‘RoboCop’ Reboot Eyeing Cruise, Depp, and Reeves

Published 4 years ago by , Updated August 13th, 2013 at 10:52 pm,

Paul Verhoeven’s RoboCop was a landmark achievement back in 1987 and remains a pinnacle of the sci-fi/action genre more than twenty years later. Despite how well it’s aged, MGM is crafting a reboot of the property with Brazilian filmmaker Jose Padilha (Elite Squad) at the helm.

Padilha is currently collaborating with screenwriter Josh Zetumer to develop a new take on the material that will reintroduce audiences to the character of Alex Murphy – a slain Detroit police officer who’s resurrected as the cyborg RoboCop. Although the role has been played by numerous actors in various films and television shows over the years, most fans still regard Peter Weller’s performance in the original film and its sequel as the definitive portrayal.

The fact that Weller wasn’t an extremely recognizable star actually worked in favor of the film and allowed him to disappear into that role completely. The RoboCop reboot will most likely diverge from the original in a number of ways, and according to Clint at Moviehole, the casting of its lead actor might be the first obvious example of that.

Evidently, MGM is eyeing stars like Tom Cruise, Johnny Depp, and Keanu Reeves for the role of Alex Murphy/RoboCop. Clint also indicates that if these actors haven’t already been approached about the project, they will be shortly.

Ordinarily, I’d disregard a rumor like this as nothing more than tabloid fodder – but Clint has an extremely reliable reputation and if he claims that he’s heard these names mentioned, I’m fairly certain that means there’s some truth to this. That doesn’t mean any of these guys will ultimately wind up playing the part, but  it does indicate that they’re looking for a recognizable name to headline the film.

I personally find it hard to imagine that Cruise, Depp, or Reeves would be even remotely interested in this (well, maybe Reeves…), but I do think it’s interesting that MGM is setting its sights so high. I’m sure those same three actors are probably on every studio short list for every potential blockbuster, but is RoboCop really a property that needs the added draw of an A-list celebrity?

The primary reason that reboots, remakes, and sequels are so attractive to this industry is that they represent established brands with a built-in audience. In my opinion, when you see the word RoboCop on a poster you already know if you’re interested in it or not. I always thought that was one of advantages in making a film like this – you don’t necessarily need an expensive star when the name sells itself. That’s how we wind up with guys like Christian Bale as Batman or Henry Cavill as Superman.

robocop reboot writer RoboCop Reboot Eyeing Cruise, Depp, and Reeves

We’ve heard before that RoboCop is a high priority project for MGM, and trying to land a well-known leading man is probably an attempt to help hedge their bets. I’m just saying – my mom loves George Clooney, but dressing him up as a robot wouldn’t make her any more interested in seeing this film. I’d prefer that they go after an up-and-coming actor who doesn’t bring the baggage of his last few films with him into the role. Save that money for another facet of the production.

Some might argue that the role of a cyborg who has most of his face covered and speaks with monotone delivery doesn’t require much in the way of acting chops – but the subtle nature of the character is precisely why you can’t throw just anyone into the costume. Weller’s depiction of Murphy is still the one I find most tragic – and the most effective. RoboCop 2 gets a bad wrap from a lot of fans, but the scene where Murphy has to lie to his ex-wife about who and what he has become is incredibly powerful. It’s also a revealing glimpse at the untapped potential of this series and why I was  slightly more optimistic about this reboot when it was in Darren Aronofsky’s hands.

I like that they’re chasing actors with a certain degree of gravitas, but in this case I can’t help but feel that the film would be better served by someone who’s on the verge of being a star – not someone who’s already headlined other tentpole franchises.

If nothing else, perhaps this indicates that we may see more of Murphy before his transformation – which is an aspect I think would not only help the narrative, but also help further separate the RoboCop reboot from the original.

Source: Moviehole.

TAGS: Robocop
Get our free email alerts on the topics and author of this article:


Post a Comment

GravatarWant to change your avatar?
Go to Gravatar.com and upload your own (we'll wait)!

 Rules: No profanity or personal attacks.
 Use a valid email address or risk being banned from commenting.

If your comment doesn't show up immediately, it may have been flagged for moderation. Please try refreshing the page first, then drop us a note and we'll retrieve it. Keep in mind that we do not allow external links in the comments.

  1. Perfect role for Keanu! No emotion. Done and done.

    • well, He wasn’t like that in person.

  2. No, No, and No. All there above will ruin the film, especially Cruise. He over-acts in anything he does.

  3. absolutely no way on any of these tool bags. I hate that they are even rebooting this, if they are going to use anybody for this let it be some young new comer, you arent going to see his face through most of the movie anyway.

