By Kevin Jagernauth | The Playlist August 27, 2012 at 11:00AM
With Hugh Laurie dropping out of the villain role in the "RoboCop" remake last week, was it actually a sign of a troubled production? Because according to director Jose Padilha's pal Fernando Meirelles, working on the flim is "hell."
Even though cameras haven't started rolling on the movie, with lensing to begin in September, Padilha has already expressed some grave concerns about his first Hollywood experience, which unfortunately, sounds like a very familiar story. "I talked to José Padilha for a week by phone. He will begin filming 'Robocop.' He is saying that it is the worst experience. For every 10 ideas he has, 9 are cut. Whatever he wants, he has to fight," Meirelles told South American web site Cinemacom Rapadura (via ScreenCrush).
Granted, this is a Google translation, and this is coming not from Padilha himself but through a friend, and while the wording may not be exact the overall feeling is there. But before anyone gets ready to write off the movie, Padilha still believes he can make a good film, but don't count on him returning to the studio system any time soon. " 'This is hell here,' he told me. 'The film will be good, but I never suffered so much and do not want to do it again.' He is bitter, but it’s a fighter," Meirelles added.
One has to remember, that Padilha is going from the "Elite Squad" films -- the first of which smashed box office records in his native Brazil -- to essentially being an unproven factor for the studios. And this isn't to say "RoboCop" is doomed -- countless films have gone through tumultous productions and still emerged strong -- but these comments certainly will be fodder for those who already think the entire thing is a misguided notion. However, with the talent has been assembled -- Joel Kinnaman, Gary Oldman, Samuel L. Jackson, Jay Baruchel, Abbie Cornish, Jennifer Ehle, Michael K.Williams and Marianne Jean-Baptiste -- there must've been something in his concept which brought them all on board. But whether or not the elements that make this Padilha's film will be scrubbed, remains to be seen.
PR spin on these comments is likely around the corner, and "RoboCop" will be saddled with an even bigger uphill climb to win over naysayers (and an early savaging of the script hasn't helped either). We'll see the results on August 9, 2013.