When you take all of the distaste for remakes and reboots that’s out there and add it with the love that people have for Paul Verhoeven’s 1987 film RoboCop, it adds up to a situation where not very many people are looking forward to José Padilha’s upcoming re-do of the material. And yet, with every casting announcement that this new RoboCop makes, it’s becoming harder and harder to not be at least a little excited about its possibilities.
First off, Padilha cast an on-the-rise young actor who’s done nothing but impress so far named Joel Kinnaman in the title role. Then he systematically surrounded his star with supporting names that everyone loves, like Gary Oldman, Samuel L. Jackson, Hugh Laurie, Abbie Cornish, Jay Baruchel, and Jackie Earle Haley. It would be hard to sneeze at that cast no matter what they were being assembled for, but get them all together for a post-apocalyptic tale of robot cops versus violent street gangs and evil corporations, and it’s not too difficult to start forgetting how much you dislike all of the remakes going on in Hollywood. I don’t know how they get ya, but that’s how they get ya.
And now it looks like it’s going to get even harder to poo-poo this latest cash-in. In “Omar comin!” news, THR is reporting that Michael K. Williams is currently negotiating to become the latest actor to join the film. Williams, of course, is that guy with the scar on his face that everybody loved on HBO’s The Wire and Boardwalk Empire, and now he seems like he’s about to become the guy who took Hollywood by storm, because not only is he negotiating to appear in this potential blockbuster, but he’s also set to have a role in Steve McQueen’s sure to be critically lauded Twelve Years a Slave. If the tried and true do one commercial film and then one art film method of building an acting career holds up for Williams, he should become late-90s Ben Affleck in no time.
Williams is said to be negotiating for the part of Alex Murphy’s partner and confidant, which, if you remember, was played by Nancy Allen in Verhoeven’s RoboCop. If you hadn’t noticed, Michael K. Williams doesn’t look a thing like Nancy Allen, so this might be a good indication that Padilha’s film is going to have more up its sleeve than just being a retread of what came before it. Maybe it will be able to sneak some new ideas into the mix. Also, you really have to ask yourself, if you were battling violent gangs in a burned-out Detroit, who would you rather have getting your back, Chalky White or Tom Skerritt’s wife from Poltergeist III? Exactly.