    • I agree! There are a lot of stories out there to tell. Besides, nobody can replace Peter Weller as Murphy. He was great!

    • I agree as well. “No” on all three of these guys. I do like Johnny Depp, but he doesn’t fit the role. I sense his performance would be awkward at best.

      And Tom Cruise? That’s even a bigger No from me — I’m sure I don’t have to explain.

      And Keanu Reeves? He’s OK in some things — but I almost picture him coming off like a worse version of Stallone as Judge Dredd. One main point of Robocop, pre-robot, is that he’s human, and we need to see his humanity. It’s not going to work with a guy who’s already robotic and monotone in his acting.

      I don’t think they should get a young guy, although that could work — BUT I don’t want them to cast some “pretty boy,” which I’m sure the Hollywood system would do if they decide to go young.

      I don’t want to see “Twilight-Cop.”

      Robocop needs to be older, a guy we can believe as being a father, with a wife and a kid or two. That’s a big part of what made his murder and transformation into Robocop so tragic.

      But, yes, there should be no remake at all. The first one is still great. I sense if they go ahead with this, it will be as bad (or worse) than Robocops 2 and 3.

      They’re going to deck it out in the latest CGI wizardry, and I don’t want to see a CGI Robocop. And besides, I bet they play it weak and safe, and go for a PG or PG-13 rating. I don’t want Robocop the CGI cartoon, safe for kids.

      Robocop needs a smart, satirical edge, and needs to be infused with the scarily evil villains and tragedy. But I sense this remake will lack all those things.

      • I’m glad someone brought up Robocop 3…stupid Android Ninja

        • Just when I thought things couldn’t get any worse than RoboCop 2, out comes RoboCop 3. It would have been better as an episode for its kiddy, animated TV show.

  4. Neither one!
    Need some one tall and big , like Dewayne Johnson or Vin Diesel! :)

  5. It won’t work with star power and it won’t work at all.

    The first one was a trial in determination and it passed remarkably. The sequels? Not so much.

  6. Well it will be another Japanese bashing movie right?

    • Maybe they’ll pull a “Red Dawn,” yet another 1980s remake. They’ll think, Hmm, yes, let’s make our villains those EVIL JAPANESE PEOPLE… and then with tons of filming done, they’ll realize that, OH, Japanese people love movies, and make up a big chunk of our international box office take. Let’s go back and digitally change them to be, um, Iraqis!

      No wonder why MGM went bankrupt. They were foolish enough to remake Red Dawn with Chinese enemies, then realized that they’d be missing out on the millions of dollars that Chinese moviegoers would bring to the theaters, so they changed them to North Korean bad guys.

      Now they’re going to screw up Robocop by casting Reeves, Depp or Cruise? There’s virtually no reason to remake Robocop. The first one is still great.

  7. I’ll bet a dollar they choose Sam Worthington. :-)

    • o god no

    • Sadly, I sense you’re right. He’s probably on a short list of actors for it.

      Hollywood is going to screw this up, as they do most remakes. And their recent track record on remakes of 1980s movies is really awful.

      What made Peter Weller great is that he wasn’t some buffed-out action star. He was just a normal guy, just another cop, a rather small, skinny guy. They can’t go “Rambo” with this. Might as well just get an Arnold Schwarzenegger type — he already played “Icy” Bad Robocop in a certain crappy movie.

      • Icy Bad Robocop says “Don’t forget to winterize your pipes.”

        • Icy Bad RoboCop also says, “Chill, Batman…” Ooops! I mean, “Chill OCP CEO….”

      • I agree that he may be,Sam Worthington, but he is to big for it, They have to go with someone who is going to be slim so he will look normal in the suit

    • Kahless…may you burn in some place quite unpleasant for suggesting such a mean thing!! :)

  8. I agree, plus I think he’s the only one that will even go near this project

  9. I would say Michael Shannon, but he has been cast as Zod…

    • I was just thinking that as well. Michael Shannon could do a good job as Robocop. He seems like a regular, awkward guy. They could just play him straight, have him be a somewhat goofy guy as a human, and then we see him change into a complete robotic, monotone, unemotional guy.

      But just like the tell is Robocop’s fancy gunplay in the original, or one of his tough phrases for bad guys, his cop partner could hear him say some sort of quip that he used to say as a human. But it has to be played smartly, deftly — in other words, the OPPOSITE of how Hollywood usually handles things. Such a treatment can’t be played for cheap laughs.

      This remake is going to be a mess.

