Gary Oldman Explains Why ‘RoboCop’ Was Right For A Remake

Published 8 months ago by , Updated February 12th, 2014 at 6:40 pm,

The original RoboCop (1987) made its mark not only as a solid science fiction and action movie but a drama sprinkled with a number of political topics. Ever since then, it’s been ingrained into the psyche of many film fans as a classic, so when director José Padilha’s RoboCop remake first came into existence, there was understandably a lot going against it.

For Gary Oldman however, who plays Dr. Dennett Norton (analogous to Bob Morton played by Miguel Ferrer in the original) in the new RoboCop, he tells Melissa Molina in an interview for Screen Rant that it was the initial script of the new film – and how José Padilha helped it evolve – that convinced him that the property was worthy of a remake.

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One of the things I really liked about this interpretation of RoboCop is that it really brought in the spectrum of using robots to fight for other people. In the original it’s only segregated to just Detroit and now you get to see it all around the world. Could we be close to that one day?

Gary Oldman: I think that’s the way it will… I don’t know what I think about it except that it… Obviously the wars that we fight now are very different. It’s cyber, it’s chemical and so if you’re going to put boots on the ground, then why not put robotic boots on the ground rather than put people in harm’s way. You’ve got collateral damage which is human error anyway. So if that meant that you could save American lives, then I guess I’m for it.

And when it comes to the character of Dr. Norton, what was it like developing him and with José Padilha [director]?

Well the whole script in fact, well the initial one was very good, and it made sense to me that we were remaking it. I thought yea, actually, of all the movies that they could remake, the story is very now. Back in ’87 it was this sort of science fiction, very futuristic thing and now it’s here, with us. And then in rehearsal, and working with José, it not only made my character… Everyone involved. He just each day made the script better and better, against the studio. They like shoot-em up action, more make it a little more as dumb as possible, so he had his work cut out. And he loves ideas and he doesn’t let it… Some directors, they want it to be all their idea, and which is okay, but he’s up for stuff. He’s open. He’s not insecure.

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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. It opens in theaters today.

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  1. Gary Oldman feels the need to defend it because there are a lot of people who aren’t at all enthusiastic about it. But I understand his points. We’re living in a different world now than the one that existed when the first Robocop was released, so they’re open up to whole new possibilities. Unfortunately the film didn’t really live up to them, in my opinion.

    • Then why not make a new film? Create a new character for a new generation, rather than update what is still relevant to this day? The original Robocop is a satire of corporate America and how we are all in some form, slaves to it and manipulated by it. Thats still a theme of society. Robocop did NOT need to be remade. I respect Gary Oldman. One of my favorite actors and definitely an amazing talent. But this is him standing by the work his name is attached to.

      The Robocop brand fits perfectly within the system of the Comic Book hero phase, and it was tweaked in a way for all audiences to have access to. Not R Rated, not violent, ruthless and hard hitting as the original. Its two steps darker than Iron Man, and well done enough to capture the attention of people outside of the hero craze. Thats it. Another victim of the remake practice.

      • Because BRAND RECOGNITION

        • Also, because people would start bitching “This new film sounds totally like RoboCop… what a rip-off! Why didn’t they just, like, make a RoboCop remake instead?”

          The business is like Wargames: the only way to win is not to play it and to not make any movies at all. ;)

  2. I’m starting to wonder about Gary and his “for hire” attitude. He’s starting to resemble Olivier in more than one way. I guess we’ll see a “The Betsy” remake any day now?

    • Oi! You can insult who and whatever you want, but do not touch Oldman!

      No, seriously, please don’t :D

      • Well Oldman did joke during the London premiere last week when asked why he took the role by responding “I did it for the money”.

        Leaves you wondering, how much of that response was a joke and how much was true?

        • Is this really a surprise/ problem? An actor will go for that which most safeguards their future income and keeps them and their children in the lifestyle they’ve become accustomed to. Recent article in the Guardian (I think) where Oldman explicitly talks about this.

          • It’s not a problem, it’s just crazy that Oldman is such a huge talent (whether The Academy wants to actually honour him or not) that at this point, a movie like this reboot is completely beneath him and more likely to have been chased by actors looking for that springboard out of obscurity (or into the limelight for those who haven’t yet made it).

            I dunno, maybe you didn’t pick up on the slight undertones of cynicism I was going for in my comment and decided to go the “but they have to feed their kids” route, which we all know.

            • Lol. I was just saying it’s understandable but tbh greed/success is probably a big part of it too… cos… he really should have enough tucked away by now to feed his progeny till the end of time.

              TILL THE END OF DAYS I TELL YOU!

  3. Correction.

    Miguel Ferrer did NOT play Dr Dennett Norton in the original. He played Bob Morton.

    The words of Dick Jones rings loud and clear for me regarding this reboot.

    “I killed Bob Morton because he made a mistake. Now it’s time to erase that mistake.”

  4. I have no problem with a remake of Robocop. I haven’t seen it yet, but concerns me is the execution. There is some decent talent in front of the camera on this, but that doesn’t always mean anything.

  5. Headline:
    Old man fights off fan boys.

  6. LOL! Good for the interviewer. Oldman didn’t quite expect that sort of a question. It really wasn’t that easy.

  7. I hate that excuse, no movie is EVER “Right” for a remake.

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