Director Jose Padilha On His Approach to the 'Robocop' Remake

Monday, 07 November 2011 11:13 Written by  Jordan DeSaulnier
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Director Jose Padilha On His Approach to the 'Robocop' Remake

RoboCop, director Paul Verhoeven's 1987 action/science-fiction/satire is brilliant, an audacious and intelligent skewering of dehumanizing American consumer culture that is probably even more relevant now, 24 years later, than it was at the time of its release.  As part of its post-bankruptcy strategy, MGM is moving ahead with a RoboCop remake that has been developing, in several different iterations, for years now.  While nobody can match Verhoeven's lunacy, the studio made an inspired choice with Jose Padilha, the Brazilian director who would make his American debut with the tale of Alex Murphy.  While it's still very early, the director has shared some crucial insight on his approach to RoboCop, and it sounds different enough to stand up as its own cinematic entity.

The director's signature films are Elite Squad and its sequel, Elite Squad: The Enemy Within, which was a bigger hit in Brazil than Avatar last year.  Back in March, Padilha was hired to reboot the franchise that has been silent since RoboCop 3 in 1993, and very shortly thereafter Josh Zetumer was selected to collaborate on the new screenplay.

"RoboCop the first movie was fantastic," Padilha said in an exclusive interview with ComingSoon, promoting the upcoming American release of Elite Squad: The Enemy Within. "But even if there was no movie, the concept of 'RoboCop' is brilliant, first because it lends itself to a lot of social criticism, but also because it poses a question, 'To when do you lose you humanity?' The way it does that is by replacing body parts with machine parts, and that's very smart because guess what? It's going to happen!"

As for how which element of the material is driving his version, Padilha remained necessarily vague, but commented, "I have my take on it. And I can tell you this: In the first 'RoboCop' when Alex Murphy is shot, gunned down, then you see some hospitals and stuff and then you cut to him as RoboCop. My movie is between those two cuts. How do you make RoboCop? How do you slowly bring a guy to be a robot? How do you actually take humanity out of someone and how do you program a brain, so to speak, and how does that affect an individual?"

In September, the internet got all psyched about an offhanded comment by Padilha that he thought Michael Fassbender was a good actor and could maybe, possibly, ultra-super hypothetically make a good RoboCop.  The director cleared that up fairly quickly, and in the new interview, it's suggested that his Elite Squad lead Wagner Maura could reunite with Padilha, to which he replied,  "We need an American RoboCop, man. RoboCop is an American guy, his name is Alex Murphy."

The director also shared that he is hoping to being production early next year. 

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