80’s movie reboots are on the rise with ‘Fright Night’, ‘Total Recall’, and ‘Clash of the Titans’ all having been recently remade. Now it looks like we have more information about another 80’s movie reboot: ‘Short Circuit‘.
Although details of the film were being kept under wraps when it was announced that Matt Lieberman was hired to write the screenplay. Tim Hill, who will not only be directing the reboot but just also happens to be overseeing the script, spoke with The LA Times and gave a bit of insight on what audiences should expect with his version of Johnny 5. The weapon turned endearing robot that we grew up with will now become a more menacing drone born out of modern warfare technology. Has he been reading Asimov? Actually, Hill has been reading up on modern robotics and studying textbooks to bring a more realistic version to his robot.
Why the change? As Hill states, “The thing that makes it so relevant is that we live in this age of robots, particularly when it comes to war. We have drones that do our fighting for us, do all these jobs men and women don’t want to do. And that’s what makes this so interesting — things like this moment in the story when Johnny realizes he’s going to be disassembled and contemplates death, and whether it’s right to terminate someone else.”
Hill does, however, assure that the movie will still retain its family friendly demeanor. “These are heavy themes for a family movie,” he said, “but I think they can have their place.”
In the original version, Johnny was initially developed by the US military. After it is hit by lightning, it is found by animal lover Stephanie Speck (played by Ally Sheedy) who befriends the robot after first thinking it was an extraterrestrial alien. Ultimately, Johnny 5 develops a consciousness and begins to gain an understanding and respect for life and begins to reject the destructive nature of his military programming as well as a fear of being dissembled which he believed to be akin to death.
The movie will still retain much of the same qualities as the original but one major change will be that Sheedy’s character will now be younger – either a teenager or preteen. This move will give the film a more family friendly angle adding a wish fulfillment aspect that wasn’t present in the original.
Lastly, if you’re worried about how Johnny will look, Hill does say that he’s temtped to go back and grab the original robotic design. “But I think it has to be closer to what modern design actually is,” he stated. “There are computer models and labs developing real machines like this. We want to do something like that.” Of course that means adding a bit of fierceness and menace to the new Johnny. “You’ve got to find the balance between something fierce and something endearing,” Hill had said. “The original was cute. But no one was threatened by it.”
The ‘Short Circuit’ reboot doesn’t have a production start date yet and is still under development, but once we hear more you know we’ll let you know!