The third movie for the Sony Pictures panel is RoboCop, a reboot of the RoboCop film from 1987. For those unfamiliar with Robocop, The 1987 film stars Peter Weller, a cop in the future, who is killed, but brought back to “life” within the confines of a robot, and is not supposed to retain any of his own memories, and dealing with the human factor versus the A.I. factor. The new film’s director is Jose Padilha, a director I am not too familiar with yet. The movie stars Joel Kinnaman as Alex Murphy/RoboCop. There are several big stars in the film as well, including Samuel L. Jackson, Gary Oldman, and Michael Keaton.
The panel opens up with a video featuring Samuel L. Jackson, who plays Pat Novak, an over-the-top news reporter in the film. In this clip he discusses, in a rather biased way, the benefits of a robotic police force. We learn through his “report”, that the robotic policing has already been used by the U.S. military, and shows an example in the Middle East. The people being “investigated” by the robots appeared terrified, but the news reporter refers to them as accepting the robots with open arms. The clip continues discussing the benefits of the robotic force, until the feed is cut by the film’s Pentagon.
The moderator then introduces the Robocop panel, director Jose Padilha, Joel Kinnaman, Abbie Cornish as Murphy’s wife, Samuel L. Jackson, and Michael Keaton as Raymond Sellars.
The moderator asks Jose Padilha why he would want to remake such a “beloved” film. His response is simply, “because it is a beloved film”. He elaborates, explaining that they took the concept of the movie, and brought it to present day. He discusses the use of the robots used as soldiers. The moderator then asks about the morality and human rights versus robots. Padilha explains his thoughts on the film, and how he thinks that as in his film, reality will begin with robotic soldiers being used abroad, then brought home once Americans would accept robot soldiers.
Moving on to Michael Keaton, the moderator asks if his character, Raymond Sellars believes in what his character is doing. Keaton feels that his character does believe that what he is doing is, “basically right”. He calls his character a “pragmatic”, living in the world he has to.
The moderator then asks Samuel L. Jackson about his character, and the realistic feel to his character. Samuel reveals his character will do anything to get his opinion across.
Robocop himself then is asked about how difficult it was playing his character. Joel Kinnaman reveals some difference between the original and this film, and that in this film, Murphy doesn’t truly die, but is “amputated from the throat down pretty much”. Joel further discusses Alex Murphy’s internal struggle between his own humanity and the artificial intelligence of the robotic part of him, which he felt was the most difficult part.
Moving down to Abbie Cornish, the moderator asks about the love story behind her character and Alex Murphy. She discusses the emotions shared with Alex Murphy after his transformation.
We get some more footage for the film, which shows some of the assembling of RoboCop from Alex Murphy, and how the extent of his injuries prevented him from having a meaningful life without the transformation.
Joel Kinnaman discusses his trying to act with the Robocop visor on. He explains that for most social interactions, the visor is up, making it easier to act. He talks about a few scenes where he has to show emotion with the visor down, and how he had to work on his “frown” to portray emotions with half his face covered.
The panel then moves into audience questions, the first asking about using robots as a police force. Jose Padilha discusses the societal impact of using robots as peacekeepers, and how the blame from mistakes made by the robot is more of a gray area, and who is at fault. He also discusses news media, and how Novak’s character parodies present day media.
Another audience question asks a comparison question, between the original in this movie. In the original, when Alex is being transferred to the Robocop body, they discuss keeping or removing his arm. In this trailer, we see that he still has a human hand, and the question asks if this was an intentional move in the film, and relating to the original movie. Jose Padilha says that wasn’t an inspiration, but explains the reasoning behind keeping the hand. Evidently, in the futuristic society of Robocop, robots are not allowed to “pull the trigger” domestically in America. This is the reason for the need for the human hand–it can pull the trigger.
The second question asks the similarities between the old and new film, and asks why people would want to see this film. Samuel L. Jackson fields the second part of this question rather bluntly with, “The trailer you just saw”. He elaborates, that he feels that the trailer is the only tool they have to make people see the movie, but it sure came off “Samuel L. Jackson-esce”.
There are a few more questions, such as asking Michael Keaton’s character’s personality, to which Keaton seems to explain as a fairly “normal” guy, but with high ambitions.
The final question asks about technology being feared, or if people are the thing to be feared. Jose Padilha fields this question, putting the blame on humanity rather than the devices made by humans. He also talks about the blend of technology and machine. The panel wraps up, and up next we have The Amazing Spider-Man 2 panel up next! You can continue on to that panel review here.
The film is set to release on February 7, 2014. Here is a trailer of the new Robocop if you haven’t seen it yet: