Neill Blomkamp No Longer Directing ‘RoboCop Returns’

     August 15, 2019

robocop

In July 2018, we reported that District 9 and Chappie director Neill Blomkamp was set to helm a RoboCop reboot tentatively titled RoboCop Returns. Ed Neumeier and Michael Miner, were on board to produce and executive-produce, respectively, while writer Justin Rhodes was retooling a sequel script that Neumeier and Miner wrote decades ago that never came to fruition. At the time, Blomkamp told Deadline:

“The original definitely had a massive effect on me as a kid. I loved it then and it remains a classic in the end of 20th Century sci-fi catalog, with real meaning under the surface. Hopefully, that is something we can get closer to in making of a sequel. That is my goal here. What I connected to as a kid has evolved over time. At first, the consumerism, materialism and Reaganomics, that ’80s theme of America on steroids, came through most strongly. But As I’ve gotten older, the part that really resonated with me is identity, and the search for identity. As long as the human component is there, a good story can work in any time period, it’s not locked into a specific place in history. What’s so cool about RoboCop is that like good Westerns, sci-fi films and dramas, the human connection is really important to a story well told. What draws me now is someone searching for their lost identity, taken away at the hands of people who are benefiting from it, and seeing his memory jogged by events. That is most captivating. The other thing I am excited by is the chance to work again with Justin Rhodes. He has added elements that are pretty awesome, to a sequel that was set in the world of Verhoeven. This is a movie I would love to watch.”

But now it appears that Blomkamp is off the project. He tweeted:

Honestly, this feels like a better mood. District 9 came out ten years ago, and in the time since, Blomkamp’s work has felt like diminishing returns, unable to strike the balance between gritty setting, special effects, and social commentary. Additionally, RoboCop thrives because of a satirical edge that Blomkamp doesn’t seem to have in his arsenal. We already got a limp reboot of RoboCop in 2014. If someone really wants to do justice to the character and his world, they need to make sure they don’t lose the sense of dark comedy and not simply focus on, “It’s sad this guy is now mostly a robot.”

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