August was a rough time for the RoboCop remake/reboot, what with a negative (old?) script draft review making the rounds, Hugh Laurie passing on the villain role, and reports that director José Padilha has confided in his friends that pre-production has proven to be a hellish experience. However, the month ended on a better note, when reports emerged that Michael Keaton has signed on to portray the film’s antagonist.
Padilha has since been approached about the RoboCop pre-production issue, which he addressed in a professional manner – though, it’s worth noting the filmmaker did not actually deny he’s been unhappy working within the confines of the studio system.
All of this stems from an interview with Padilha’s acquaintance and fellow Brazilian director, Fernando Meirelles, who revealed his friend told him making RoboCop was proving to be a bitter task – one Padilha has very little intention of repeating in the future. Nonetheless, the latter says he is satisfied with progress on the remake so far, telling Cinema em Cena:
“I have a script I’m happy with and I got the cast I have picked. The director of photography is Lula Carvalho, my editor is Daniel Rezende (City of God, Elite Squad, The Tree of Life). I was even consulted for the selection of the producers.”
Filmmaking can often be an arduous and infuriating process – as was discussed during the SR Underground‘s 2012 Fall Movie Preview podcast – and that still holds true for directors who aren’t constantly dealing with producer demands or concerns about commercial viability. It’s even trickier for indie filmmakers who give up more creative freedom when they enter the world of blockbuster movie-making (like Marc Webb did with this summer’s Amazing Spider-Man).
That’s to say: it’s no surprise that Padilha has endured a rude awakening while working on a project like RoboCop – a film that combines significant special effect$ work with socio-political satire. Padilha’s past work has tended to be very politically-charged (see: Bus 174, Elite Squad), which puts him all the more at odds with studio desires for a safe and marketable final product.
Nonetheless, Padilha says he’s handling the difficulties on RoboCop “with coolness and familiarity.” Moreover, the cast he’s put together – including, Joel Kinnaman, Gary Oldman, and Samuel L. Jackson, among others – indicates Padilha isn’t the only one who thinks the final script draft is up to scratch.
To paraphrase a classic saying: the best movies tend to be brutal to make. We will find out if that adage holds true for RoboCop when the film opens in U.S. theaters on August 9th, 2013.