Comic-Con 2013: RoboCop Cast On The Remake

Michael Keaton, Samuel L. Jackson and Joel Kinnamann speak

As we get closer to the 2014 release of the new RoboCop, director Jose Padilha and some of his cast - lead Joel Kinnaman, Abbie Cornish, Samuel L. Jackson and Michael Keaton - turned out at Comic-Con to tell us a little more about their approach to the cyborg policeman made famous by Paul Verhoeven's '80s classic.

"The original Robocop tonally was very ironic and very violent, and also a critique of fascism," said Padilha. "It dealt with concepts that maybe not everyone caught on to. The relationship between fascism and robotics is very close. Like, the war in Vietnam ended because soldiers were dying; if you picture that war with robots then there wouldn't be the same pressure at home. The issue is now posed by drones. Our movie is about that, that's one part of it.

"Once you replace man with autonomous robots, accountability goes out the window. Say you have a robot hunting drug dealers and it shoots and kills a kid - whose responsibilty is that? That's going to be more and more the issue as robotics evolve."

So how does this differ from the original? Padilha explains, "We go a little further with Alex Murphy; we get to spend more time with Alex at work as an undercover cop and as a family man. And then that's the question: is he now a property? Is he owned by OmniCorp? He needs to be plugged in, he is dependant. The corporation has made him very powerful but at the same time very vulnerable. There's continuous interaction with his family after he becomes RoboCop, and that's not easy when you try to embrace your son and your wife when you just have a robotic body and you can't feel them. So it's about how it feels to be a robot as opposed to being a human."

"It's a very current theme," said Michael Keaton. "It's a hugely entertaining film, while underneath it's discussing relevant ideas, but not to the degree that your brain will hurt going home. When there's smart added to the fun, it just ratchets things up exponentially. There's a moral aspect to these robots, and I think that issue is underlying it."

"We're not going to put that in the trailer though!" Samuel L. Jackson hastened to add. "We're going to put the excitement in there, and then when people come out they can tweet and say, 'Damn, that was morally intelligent!'"

Kinnaman was asked if lines from the original made it into this version. "We kept a couple of lines from the original, but we also felt that all these iconic lines from the first one were part of that movie, and the tone of that movie, so that would feel like something unjust and disrespectful."

Padilha also addressed the question of the film's planned rating. "We shot the movie to be seen by the widest possible audience, which is PG13. I never really bought into the idea that Robocop has to be extremely violent to work. The Dark Knight is PG13."

RoboCop hits cinemas in the UK on February 7 next year. It also stars Abbie Cornish, Gary Oldman, Jay Baruchel, Jennifer Ehle, Jackie Earle Haley, Michael Kenneth Williams and Marianne Jean-Baptiste. The first stills and video from the film's viral website are below.