In the late ’80s, Ronny Cox played some of the most iconic movie villains of that decade. As Dick Jones, the Senior President of OCP in Paul Verhoeven’s 1987 film RoboCop, he was chilling, maniacal, and ruthless. A few years later, Verhoeven cast Cox again in his 1990 film Total Recall, only this time Cox played an even bigger SOB — occasionally bordering on cartoonish — as Vilos Cohaagen. With remakes of both of those films in the pipeline, THR sat down with Cox to discuss his opinion on the new versions of his well-known flicks, and why it’s more fun to play the bad guy.
“Well, maybe I’m a little prejudiced about this, but I hate remakes,” says the actor. “I think both of those films hold up pretty damn well. And I wish them well with them.”
Both RoboCop and Total Recall helped launch Cox’s career off in a new direction, having previously been typecast playing nice guys. “In the film business, sometimes if you play that sensitive, moral character, sensitivity gets equated with weak, and so I never got to play these guys that had guts.” Cox even recalls that his friends weren’t convinced that he could pull off the bad-guy roles, with one having told him that the idea of him playing Jones in RoboCop was “like having an astronaut that’s gone bad.” Cox even speculates that his past playing nicer roles helped make his villainous all the more effective, since they played against expectations.
For someone who primarily knows Cox from his villainous turns, it’s hard to imagine playing anything but evil bastards. Fortunately, Cox is just as enthusiastic about wearing the black hat as we are about watching him do it. As the actor puts it: “Straight up, it’s more fun to play the bad guys a gazillion times than it is to play the good guys.”
The remake of Total Recall opens on August 3rd,, starring Colin Farrell, Bryan Cranston, Kate Beckinsale, and Jessica Biel. The RoboCop reboot is scheduled to come out a little over a year later, on August 9, 2013, with a cast that includes Joel Kinnaman, Gary Oldman, Samuel L. Jackson, and Hugh Laurie. Or you can just pop in your DVDs of the originals and watch Cox gloriously chew the scenery.