Two months ago it was reported that Hugh Laurie was in talks with MGM to play the villain for Jose Padilha’s ‘Robocop’ reboot. As time went on, it was assumed that the role was his. After all, who would have thought he would still be in negotiations? Well, apparently he was and, as of Thursday, talks broke down and Laurie is no longer up for the role.
The news broke via a tweet from Variety’s Jeff Snider:
“MGM RUMOR #1: While he was never officially confirmed, sources telling Variety that HUGH LAURIE has ended talks to play villain in ROBOCOP.”
No reason was given as to why Laurie is no longer in talks for the project but it is disappointing news to say the least. Deadline, however, is reporting that MGM is now on the lookout to find another to fill the role and that they are talking to a small group of actors including Clive Owen (‘Sin City,’ ‘Children of Men’)
Padilha has been very upfront about his interest in updating ‘Robocop’ and how he wanted to infuse his film with contemporary political subtext and social satire much like Paul Verhoeven’s version. His film, however, would put more emphasis on the psyche of Alex Murphy as he is changed into the metallic law enforcer. The script was first scribed by Josh Zetumer with some “script polishing” by Nick Schenk (‘Grand Torino’) and then by James Vanderbilt (‘The Amazing Spider-Man’). A leaked version of the screenplay was said to cover topics such as outsourcing to China, testing Robocop’s abilities against terrorists and tensions in the Middle East. Although this may sound like parts of a good storyline, the leaked script was met with some derision due to the obvious clichés that abound the script.
Hopefully with a cast that includes Joel Kinnaman, Gary Oldman, Samuel L. Jackson, Jackie Earle Haley, Michael Kenneth Williams, Jennifer Ehle, Jay Baruchel, Marianne Jean-Baptiste and Abbie Cornish, the acting ability will offset what is being said about the screenplay.
With production set to start next month in Canada, the role of the villainous CEO of Omni Corp will have to be found soon. Once an actor is announced, we’ll make sure to let you know!