After spending a lot of time developing a sequel to a 1980s' film (Aliens), only for that effort to end in frustration, Neill Blomkamp could be forgiven for avoiding follow-ups to cult movies. Yet he's now attached to direct the latest sequel to 1987's RoboCop, currently called RoboCop Returns.
This one has been bubbling away in development at MGM for a while now, with the original Paul Verhoeven film's writers Ed Neumeier and Michael Miner overseeing the new script. While they produced a draft a few years ago, they've now handed the actual screenplay chores to Justin Rhodes, writer of the new Terminator movie in production.
The basic story for the film will see Detroit fallen further into mayhem and criminal chaos when slain cop-turned cyborg-hero RoboCop makes his triumphant return to clear up the streets.
"The original definitely had a massive effect on me as a kid," Blomkamp tells Deadline. "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."
It remains to be seen whether this latest robo-outing eschews the much-maligned two direct sequels, and seems destined to ignore the remake that landed in cinemas to little applause in 2014. Oh, and we doubt Chappie will make an appearance, which would no doubt delight Emma Thrower, formerly of this parish. Sorry, Emma.
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