There are a lot of hardcore fans of director Paul Verhoeven’s 1987 film RoboCop who groaned loudly when it was announced that the seminal, ultraviolent action film was getting a brand-new remake. At San Diego Comic-Con, actor Joel Kinnaman, who plays the human cop Alex Murphy and later his robotic self, was adamant about distancing their version of the story from the original in a show of respect to Verhoeven’s work.
The style, the robotics, the lesser violence (it’s going for a PG-13 rating) and even the quotable lines were all considered very carefully to avoid direct comparisons and set this film apart. For example, Kinnaman said, “We kept a couple of lines from the original, but we feel like all of the iconic lines from the first movie were part of the tone of Verhoeven’s movie, so I think that would feel unjust and disrespectful to keep all of the lines. 'Your move, creep' did not, but it’s something that I say to my friends all the time when I play chess with them on my iPhone,” the actor laughed. “I practiced it a lot but never say it in the movie.”
Kinnaman also explained that audiences will get more time with Alex Murphy before he gets gunned down and rebooted. “We go a little further with Alex Murphy and spend more time with him at work as an undercover cop and as a family man. He’s got a beautiful little family, and that leads very much to the question -– is he now property? Is he owned by OmniCorp? He is very vulnerable, because his system needs to be changed and he needs to be plugged in, so he is dependent on this corporation that has made him to survive. [His suit] has made him very powerful but at the same time vulnerable. [OmniCorp] also lets him interact with his family and lets him reconnect with his family after he’s become RoboCop, and that’s not something that’s easy -– to try to embrace your 6-year-old son and wife when you have a big robotic body and you can’t feel them.”
An admitted longtime fan of the original movie, which the actor said he’d “probably seen 25 or 30 times,” Kinnaman shared that his RoboCop walk has been in unofficial development since he was young.
“I started rehearsing my RoboCop walk way before I even became an actor, so I was well-versed in my robo-walk. But when I got the suit on, the idea [hit] that the 1987 vision of where robotics would be is very different from a 2013 vision of where robotics would be, and how a robot would move 15 years in the future. So when I put the suit on, I had some ideas. We went for a more superhuman approach to his movement pattern. We also added in some more robotic movement to it, too. I played around with it, and [director] Jose [Padilha] would look at it and maybe give me a little note, and then I’d either take it or work on something else. Mostly I took his notes,” Kinnaman laughs.
RoboCop opens Feb. 7, 2014.