It’s no secret here at GB we’re fans of RoboCop. Something about the combination of humanity, steel, justice, and violence [in Detroit] that’s perfectly captured by RoboCop speaks to our heart of hearts. Which is what makes the following news pretty surprising, that unlike previously reported, Hugh Laurie will NOT be playing the villain of the remake. Taking his place is Michael Keaton, who I’m positive is a familiar name to all of you out there.
“Michael is the final addition to the amazing cast we have assembled for this film and it is so great to have the last puzzle piece in place. It is thrilling that everything has come together to bring this innovative new vision of RoboCop to life. We’ve got a great script, a great cast, some killer ED-209’s and I can’t wait to get Alex Murphy back on the streets,” said Padilha.
Now, I love Michael Keaton, and I’m positive he’ll do a great job, but the fact Hugh Laurie left before he even started isn’t a good sign. Actors leaving projects before they begin is almost never a good thing for pre-production. Along with that slightly disheartening blow, is a much greater one, hearing that apparently the studio behind Robocop is making things “Hell” for director Jose Padilha. According to his close friend and Director of City Of God, Fernando Meirelles, Padilha is having the stereotypical, Studio-Makes-Things-Impossibly-Difficult-For-Director woes.
Here’s Meirelles’ quote, translated from his native Portuguese:
“I talked to José Padilha for a week by phone. He will begin filming Robocop. He is saying that it is the worst experience. For every 10 ideas he has, 9 are cut. Whatever he wants, he has to fight. ‘This is hell here,’ he told me. ‘The film will be good, but I never suffered so much and do not want to do it again.’ He is bitter, but it’s a fighter.”
Out of every 10 ideas, 9 are cut? Ouch. That really sounds rough. To make things worse, the script was reviewed recently, and Drew McWeeny of Ain’t It Cool News posted a series of tweets describing some of the plot points and ideas behind the film, including the idea of “re-vamped” Robocop suits.
I’ll share this one detail. In the film, when Murphy is turned into Robocop 1.0, it’s described “a high-tech version of the ’80s suit.”
Then they show a focus group scene where criminals laugh at the design. “He looks like a toy from the ’80s!”
So they redesign him to look “meaner” as Robocop 2.0, who passes focus group approval.
So they not only make sure to include the original design, they also point out it’s dated and stupid. *facepalm*
Hold onto your sides for more hilarious “Robocop” details. They outsource his construction to China. #seriously
And we meet the ED-209s in the field in Iran, where they’re used to subdue suicide bombers. #ineedallthedrinksnow
Ahhh… now they just dropped Robocop 3.0 onto an Al Queda training camp to see what he does.
“He should be programmed to incapacitate in all scenarios.” “Agreed. Let’s keep him PG-13, Dr. Norton.” No. No. No. No.
By page 54, they are already onto Robocop 4.0, who looks like a “cop on steroids painted metallic blue.”
That… That whole thing sounds pretty awful, and really seems to be “borrowing” the idea of the Iron Man Mark 1/2/etc armor pretty heavily. I know the whole movie is supposed to be contemporary, and that’s not really the issue I have, but the thought of watching a scene of people in a focus group, talking shit about the classic, totally awesome ’80s RoboCop suit, seems really disingenuous and insulting to the RoboCop franchise in totality. Part of his appeal is his unique look, and to strip it down, or make it more streamlined or modern, would really leave a sour taste in fans’ mouths.
Plus, there’s this concept art floating around the web, which in all likely hood is fake…
It makes me cringe to look at, because it’s SO generic and boring. This is what the nameless villains in any random dystopian movie should be wearing, NOT RoboCop. I know it’s just a concept art, but if this is the direction the studio is steering Padilha towards, I wouldn’t be surprised to have to be writing a report about his leaving the project in a month or two. Hopefully all of this negativity is for naught, and we’ll end up with a great movie out of it, but so far, things aren’t spelling out an easy beginning.