As a longtime fan of Brazilian filmmaker José Padilha, particularly his documentaries, it was my great pleasure to meet him last night at a Miami International Film Festival party in his honor. Coincidentally, while we chatted the blogs were reporting on MGM’s hire of screenwriter Josh Zetumer for its remake of “RoboCop,” which Padilha is set to direct. Half-jokingly, I told him that he needs to reset the sci-fi film in Rio, basically like another installment of his “Tropa de Elite (Elite Squad)” films but with the eponymous cyborg working for the BOPE. He laughed and seemed to like the pitch, but he ultimately had this to say on the matter:
“It has to be in Detroit or they’d kill me.”
I assume by “they,” he means the fans, who have already shown their devotion to the link between Motor City and “RoboCop” in their successful fundraising campaign to get a statue of the character erected in Detroit. Too bad, and not just because a new location would be refreshing for the reboot of the franchise. Just imagine RoboCop storming through the favelas with results even more violent than we’ve seen in either of the “Elite Squad” movies. Also, up until now Padilha’s ties to Hollywood have mostly been with projects that keep him centralized in a South American setting (he says he’s still set to helm the “Triple Frontier”-set film “A Willing Patriot,” by the way).
Unfortunately, I didn’t get any more on the details of the “RoboCop” remake from him last night, mostly because I wasn’t about to rudely press him for scoops while he’s partying. All he had to say on his role in the project is that he and Zetumer are “developing” it, which is more a way of being realistic than vague. I still look forward to whatever direction he goes in, despite it not being my preferred idea.
I also still look forward to “The Elite Squad 2,” which I’ve somehow managed to miss at two film festivals so far despite my love for the original. Hopefully the sequel will secure a U.S. distributor soon. Check out the trailer for that below: