ROBOCOP Remake Gets (One Of?) Its Villains, Continues Raising Expectations to Absurd Heights
The first thing that I have to say to you is this; forget about the movie ROBOCOP, which is a great movie. Forget about the context in which it was released back in the 80’s and the great asset criticism of the media that it made. Forget about all of that, just the concept of ROBOCOP theoretically… Robocop is not a superhero, Robocop is what happens to a man when you start changing it with technology so he can follow certain purposes and do certain things for corporations or whatever. What happens when technology takes over consciousness and free will?…And that in itself… If somebody comes to me and says “Let’s make a movie about that” and there was no ROBOCOP, I would still say “Great, let’s do it,” because it talks to my heart, it’s a freedom concept, and we are getting there.
-Jose Padilha, director, Robocop remake (via)
This was an interview that the Brazilian native gave to AICN’s Nordling shortly after his movie Elite Squad: The Enemy Within played Fantastic Fest ’11 to unabashed and well-earned raves. In that same interview, you’ll also notice that he’s in touch with the utter insanity of the American political system (The Enemy Within deals with a right-wing cop being forced to work with a left-wing politician in order to root out extreme corruption in Rio’s police force), and while he’s not saying anything that comes off as particularly profound, there’s no way you come away from this interview thinking, “This dude does not have a good Robocop remake in him.”
And the cast for this thing has only been building up the potential.
First they cast Joel Kinnaman as Murphy / Robocop. He’s not a big name, but you don’t need a big name for Robocop; Robo’s the star of the show. You just need a good actor to portray him, and as little as this says about Kinnaman’s talents, he’s been the absolute sole reason to subject yourself to AMC’s The Killing.
Then Gary Oldman showed up, giving us our first hint that Padilha wasn’t going for a straight redux of Paul Verhoven’s original. He’s playing the scientist who creates Robocop and is torn between his conscience and his boss’s bottom line — a pretty far cry from Miguel Ferrer’s coked-up Bob Morton. Samuel L. Jackson was next, playing “a charismatic TV mogul who is a powerful force in the Robocop world.” Abbie Cornish was then cast as Murphy’s wife, a character I wish was explored more in the original run of movies.
And now, according to Variety, a major piece of the puzzle has fallen into place: Hugh Laurie is our Dick Jones character, “the villainous CEO of Omni Corp.”
Look at that cast. LOOK AT THAT CAST. Cornish is admittedly a question mark, having failed to make much of an impression in the two movies I’ve seen her in (Limitless and Sucker Punch; owing more to weak characters, I think). On the other hand, Oldman’s so strong he can play a workaday character like Jim Gordon and still make him as compulsively watchable as vigilantes in batsuits and psychos in face paint. Sam Jackson’s not who I think of when I think of a Bill O’Reilly or Sean Hannity type (assuming that’s what they’re going for; Variety pegs the character as “patriotic”), but there’s no denying that few are in his class when it comes to rabidly chewing scenery, a skill that will come in handy if that’s what he’s doing. And Hugh Laurie as the villain? Little more needs to be said if you’ve watched him perform in anything for any amount of time. I can not think of any better outcome than him bringing his snarky charisma to a morally compromised corporate executive.
Hype is a dangerous animal, but seeing all the talent attached to this movie, behind and in front of the camera, it’s hard not to think that we could be seeing something special in the works.
And we haven’t cast Boddicker yet. Hell, we don’t even know if there IS a Boddicker cast. You know how I know I’m primed for this movie? Because looking over this cast, I’m thinking “I’m not sure we really need a Boddicker this time!”
Robocop is slated to shoot this summer and is currently scheduled to bow next summer.