Jose Padilha’s forthcoming remake of RoboCop is having a bad month. After an unflattering review of the film’s script and the departure of Hugh Laurie as the film’s villain, the project – which is set to begin filming next month – is in need of a big break – but apparently director Jose Padilha isn’t getting one.
At least that’s what Padilha’s close friend, director Fernando Meirelles, is getting from him. Meirelles, who broke into the international filmmaking scene with City of God, knows the pressures of working on a studio film, but says that this project, for Padilha, is “hell.”
Meirelles tells Cinemacom Rapadura that after having spoken with Padilha he gets the impression the director is having a tough time asserting control over the RoboCop production. Now this information comes to us by way of Meirelles – a close friend of Padilha’s but not someone closely connected with the production – but if true could mean the project is in serious trouble, even before it begins shooting next month.
Here’s Meirelles quote, translated from his native Portuguese:
“I talked to José Padilha for a week by phone. He will begin filming Robocop. He is saying that it is the worst experience. For every 10 ideas he has, 9 are cut. Whatever he wants, he has to fight. ‘This is hell here,’ he told me. ‘The film will be good, but I never suffered so much and do not want to do it again.’ He is bitter, but it’s a fighter.
It’s impossible to know for sure whether the heated online response to the RoboCop script played a part in the studio’s constant vetting of Padilha’s ideas, but it certainly couldn’t have helped. The most important thing to pull out of Meirelles’ quote, though, is Padilha’s assertion the film with be good.
Despite having 9 out of every 10 suggestion dismissed, Padilha still believes that the end product – a reboot of Paul Verhoeven’s RoboCop – will be entertaining. That’s absolutely what the audience wants, but the process of delivering a quality film may very well have scared Padilha away from the studio system.
The presence of, currently, three different screenwriters on RoboCop also could be leading to a “too many chefs in the kitchen” scenario. Padilha’s previous work on films like Elite Squad involved him working off a script he wrote, but that’s not the case here. The director has several different masters to serve, and as such it’s making the process difficult.
As was mentioned before, RoboCop is gearing up to begin filming next month – with Joel Kinnaman in the lead role. Padilha might be struggling to get approval on any of his suggestions, but that’s been a typical studio response when putting untested directors in charge of a big budget production. If the movie’s good like Padilha claims it will be, though, there’s no doubt he’d give directing a Hollywood action film another shot.
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