Like it or not MGM’s remake of RoboCop starts shooting soon, this September to be precise. Helmed by Jose Padilha (Elite Squad), the cast is looking solid, with Gary Oldman already confirmed to play RoboCop’s creator Norton, and Rebecca Hall and Gael Garcia Bernal rumored for other roles. Most of the plot and story details have been speculation, but in a recent interview Joel Kinnaman, the ass-kicking dispenser of robo-justice himself, dropped a few hints.
Kinnaman says that Padilha’s film will have a different take on the subject than Paul Verhoeven’s 1987 original, but that the remake will honor the spirit of the first film. He says, “We’re going to have a lot of throwbacks and there’s going to be a lot of fun stuff for the fans of the first movie. It’s a new story within the old one.”
I’m curious to see what that actually means. We already know that Kinnaman plays Alex Murphy, a cop who gets mostly killed then rebuilt as the titular cyborg police officer. That’s just like the original, but does that mean they’re going to try to tell a similar origin story? Kinnaman signed a multi-picture deal, which would indicate a potential franchise if RoboCop does well. I guess my real question is are they going to try to have Clarence Boddicker? I think that would be a mistake, you’re never going have anyone pull that off like Kurtwood Smith, he owns that part hard.
This sounds like the story will at least be similar to the original, but I’m curious what it will be like from a tone and feel perspective. Verhoeven brings such a twisted, satiric sense of humor to his films that someone trying to do the same thing would come off as a cheap imitation. My guess, from Padilha’s previous films—okay, I’m basing solely on the Elite Squad movies—is that we’re going to get a more straightforward action film.
Kinnaman talks about his philosophy on remakes:
I’m not saying that RoboCop is Shakespeare, but it’s a way to … we’re retelling. That’s what we do as human beings. We retell our favorite stories. That’s what we’ve done since we were sitting around campfires. It’s a part of the human spirit. It doesn’t have to be negative to creativity. It can be completely opposite. That’s how you can break new ground by rethinking something that’s already been done.
When asked about working with Gary Oldman, the star of AMC’s The Killing gushed for a bit:
That feels about as surreal as me being RoboCop. I couldn’t be happier. He’s pretty much the grand master of the game…It’s like going to school.
RoboCop is tentatively scheduled to hit theaters August 9, 2013.