Jose Padilha’s remake of Paul Verhoeven’s 1987 classic RoboCop has gradually pieced together a first rate cast. Joel Kinnaman (of the now defunct AMC police procedural The Killing) plays the eponymous robotic cop, Gary Oldman his creator, Hugh Laurie his arch nemesis, Abbie Cornish his wife, Jackie Earle Haley will train him, Samuel L. Jackson will be a media mogul, and Jay Baruchel is some sort of OmniCorp suit.
One thing that the cast has been missing thus far is a partner for RoboCop. You may recall in the original that officer Alex Murphy, who later becomes RoboCop after being used for target practice, has a spunky, red-haired, female partner named Anne Lewis (Nancy Allen). Much like Roddy Piper in They Live, she’s fond of chewing bubblegum and kicking ass.
Padilha’s film is going in a bit of a different direction with the part, however. Heat Vision reports that Michael Kenneth Williams is in negotiations to join RoboCop as Murphy’s partner.
Instead of Allen’s short, feisty smartass, Williams is tall, lanky, and flat out badass. He’s made a name for himself playing tough as hell, but still offbeat characters. His Omar Little, an openly gay gangster who makes a living ripping off drug dealers in HBO’s The Wire, is one of the best characters I’ve ever seen on TV. In Boardwalk Empire he plays prohibition-era bootlegger Chalky White. On NBC sitcom Community, he played an ex-con turned community college biology professor, lending a hard edge to a comedic role.
If Williams lands this role, it suffices to say that the dynamic between Murphy and his partner will be a drastic change from the original, though the potential banter between Kinnaman and Williams could be great. In Verhoeven’s RoboCop, Murphy and Lewis are new partners, but according to the report the partner in the remake will be “tight with Murphy’s family.” Again, it looks like they’re crafting a different sort of relationship.
RoboCop is scheduled to begin filming in Toronto in September, aiming for a release next year.