José Padilha Talks ROBOCOP – Avoiding Aronofsky’s Script, His Take on the Material, Quieting the Rumor Mill, and More

     September 26, 2011


Director José Padilha will be bringing RoboCop back to the big screen and while that may give some fans pause, his Elite Squad movies have been met with acclaim and I’m willing to give him a chance.  He recently spoke about what he has planned for the reboot.  First off, he never read any of Darren Aronofsky’s scripts from his planned remake back in 2009.  Padilha says he avoided Aronofsky’s draft because “I wanted to focus on my own thing and do my take, even though Aronofsky is a genius.”

So what is Padilha’s take on the material?  Hit the jump to find out as well as Padilha’s response to recent casting rumors.

robocop_movie_imagePadilha tells IFC:

“RoboCop’ is a brilliant premise because the character is not a super-hero,” he said. “He’s a man who’s been transformed by technology for certain purposes. And so that premise alone touches so many interesting subjects. What does it mean to be immersed in automated systems and deprived of free will? What does it mean to be used by corporations for certain purposes? How does the media spin things around to make certain interests accepted by the public? Those are all things you can see in the first ‘RoboCop,’ and those are all things that are coming closer and closer to being real. Science is taking us there. And so that premise alone is really interesting to me.”

I find it incredibly encouraging that Padilha has picked up on more than the character being a badass and that he understands the brilliant satire in Paul Verhoeven’s original film.  It looks like Padilha wants to build on the ideas introduced by the original RoboCop so now the question becomes, “How does he do that?”

Padilha gave a bit more detail on his plan to The Playlist:

“I think the media needs a little criticizing now, as it did in the ‘80s, don’t you? Just look at what happened in the Bush era with the lack of criticism we’ve seen from most of it at the beginning of the Iraq invasion, and the sort of patriotic approach of the media that you couldn’t say anything against it. It’s high time we got a little acid criticism of that in my film – in ‘RoboCop’”

As for the rumor that Padilha is meeting with Michael Fassbender for the lead role, the director explains that it was a single quote that got blown way out of proportion:

“I said I don’t know, and after the guy asked the same question like ten times, I said, ‘there’s so many great new actors in American films, like Michael Fassbender, Chris Pine [who was once rumored to be on the top of the ‘RoboCop’ wishlist], and so on.’ And all of a sudden I’ve called Fassbender out, but we haven’t even discussed this film. But it’s true – he’s a great actor. But they’re all great actors. So it’s from one sentence in one interview with a Dutch guy,” he said with a shrug.

Finally, Padilha doesn’t know when he’ll be shooting (although he tells The Playlist that he’ll know in about ten days), but he tells IFC that he’ll keep the remake set in Detroit and it sounds like they’ll be shooting there as well.


  • Markus

    Anyone who’s played the recent Deus Ex: Human Revolution, can vouch for the potential here.
    * beloved source material being revisited
    * set in futuristic detroit
    * protagonist who is technologically enhanced
    * a criticism of how media steers the public’s opinion towards corporate interests

    Yes please. All of this. My only question, will the Auto-9 need reloading this time around? :)

  • Lance

    Am not sold this is the guy to reboot Robocop. The satire in the original WAS brilliant but it wasn’t just a critique of corporations, or a statement about technology. Padilha doesn’t come across as sounding like he’s got the wit or perspective to do this right. Plus I’m getting the sense he’d be very heavy-handed with any message he had to convey, while the original Robocop always made sure to be dark, funny, and entertaining, not preachy.

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  • michael scott

    If anyone has seen Elite Squad 2, they would know that this guy knows what he’s doing. Elite Squad was a great action film, but Elite Squad 2 took that action and put a whole new twist to it with showing how corruption in the streets is overseen by corruption in the offices of the politicians that are supposed to help those streets. If anyone hasn’t seen Elite Squad 2 then go and see it, and you’ll learn to trust this director. Honestly, I did not see the point in rebooting Robocop, but now that I know that Jose is the director, and he’s is going to comment about the state of the media, this film has jumped to the top of my list for must-sees. Seriously, I can’t stress this enough. GO WATCH ELITE SQUAD 2 RIGHT NOW! You will not be sorry.

    • MC ATTAck

      I’m 100% with you my friend that was one of the best movies of that year (Tropa Elite 2), also don’t see the point in the reboot but if someone is gonna do it this guy is a top choice. Saludos!

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  • John Connor

    RoboCop (2014) is phenomenal.