Director Neill Blomkamp has exited the upcoming ‘RoboCop Returns’ due to scheduling. Blomkamp signed on to helm the reboot/sequel last year, but he is apparently about to begin filming an unspecified new horror movie, while MGM wants to begin filming ‘RoboCop Returns’ immediately.
Blomkamp broke the news early Thursday morning via Twitter:
Off Robocop. I am shooting new horror/thriller and MGM can’t wait/ need to shoot Robocop now. Excited to watch it in theaters with other fans. N
— Neill Blomkamp (@NeillBlomkamp) August 15, 2019
Blomkamp, who is responsible for the highly regarded sci-fi films ‘Elysium’ and ‘District 9’, had a deep passion for ‘RoboCop’, the 1987 Paul Verhoeven original, which Blomkamp says “had a massive effect” on him as a kid. In making ‘RoboCop Returns’, Blomkamp pushed hard for an R-rating (like the original), the same suit– which he said would be “1 million% original”, and even the return of Peter Weller, who is now 72 years old.
The movie would have been based on a sequel pitch from Ed Neumeier and Michael Miner, who wrote the screenplay to Verhoeven’s first film. While MGM made a ‘RoboCop 2’ (and ‘3’), they didn’t use Neumeier and Miner’s idea, and instead turned to Frank Miller (yeah, that one) and Walon Green for an original idea. ‘Terminator: Dark Fate’s Justin Rhodes took Neumeier and Miner’s pitch and fleshed it out into a full script.
If MGM needs to make ‘RoboCop Returns’ right this second, don’t expect a director with too many original ideas to come aboard. Basically, the studio needs someone to step in, take Blomkamp’s work and shoot the movie as it’s already mapped out. Sounds super great, doesn’t it? Can’t waaaaaiiiiiit…
Here is Blomkamp’s reaction to landing this gig from last year:
“The original definitely had a massive effect on me as a kid. I loved it then and it remains a classic in the end of 20th Century sci-fi catalog, with real meaning under the surface. Hopefully, that is something we can get closer to in making of a sequel. That is my goal here. What I connected to as a kid has evolved over time. At first, the consumerism, materialism and Reaganomics, that ’80s theme of America on steroids, came through most strongly. But As I’ve gotten older, the part that really resonated with me is identity, and the search for identity. As long as the human component is there, a good story can work in any time period, it’s not locked into a specific place in history. What’s so cool about RoboCop is that like good Westerns, sci-fi films and dramas, the human connection is really important to a story well told. What draws me now is someone searching for their lost identity, taken away at the hands of people who are benefiting from it, and seeing his memory jogged by events. That is most captivating. The other thing I am excited by is the chance to work again with Justin Rhodes. He has added elements that are pretty awesome, to a sequel that was set in the world of Verhoeven. This is a movie I would love to watch.”
‘RoboCop Returns’ doesn’t have a set release date. Check back for updates.