When MGM announced their plans to reboot RoboCop, fans of the original film weren't exactly shy when it came to expressing their skepticism. After going through a series of setbacks and false starts, the project quickly began to pick up momentum again back in March when Brazilian filmmaker Jose Padilha signed on to direct. His involvement was the first sign that this incarnation of the character would probably be markedly different from Paul Verhoeven's interpretation of the material.
Padilha is not particularly well-known in the United States, but his Elite Squad films enjoyed enormous success in his home country. They also showcase how differently he handles action and violence. Where as Verhoeven tended to go over the top with those elements to enhance their horrific qualities - push them into the absurd via comedic touches, Padilha's approach appears to be far more grounded and realistic. We still know next to nothing about Josh Zetumer's script, but the expectation is that this version of RoboCop will be grittier and not quite as tongue-in-cheek as the original.
In addition to utilizing a different tone than that of its predecessor, this reboot might also be making some significant alterations to the Alex Murphy/RoboCop character. Back in April, there were rumors that MGM had added Johnny Depp, Tom Cruise, and Keanu Reeves to their wish list of candidates - three actors who, quite frankly, seemed like long shots at best. According to Twitch Film, the studio has a new top pick for the title role - Star Trek's Chris Pine.
Does the world want a younger, prettier Robocop? Apparently MGM does as Twitch has learned that the Star Trek actor is the studio's top choice to take the lead in the upcoming reboot of the scifi franchise. There is no word as to whether director Jose Padilha agrees with the selection and the offer has not yet gone out but we're told Pine currently tops the MGM casting list.
This is by no means a confirmation of Pine's involvement - it's simply stating that MGM would like him in the role. While Pine seems like a more realistic choice than Depp, Cruise, or Reeves - there's no indication that Padilha is in agreement with the studio on this. We know that the Jack Ryan reboot Moscow is currently going through another rewrite and that the filmmakers behind Star Trek 2 have indicated in not so many words that they're in no real rush to get that film in theaters - so Pine's availability might not be an issue.
Ever since MGM emerged from their bankruptcy fiasco, the RoboCop reboot has been a high-priority project for them - so it's fair to assume that we'll be seeing it sooner rather than later. If Pine is interested, this is a film that could be ready to go in front of cameras in the very near future.
Even if he isn't interested, the fact that his name is even getting tossed around seems to hint that MGM might now be interested in casting a younger actor in the role. At 30, Pine is a decade younger than Peter Weller was when he made the original. It may strike some as a somewhat superficial aspect to get hung up on - especially when the bigger issue is making sure that the actor inside the costume has the gravitas this part requires.
Weller's introspective and understated performance was a great counterpoint to the more sensational elements in Verhoeven's original. The character's struggle with his humanity is his single most compelling attribute, and Weller did a remarkable job at putting all of that on the screen. Whoever inherits the role will have some giant, titanium shoes to fill.
Whether Pine is ultimately involved or not, all signs currently point to this being a very different take on RoboCop.
Source: Twitch Film.