a lot of preparation like shooting guns and running through tactical drills. It’s always nice to hear about actors who want to do their own stunts.
I enjoy that kind of stuff. I’ve done action movies in Sweden, and I try to do most of the stunts myself. I don’t do stupid stuff, but I enjoy that kind of physical part of it. It’s not really acting, but I still enjoy it. [Laughs] It’s fulfilling in a completely different way than acting is; it’s more of a boyish thrill that I have. The stuff that I get to do for this [movie’s] preparation, I could spend a lot of my saved up money to do. And now I get to do them for free…I’m going to out in the desert and we’re going to shoot guns for six hours and run around and fire rifles… It’s pretty awesome.
Kinnaman finishes the interview by gushing about his co-stars for a while. At this point the cast includes Gary Oldman, Samuel L. Jackson, and Hugh Laurie, so there’s quite a bit to gush about. But that doesn’t have anything to do with the actual movie, it’s mostly just hero worship.
Kinnaman definitely makes RoboCop seem like it will be much more than just a straight forward action vehicle. There will certainly be a great deal of action, but from his descriptions there will also be a lot of emphasis placed on character, tone, story, and all of the other elements that will make it stand out from pack. Will it as good as Verhoeven’s RoboCop? Doubt it. But at least it seems like they’re trying to make something more than a simple rehash.