One of the many differences between the original 1987 RoboCop and the 2014 reboot by director José Padilha is how Detective Alex Murphy’s family (wife and son) has a significantly increased role in the main plot, not only as a motivator in the development of Murphy in his internal battle of man vs. machine, but in developing the film’s other characters as well.
Opposite Joel Kinnaman’s Alex Murphy, Abbie Cornish (Sucker Punch, Seven Psychopaths) plays Clara Murphy in the new take on RoboCop, and Melissa Molina had the opportunity to speak with her about her role and castmates on behalf of Screen Rant.
I’m sure that when you were younger, you didn’t really imagine that in the future you would be making out with RoboCop.
Abbie Cornish: When I was younger, I never really imagined that I would ever be an actor.
Really? Was there something else you wanted to be before?
Musician or a vet, but I wanted to travel as a vet. I knew I wanted to travel, so I thought that studying veterinary science and then traveling with veterinary science would be the perfect combo, but I wanted to be a musician and travel also as a musician. They sound like they’re worlds apart but that was my two interests as a kid.
With the role, I’m curious how was it like developing Clara Murphy, considering that there isn’t much to her in the original, and you’ve got José Padilha working with you. So how was the whole development process?
Well I was lucky because I had a lot of freedom with it. For me, it was about establishing that family dynamic, spending time in the rehearsal room with Joel [Kinnaman] and John Paul Ruttan. We were privy to the audition process with the casting of our son. They narrowed it down to about 10 kids. John Paul Ruttan walked into the room, and as soon as I saw him he was going to be the one who was going to play our son. And then he auditioned, killed the scenes. John and myself, we walked over to his mom Kathy. I went back in and said to José “He’s the one.” José was like “I know” and I was like “He is the one,” just to make sure, you know?
I want him. He’s my son.
He has to be my son! And he, to be honest, he made a lot of what my performance is. He did.
Well I mean because Clara is trying to keep her family intact, especially considering what’s happened to her husband and all of these other forces are trying to keep her away from him.
Look at that little face though, you know. He was such a little beacon of light, and he’s a really smart kid and gorgeous. I think you’re just fueled so much for me because when you’re holding the hand of a child, you’ve got to go through something as a parent. I’m not a parent. I don’t have children, but I have lots of friends that do. I had a boyfriend who had children so I was there through that part of their lives. So for me, holding the hand of him just changed the way I dealt with scenes as Clara Murphy.
And then there’s Joel Kinnaman that you’re working with and you have a couple of scenes that you do with Michael Keaton. It must be a little difficult to be upset at him [in the movie] since he’s such a sweet guy.
He’s adorable. He’s so funny and so entertaining. Something I really admire about both Gary [Oldman] and Michael is that they both have had such long standing careers, interesting careers, but they’re still so passionate about what they do. They can be light and funny but they can be serious. I think they’re really good role models as actors. They’re good people.
RoboCop is directed by José Padilha and stars Joel Kinnaman, Gary Oldman, Michael Keaton, Abbie Cornish, Jackie Earle Haley, Jay Baruchel and Samuel L. Jackson.