  10. This doesn’t seem like somehing that Cruise or Depp would be interested in. But I guess we’ll see…

  11. Major fail on all counts. Crusie is too short and bother Depp and Reeves are not the right type for the role.

    • Agreed. A diminutive RoboCop standing at 5’6″ is not what we need.

  12. MGM continuing the cinematic legacy of churning out leftovers.
    “In my opinion, when you see the word RoboCop on a poster you already know if you’re interested in it or not”
    True and when its a reboot/remake I usually laugh and walk right on by.

    Remakes like this I actually pray they bomb and fail. So they got that going for them. :)

  13. I think the Rock would be perfect for this role!

    • Umm no..he’s just way too beefy for the role of Murphy.

  14. Jeez… How about someone ‘tall’? Ray Stevenson?

    I’m tired of ‘the three’ above.

    What say you all? ~ Stark

    • You know who might do a good job? Sharlto Copley…

  15. Justin Beiber, Taylor Lautner, or the Charlie St. Cloud guy could pull this off and get the tweens in the seats.

    Otherwise, your main appeal is 30-50 yr olds as a demographic.

    This has bomb written all over it without Verhoeven directing.

  16. I’d say Michael C. Hall would be sick, that or Eric Bana

  17. Why bother to remake the film? Here’s an idea – How about coming up with something fresh and original?

    • I’ve been saying the same damn thing on here FOREVERRRRR

  18. All of those actors are well and good, though an older actor who would make an amazing Robocop, David Morse, the show Hack and others…

  19. Very well said for a ED-209 model. :)

  20. Fresh & Original have no place in Hollywood, haven’t you heard?

    Reboot this, redo that, make this 3D, pppppffffffttt to them all.

  21. Here’s an idea for Hollywood, why don’t you remake the horrible movies of the past? The ones no one went to see in the first place…I can see it now…

    Cinematic Brilliance in the form of Battlefield Earth, Catwoman, Doom, & Daredevil.

    • I did hear they were remaking Doom and Daredevil. Catwoman’s in Dark Knight Rises. The word is still out on Battlefield Earth sequel.

    • LOL…Reboots of Doom and Daredevil are actually in the works, believe it or not!

      • How about Plan 9 from Outer Space?

        • I remember seeing in a video store, “Plan 69 From Outer Space”. Do you think that was a sequel?

          • Yeah, I’m sure there was a squeal in that movie somewhere. :-)

  22. timothy olyphant

    • Yes, he would be perfect!

  23. I would go with Keanu Reeves. Can’t wait to see how this comes out. Looking forward to it! :)

    • Who better than him to play a robot? he´s been preparing himself for this role his whole career!

      • lol

        • No…his acting is WOODEN, not mechanical; besides, how are ya gonna find a way for RoboCop to work the word “whoa” into his dialogue?

          • LOL! that was funny :)

            • Seriously…has there been ANY Keanu Reeves film where he didn’t say “Whoa”?

              • I don’t think he said it in Day the Earth Stood Still.

          • So Keanu would be perfect to play a live action “Pinocchio”!

  24. So are they taking out the drug dealers and going with the north koreans in this one as well???

    • Nah, they’re first going to start with those evil, red-wearing, commie Chinese people… then realize that China has more than a billion citizens, which means more money at the box office (big secret, I know), so THENNNNN they’ll change those evil, red-wearing commie bad guys to North Koreans instead. 😉

  25. Robocop3 sucked the life out of the franchise. Now I’m paying for Ninjabots with a remake!!!!!

    Mgm can take a flying leap off one of their skyscrapers. Lamos!

  26. No no and no. Cruise is a washed up has been. Reeves will always be remembered as the one stoner. And depp, sadly, has been corrupted by Disney and wont do anything unless his secret lover Burton has something to do with it. However since they are doing it anyways. I say get California’s Governor back on the screen i mean seriously who could play a better robot than him?

    • with the right story, this could make Cruise’ best role since Les agarossman

    • I mean Les Grossman

  27. Saw the first movie and I hated it, probably still would.
    Still I would be interested to see how this one turns out, I think RoboCop is an interesting character and I think that they could make an interesting movie about him.

    • Umm, they already did make an “interesting” movie about him…it’s called ROBOCOP

  28. loved the first one, but they did date the movie with so many aspects from that era that it’s probably safe to do a remake with updates.

  29. The originalRobocop still stands out in our modern times. For a name actor to play him, it might draw some interest; but his face will be covered most of the time. He will have to depend on his acting. Robocop Reboot should at least give a more original experience for our updated times, but if it looks like the same I suggest renting the original Robocop.

    • Robot Acting? that should be Arnold “Terminator” Schwarzenegger