The 1987 action sci-fi film RoboCop has been burned into the psyches of fans ever since its release, with original film is littered with opinions about the world at the time combined with a mixture of action, crime and sci-fi. It was the perfect formula, and as we all know, it’s being remade. A lot of fans have been worried about the impending remake, all under the impression that it will never hold a candle to the original that they hold so near and dear to their hearts.
When we spoke with the cast of the RoboCop remake, their main focus was for audiences to not be so narrow-minded and give this one a try. The director, Jose Padilha, argues that this remake still brings up heavy but different topics that will keep the audience thinking, all the while throwing tons of action in their face. Read on to see what the director and cast Joel Kinnaman, Abbie Cornish, Samuel L. Jackson and Michael Keaton had to say about the remake.
Had you been exposed to the original RoboCop trilogy before you signed on for the film? [What was it like wearing this incarnation of the RoboCop suit?]
Joel Kinnaman: Before I got this part I’ve probably seen RoboCop about 25 to 30 times. I started rehearsing the RoboCop walk way before I became an actor. So I was pretty well-versed in the Robo-walk. But then when I got the suit on, and also sort of the 1987 vision of where robotics would be is very different than a 2013 vision of where robotics would be and how a robot would move in 15 years, in the future. So when I got the suit on, I had some ideas. We went for a more superhuman approach to his movement pattern, but then we added in some more robotic movement to it. But that was something I was mostly… I was playing around with it and then José would look at it and then maybe give me a little note and I would either take that note and work on something else but mostly I’d take his notes.
José Padilha: The suit is hot. That’s the only thing. He wants to get in and out quickly.
Joel Kinnaman: It was a bit of a torture device but I was glad --
Michael Keaton: Bulls--t. I’ve seen the suit. You try wearing my Bat suit. Ah man, you’ve got it easy.
What did you think when you first read the script for RoboCop?
Samuel L. Jackson: I was excited by the prospect of a modern day RoboCop. Thinking about it and thinking about the possibilities of what could be done with all the CG things we can do now and the advancements in robotics and… I read a lot of comic books, so I see a lot of things and the things that happen in my as opposed to what happens on the page as opposed to what (director) said we were going to do, I was excited by the possibility. And knowing that there are a lot of young people who may be aware of RoboCop but not really the way we’re aware of RoboCop, so I’m excited to come into that world.
To me RoboCop is a very beautiful story about Alex Murphy. This corporation thinks they own him because they created the cards that brought him back to life, but they can’t own Alex Murphy. How do you explore that in this version? And I was curious to see if you’ve ever seen the Canadian TV series of RoboCop.
Joel Kinnaman: I have seen that. I love the first movie, I kind of checked out 40 minutes into the second one and I didn’t see the third one, and I missed the TV series. But that part is very much so in our story. We go a little further with Alex Murphy. We get to know him a little better, we spent more time with Alex Murphy when he’s at work as an undercover cop and as a family man. He’s got a beautiful little family. And then that is very much the question. Is he now a property? Is he owned by OmniCorp? He’s very vulnerable because the system needs to be changed and he needs to be plugged in, so he’s dependent on this corporation that has made him to survive, that has made him very powerful but at the same time very vulnerable. There’s a continuous interactions. They let him interact with his family, he gets to reconnect with his family after he had become RoboCop, and that’s of course something that’s not easy to come home and try to embrace your six year old son and your wife and you have just a big robotic body. You can’t really feel them.
Abbie, this could be a really excellent performance for you. You also finished a movie with Anthony Hopkins and Colin Farrell. Can you talk a little bit about that experience.
Samuel L. Jackson: They’re bringing that movie in tomorrow. That’s not fair.
Abbie Cornish: According to my representative over here I’ve got to keep a tight lip about it. No I’ve been really lucky. Sort of in the last year I worked on three great gigs, starting with RoboCop. It’s funny, when people ask me about RoboCop and the experience of shooting it, they say ‘How was it?’ and I say ‘It’s the easiest film I’ve ever made.’ And it was. We have incredibly talented director who just helmed this quite classic and political social story in such a sort of wonderfully deep way. I worked with an incredible cast and worked on a film that is, for me, iconic and very nostalgic. I was five when it came out, my brother had it on VHS and we ran that VHS until it shredded itself up. And so for me it has a lot of importance in my life, and in my childhood. So great cast, great crew and everyday was just easy. All the actors were A-grade, so prepared and same with the crew and directed by Jose. That was a dream gig.
Mike, this is for you. I interviewed you when you were Batman.
Michael Keaton: I am Batman.
My question is, very few people, except for Samuel, get to do one iconic movie after another iconic movie. Did you hesitate at all coming into this kind of superhero movie? Was it kind of coming home again in a sense?
Michael Keaton: No. You know, this was simple. I haven’t actually seen the original, I’ve just seen bits and pieces, so my decision was based on the script that I read. I thought it was pretty smart and pretty well-written. At this point I didn’t know who the cast was, so once I heard who the cast was that made me more excited. I’ve become a fan of Jose’s and one conversation I had on the phone with him, long distance, saying I don’t know if you’re interested on my take on the character but this is what I think, and he felt exactly the same way. So it was really a matter of if the film was good.
Abbie Cornish: Michael’s great in the film. Amazing. He’s so interesting. I was lucky enough to do a couple of scenes with him and it was so interesting. You play a lot in that role, which was nice to watch.
Obviously everybody keeps bringing up the original, but when it comes to this interpretation of RoboCop, this question is for all of you, what do you think is the biggest drawing point for all audiences to go in and say ‘I want to see this version of RoboCop.’
Samuel L. Jackson: The trailer. Always the trailer.
Michael Keaton: It’s a very current theme. My guess is it will be hugely entertaining and underlining. It’s relevant, it’ll resonate with people but not to the degree where your brain will hurt when you think about it when you’re going home. When there’s smart added to fun, even if you don’t notice the smart, it ratchets everything up exponentially. It just always makes movies better. Even if you have to go home an think about some things. Earlier on I thought Obama made a huge mistake not getting out of Afghanistan when he had the move early on, but I thought, you know, to surgically remove people and to surgically remove certain parts, that’s the way to go and win this war, not primarily drones. Now I don’t think that. I don’t think that. I think there’s a whole other moral issue to that, and that’s what is really interesting about this, the moral aspect of this movie. I don’t mean to make it sound too serious because it’s very fun, but that’s the underlining intelligence and how it resonates. It’s there without you having to pay too much attention to it.
Samuel L. Jackson: Obviously we’re not going to put that in the trailer. We want the excitement in the trailer. Then people will get in there and then they’ll find out how morally intriguing it is, but first we’re going to show them the trailer. Then when people tweet their friends they’ll say “Damn, that s--t is morally intelligent.”
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