Recently, the good folks over at Collider were able to sit down with Hollywood legend (some might say infamous legend) Paul Verhoeven, who at 78 is still going strong, and recently directed ‘Elle,’ which just premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival. The interview (though lengthy) touched on his love of films, his humor and style, and his difficulties working in America nowadays (his reputation took a hit after ‘Starship Troopers’). What was interesting, however, was what he thought of Hollywood remaking his classic films like ‘Robocop’ and ‘Total Recall,’
Check out what he had to say and then feel free to share your thoughts on the man’s work in the comments section below!
At this point aside from Showgirls all of your Hollywood movies have sequels or remakes or both. I always wondered if you watch them and what you think about them?
VERHOEVEN: Oh sure, I watch them. Somehow they seem to think that the lightness of say Total Recall and Robocop is a hindrance. So they take these somewhat absurd stories and make them much too serious. I think that is a mistake. Especially in Robocop when he awakens they gave him the same brain. He’s a horribly injured and amputated victim, which is horrifying and tragic from the very beginning. So we didn’t do that in Robocop. His brain is gone and he has only flashes of memory and needs to go to a computer to find out who he even is. I think by not having a robot brain, you make the movie much heavier and I don’t think that helps the movie in anyway. It becomes more silly or absurd, but in the wrong way. Both those movies needed the distance of satire or comedy to situate it for audiences. Playing it straight without any humour is a problem and not an improvement.
Well, that’s why I miss you making those sorts of movies. No one else even tries to do that sort of thing.
VERHOEVEN: It’s interesting, I just heard that they want to…when I did Robocopthey immediately wanted to do a sequel the next year. This was Orion who went bankrupt, but that’s ok. So I was interested. In the United States they make sequels. I get it. So myself and Michael Miner started working on ideas. We were really thinking about it because I feel a sequel has to go further. I think one of the best sequels is Star Wars 2, probably. That is a sequel that’s good. Normally they aren’t good because it’s so difficult to find that inspiration. So I really wanted to take some time and develop something that deserved to exist and was different. But Orion didn’t want to wait, so they used other people. But I just heard that MGM was thinking of picking up the ideas that we were working on in ’87 (Laughs). I don’t know if they’ll do it, but they are talking about it.
Nick is a freelance writer based in Los Angeles, who belongs to the privileged few who enjoyed the ending to ‘Lost.’ For more of Nick’s thoughts and articles, follow him on Twitter (@starfro67).