From the moment we saw the RoboCop set images, we knew a movie we adored was getting a solid reboot. The cast of the RoboCop reboot arrived in San Diego for Comic-Con ready to talk about giving a fresh take to a classic action movie. Michael Keaton, Samuel L. Jackson, RoboCop himself, Joel Kinnaman, and director Jose Padilha could not have been more open about what audiences can expect when the roboticized policeman hits the streets February 7, 2014
First up, we ask the veterans of the movie franchise business -- Jackson and Keaton -- how making a film in a series differs from other artistic endeavors. “I think the biggest challenges for franchises are keeping them fresh and exciting, and most times, you need a good bad guy to make that thing continually work, and sometimes they don’t,” Jackson, veteran of the Star Wars and Marvel movies, said.
“I’ve been fortunate. I’ve been in some really good franchise films, you know, Star Wars and now the Marvel series. You have to have fresh characters coming in that make audiences want to see them and relate to them in that specific way because it takes a while to make these things happen. It’s like I keep asking the guys at Pixar why we didn’t make Incredibles 2 and nobody can tell me. Personally, I think it’s because they raised the bar so high. You don’t live up to the expectations that the first thing presented.”
For Keaton, who was the first of the modern era to appear in the Batman movies, admits that he finds filming a movie… is filming a movie. “The challenge is the same,” Keaton admitted.
“I’m not the person directing them or producing them so that would be a good question for that guy, but I go about the work the same way. Small movie, small role, giant movie, giant role -- work is work. You’ve got to tell the truth and show up.”
The man who was Batman also reported that being keenly aware of what it is you are creating is an immense asset.
“You have to be realistic also about what you’re making. Clearly, these things are giant entertainment so there are certain decisions you make,” he said. “Even though you’re staying true to character, you go, yeah, you can have some fun here because by and large you know who the audience is going to be and you’re going to give them what they want in that audience.”
“I always try to make the movie I want to go see,” Jackson adds.
“Even if it’s morally irresponsible?” Keaton wonders of his co-star.
To which, Jackson responds, “Especially that!”
As they both laugh, we turn to the film’s star, Kinnaman. If anyone is more fit to play the part of RoboCop, it appears it’s him. “I’d probably seen RoboCop like 25 or 30 times. I started rehearsing my RoboCop walk way before I even became an actor. So I was pretty well versed in the Robo walk,” Kinnaman said.
He cautions other than the theme, audiences should expect a whole new journey, as previewed in the RoboCop teaser. “The 1987 vision of where robotics would be is very different from the 2013 vision of where robotics would be and how a robot would move 15 years into the future,” Kinnaman said.
“So when I got the suit on, I had some ideas. We went for more of a superhuman approach to his movement pattern, but then we added in some more robotic movement to it.”
Keaton on the other hand, revealed he was a RoboCop novice and welcomed the chance to put his stamp on a modern version of an iconic film. “I know very little about the original RoboCop. I’ve seen bits and pieces of it. So, my decision was based on a script that I read that I felt was pretty smart and well written,” he said.
The first RoboCop utilized forward thinking in the sense of it painting a future ruled by ruthless corporations. One can argue whether our world is currently inhabited by “ruthless” businesses. But, one thing is certain: The corporate mentality permeates our society.
“I would actually claim that the corporations are the government,” director Padilha said.
“In the first movie, there was all the satire with the ads, the over-the-top corporation ads selling something that clearly was not the case. We do the same satire in our movie, but instead of using ads, we go for the media. To me, RoboCop is a beautiful story about Alex Murphy and this corporation that thinks it owns him because they created the parts that brought him back to life, but they can’t own Alex Murphy.”
Padilha felt for his star and having to wear the Robo costume. “The suit is hot. That’s the only thing. He wants to get in and out quick,” Padilha said.
“It’s a bit of a torture device. I was so glad that…” Kinnaman said before being interrupted by the man who was Batman.
“Bullshit! I’ve seen his suit. It’s air cooled,” Keaton interjected. “I was the pioneer of bad suits. His suit is for sissies.”