The Maniac Cop remake appears to be dead, according to series creator Larry Cohen. Cohen is the prolific director behind B-movie gems like Q: The Winged Serpent, The Stuff and It’s Alive. He also wrote the screenplays for Phone Booth, Best Seller and the original Maniac Cop trilogy. The Maniac Cop films follow a former highly decorated police officer, who was framed by his department and eventually murdered in prison. His hatred makes him come back to life, where he stalks New York and murders both guilty and innocent alike.
All three movies were directed by Bill Lustig, with the second movie being considered the best in the series, and is loaded with great action setpieces and stuntwork. Drive director Nicolas Winding Refn is a particular fan of the franchise, and after years of trying to get a remake off the ground it was confirmed in March the project had received a greenlight.
That doesn’t seem to be the case anymore - because in a new interview with Birth.Movies.Death, Cohen states the movie isn’t moving ahead after all:
“As far as I know, that’s not happening anymore, and if it is, they might be trying to keep it a secret, as they’d owe me $250,000...”
Cohen isn't exactly heartbroken about the project stalling either, claiming that he wasn’t a fan of the screenplay that had been written by Ed Brubaker:
"Ed Brubaker wrote the script, and I’ve read the script, and it’s not very good. Ed Brubaker is a very good writer of comic books, I think. But if he’s written a good script for a movie, I haven’t read it. I wrote six new scenes for the picture, based on what I’d read. And, had I written the whole script, the movie would probably be happening, as the script would be good. I wrote three films for Bill Lustig, though they changed a lot of [Maniac Cop 3: Badge of Silence] and Bill got fired from it…and I would’ve written the fourth movie, had they asked. But they didn’t, and now it’s not getting made."
He also briefly described the story for this new take:
"... It’s a lot like that Bob Hoskins movie [Neil Jordan’s Mona Lisa (’86)], where he’s driving prostitutes around and then waiting out in the car while they do their business in hotels with the Johns. It’s a direct lift from that, and then turns into a new Maniac Cop…”
It would be a real shame of the project has died, because it attracted some promising talent. Would-be-director John Hyams is responsible for Universal Soldier: Regeneration and Universal Soldier: Day Of Reckoning; two of the best straight to DVD action movies of the last decade. Brubaker is also the acclaimed writer behind Criminal, Incognito and a number of famous stories for Captain America and The Uncanny X-Men. The idea of Refn, Hyams and Brubaker collaborating on a gritty thriller sounded amazing, so hopefully it will still come together.
In any event, it appears Cohen won't be mourning the loss of the Maniac Cop remake as he's currently busying prepping a ten-episode anthology series, which is being produced by J.J. Abrams.