MGM's modernized retooling of RoboCop is shaping up to be something special, if the cast and creative personnel are any indication. The Killing's Joel Kinnaman is playing the new Officer Alex Murphy, working in collaboration with a supporting cast that includes Oscar-nominees Gary Oldman, Samuel L. Jackson, and Jackie Earle Haley - as well as Hugh Laurie (a two-time Golden Globe winner for House) and award-winning Aussie actress Abbie Cornish (Bright Star, Sucker Punch).
Directing duties are being handled by José Padilha; the lauded Brazilian filmmaker is responsible for the highest-grossing film in his native country, Elite Squad: The Enemy Within (it even outgrossed Avatar, believe it or not). Padilha is working with a script draft that feature contributions from Nick Schenk (Gran Torino) and James Vanderbilt (Amazing Spider-Man), among others.
Deadline says that negotiations are ongoing for Jennier Ehle to join the RoboCop cast as new character addition, Liz Kline. The two-time Tony-winning actress is also a BAFTA winner for the 1996 Pride and Prejudice mini-series co-starring Colin Firth. She's recently tackled minor roles in such critical darlings as The King's Speech and Ides of March, along with a more prominent appearance in Steven Soderbergh's Contagion (Ehle was also Catelyn Stark in the original Game of Thrones pilot, before she was replaced by Michelle Fairley).
Here is the synopsis for Padilha's new take on RoboCop:
The year is 2029 and multinational conglomerate OmniCorp is at the center of robot technology. Their drones are winning American wars around the globe and now they want to bring this technology to the home front. Alex Murphy is a loving husband, father and good cop doing his best to stem the tide of crime and corruption in Detroit. After he is critically injured in the line of duty, OmniCorp utilizes their remarkable science of robotics to save Alex’s life. He returns to the streets of his beloved city with amazing new abilities, but with issues a regular man has never had to face before.
That plot summary alludes to the ethical dilemmas and existential issues Padilha says he'll explore with greater depth in his RoboCop (opposed to Paul Verhoeven's 1987 film) - including, the moral implications of robotic warfare technology and the full extent to which cyborg enhancements affect human consciousness. Kinnaman likewise describes the new RoboCop suit design as appropriate for the film's mid-21st century setting, since it's akin to a realistic body prosthetic that allows for a more expressive performance.
RoboCop begins production next month, in order to make an August 9th, 2013 theatrical release date.