As a kid growing up in Australia, Abbie Cornish watched the Peter Weller-starring Robocop so often that she wore out the tape. Now, she’s appearing in the Joel Kinnaman-starring Robocop reboot and talked with Movie Fanatic exclusively about the film as it has landed on DVD and Blu-Ray.
As teased in the Robocop trailer, Cornish plays Kinnaman’s wife who, after her husband practically dies from a car bomb, has to give the OK to have his body placed inside the metallic frame that will have him patrolling the streets of Detroit as the titular character.
Movie Fanatic: What are your memories of the first Robocop?
Abbie Cornish: I remember it quite a lot because we had it on VHS and we played it over and over and over. I surprisingly remember a lot of it. Even though I was five or seven, I remember all the violence, the swearing! There were a couple of things that went right over my head, like the sexual references [laughs]. Some of the '80s adult humor, I just didn’t get. But, it didn’t matter. I really loved that film when I was a kid. It was fun. It was action packed. It would provoke your imagination about the future.
Movie Fanatic: What I liked about the remake that you’re a part of is that it is still so timely. When you first heard they were doing a Robocop remake, what was your first reaction, and then when you actually got the script, what were your impressions?
Abbie Cornish: I actually didn’t audition for this. Jose Padilha contacted me and gave me a rundown of what the film would be and what the character would entail, and I signed on to this before there was a script because of Jose. He’s such an incredible director. I would work with Jose on anything. To work with him on a film from my childhood and reboot something was exciting. I felt really lucky to get this gig. I’ve never done a movie like this before. It felt new. It felt different and I felt it was in the hands of the right guy. I knew that the film would come out political, social and it would come out with heart and soul.
Movie Fanatic: You’ve seen Jose’s work and clearly you’re as impressed as I have been with this guy. Now that you have had that Jose Padilha experience, what is it about him that makes him so special?
Abbie Cornish: He comes to the work from a place that is very connected, very honest and very open and extremely collaborating. I love how much sharing and consideration he gave to the actors that he hired, how much freedom he gave everyone during the process. And he’s also just a lot of fun and gave us an easygoing environment to play in. It was truly special. I hope to work with him again soon.
Movie Fanatic: Can’t talk to you about Robocop and not talk about Joel Kinnaman. What huge shoes he had to fill from Peter Weller. But, he knocked it out of the park. What was the most special thing you found sharing time with Mr. Kinnaman?
Abbie Cornish: He wasn’t afraid to dive into this iconic character. The '80s version -- he’s truly an '80s version and there is no way you could remake that. So, in the new version it is about taking us into the future from now. In doing that, Joel was okay with exploring more contemporary sensitivities when it comes to his condition. What happens to a man when his body is put inside a machine?! What happens to his soul? Is he the technology or is Robocop about something bigger? Those are some concepts that are not easy to grasp.
Movie Fanatic: You played the video cassette over and over, as you said. Now that Robocop is out on DVD and Blu-Ray, there is going to be some little girl out there with her friends playing your movie over and over. Do you feel like you’ve come full circle in a way?
Abbie Cornish: I’d never quite thought of it like that. Yeah, I guess so. I like these links in life. It really is quite exponential [laughs]! It is like a little wormhole in a way.